Review: Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
Reviewed by Adrian Collins
It's pretty rare that I get the first 50 pages into a book and decide on the spot to go purchase the rest of a series, but there are times when you just know that you're going to love an author's work. It happened to me the first time with Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes, and then again with Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns. And even though I thought I didn't like flintlock fantasy, it's happened again with Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood.
As the Predii and a few ancient gods nobody actually believed were real come in to play a part in the ever-twisting treachery, the end game becomes clear. And what an end game it is. You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't pick up this series as soon as possible.
McClellan's story has brilliant depth, with plenty for you to get your teeth stuck in to. There's a rich and inventive magic system that pitches a more traditional fantasy magic system against the powdermages, whose expertise is in manipulating gunpowder. The gods in the background are an enjoyable part of the story, without becoming ridiculous as many gods in stories are wont to do. Political factions, both under and Tamas' nose and far away, provide another level of depth to the story, and McClellan makes sure there are plenty of tantalising bits to keep you interested in the series beyond the back cover of Promise of Blood.
One of the things that really makes Promise of Blood stick out to me is the relationship between Tamas and Taniel. Father and son, they struggle to have a normal relationship. Taniel wishes for a more fatherly figure, while Tamas struggles to separate his family from his soldier subordinates. To me, McClellan writes these characters so well that this relationship alone is enough to put me on to the second book.
Promise of Blood is a brilliant book that you need to pick up immediately. I'll race you through The Crimson Campaignand meet you at the end of The Autumn Republic. Do yourself a favour and pick it up at Galaxy Bookstore (paperback/hardcover), Amazon (Kindle), iBooks (ebook | audio book), or Kobo.
5 grimdark Lords out of 5.