The nation of Torwyn is run on the power of industry, and industry is run by the Guilds. Chief among them are the Hawkspurs, whose responsibility it is to keep the gears of the empire turning. That’s exactly why matriarch Rosomon Hawkspur sends each of her heirs to the far reaches of the nation.
Conall, the eldest son, is sent to the distant frontier to earn his stripes in the military. It is here that he faces a threat he could have never seen coming: the first rumblings of revolution.
Tyreta is a sorceress with the ability to channel the power of pyrestone, the magical resource that fuels the empire’s machines. She is sent to the mines to learn more about how pyrsetone is harvested – but instead, she finds the dark horrors of industry that the empire would prefer to keep hidden.
The youngest, Fulren, is a talented artificer and finds himself acting as a guide to a mysterious foreign emissary. Soon after, he is framed for a crime he never committed. A crime that could start a war.
As the Hawkspurs grapple with the many threats that face the nation within and without, they must finally prove themselves worthy–or their empire will fall apart.
I have received an ARC from Orbit in exchange for an honest review. With new the year comes one of the first new books released in Engines of Empire by R.S. Ford. I’m not sure I can really put into words how fantastic this novel is but I will certainly try my very best. This book combines elements of the Steampunk genre into an Epic fantasy landscape and I have seen very few authors use this type of story to great success. Stick around later in the post for my recommendations but for now, on to the review.
The empire now runs on steam and the industry of machines. Although an Emperor is in the story, the real power rest with the members of the guilds. Engines of Empire follows the adventures (and I use this word very loosely) of the Hawkspur family, responsible for keeping the empires engines turning. Rosomon Hawkspur is the mother of her three children and head of the Hawkspur guild. Forced to take control after the death of her husband, Rosomon’s goal is to prepare her children for what is to come. All the children will be scattered to the far reaches of the kingdom, but Rosomon has many secrets of her own as well.
Conall is the olderst son and is sent to the distant edges of the empire to earn his footing as a military leader. Here he will be facing down a revolution if he can stay out of trouble. Tyreta is the middle child and is gifted with the magic to work with pyrestone, the essence of the machines power. This makes Tyreta a perfect heir for the family but she will discover the horrors the machine age has brought to the land and she will he thrusted on a wild adventure. Finally we have the youngest child Fulren. He is a big bulk of a man and a talented artificer for the empire. He is tasked with escorting a foreign emissary through the city looking for peace with the Emperor. Through tragedy, Fulren is framed for a crime he didn’t commit pinning both nations against one another with Fulren stuck in the middle. Fulren story was by far my favorite to follow and you won’t believe where his story will go.
From the very first page until the end I was glued to every word. R.S. Ford’s writing just flows to the point where I had to look at the clock to say “I have been reading for 5 straight hours!” The writing style reminded me of John Gwynne’s writing where the story evolves very naturally and the story never gets too big for the reader to follow but it will get much more intense! This novel has politics, military strategies, battles, magic, tribes, and a whole lot of secrets to be discovered.
Now on to the types of novels I found very similar to Engines of Empire. One series that comes to mind is Anthony Ryan’s Draconis Memoria, which combines elements of magic and machines. The other one, and this is a Top 5 series for me, is Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt, which directly deals with the dying of mysticism and the rise on industry. The constant struggle for these two powers to coexist is a constant theme and I think Engines of Empire does a splendid job of highlighting this in the story.
This is one of the first big releases for 2022 and I’m pleased to say that it is a smashing success! Make sure this is at the top of your TBR when it gets released as it is worth your time. Also, please go check out this author’s Steelhaven series as I believe it is an underrated one. Happy reading all!