Review: Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan

Rating 8.5/10


The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.

It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…

In a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology, who could stand against mages that control gunpowder and bullets?


Brian McClellan, before he became a best selling author, started as a student attending the lectors of Brandon Sanderson. All of his hard work, trials, and tribulations led to the debut novel Promise of Blood. What do you get when you combine: magic, guns, armies, and a plot inspired from the French Revolution? An introduction into a new fantasy sub genre and one of the best debut novels I have ever read. With kickass characters and enemies mustering the troops, you will need to bring extra gunpowder to this fight to this Flintlock fantasy.

Field Marshall Tamas’ has led a revolution against the ruling figures of Adopest in the country of Adro. Corruption has soiled the capital and Tamas feels it is his duty to get the country back on course and to send the people responsible to the guillotine. Along with his son Tamas one-shot and a retried police office Adamat, they look to right the wrongs, but the more they discover about the inner dealings of the royals, the deeper the rabbit hole gets. Inner factions and groups are pinning for power and external forces are making bold choices involving omens and the fear of Gods walking the world once again.

Much in the same vain as Brandon Sanderson, Brian McClellan introduces not one but two unique magic systems. The first one is your typical elemental magic systems existing in the ether. The sorcerers, or Privileged , use special gloves in order to harness the power with each finger responsible for different elements such as: fires, water, earth and air. The other magic system being the powder mages and this is where McClellan really shines. Powder mages are the mortal enemies of the Privileged and have the ability to manipulate anything involving gunpowder. By snorting the gunpowder, powder mages obtain heightened sense, allowing them to bend bullets, and to explode powder kegs. The possibilities are endless and you will have a blast on discovering everything this series has to offer.

The writing is very fast paced and very digestible for the reader to comprehend. You will find several on the side characters to be just as enjoyable as the main POV’s. Such as Taniel’s ex lover Vlora, his current lover Ka-Pole, and the hilarious interactions with Bo. Everyone will find a character to route for with the ground being set for an explosive climax. If magic is your passion, then Promise of Blood is the book for you so lets start things off with a bang.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. alburke47 says:

    Fun story. This was the first e-book I ever read. I’d never heard of the author (it was years ago) and I only got it because it sounded good and was on sale. It was great, very different to most of the fantasy I was reading at the time (old-school), and the magi systems were quite unique (chugging gunpowder?). Also, I dig rebellion stories.


    1. anconab says:

      Excellent series no matter what fantasy stories you like to read!

      Liked by 1 person

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