Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've been hearing a lot of good things about this book and while I was somewhat skeptical at first, I am quite pleased to announce that it was delightful. :)
Delightful as in lots of blood and guts, gun-mages, sorcerers, revolution, plain war, resurrected gods, a very sneaky Chef and a fantastic investigation that's all gumshoe mystery in a fully-realized fantasy realm.
What makes this stand out, though?
I think it's mostly the characters, the bright pacing, and the magic system.
A lot of these epic fantasies get bogged down with too many characters, IMHO, but this one keeps a great balance with three PoV's, truly interesting storylines for each, and a few that are sufficiently non-standard that it was just a breath of fresh air. I mean, where else are we going to get octogenarian generals in the forefront of a big action tale and pull it off well enough that it's exciting and crusty and never boring? I tell you, it's a treat! Or an investigator who used to run a printing press being pressed into service as an investigator again for the revolution? :) Good stuff.
But what really stuck in my mind was the writing. I may be wrong about this little intuition, but there were enough stylistic callbacks in this novel to make me think I was reading some of Brent Weeks. Not only that... but some of the naming choices seemed to be a loving shout-out to Weeks as well. I was tickled pink. Again, I may be wrong about this, but I don't think I am.
I'm putting this series on a "must grab" status in my mind. It reads quickly and deliciously and it was never a chore. It's a long book, to be sure, but it was still never a chore. I can't wait to see what the gods are going to do to us poor mortals. :)
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