11 Sept 2020

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: SINS OF EMPIRE by Brian McClellan

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays

introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!


Author: Brian McClellan
Series: Gods of Blood and Powder #1
Source: ARC via Publisher
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: March 7, 2017

An epic new fantasy series from Brian McClellan, set in the world of his wildly popular Powder Mage trilogy.

A world on the cusp of a new age...
The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place -- a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.

Sedition is a dangerous word...
The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall's present.

The past haunts us all...
As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

I really liked this one. A good mix of low fantasy and steampunk to keep me (and my boyfriend) super interested! I loved the characters and how this progressed. But there were some things I wish that had been done differently - and it would have been nice for everyone to interact more.

When this book - and ultimately series - was first pitched to me (back in the day *hides*), I was told that I could jump right into this series without needing to read the first to understand what was going on. While that was true, this book is definitely the start of it's own own series and has a great cast of characters, there were winks and nods to the past that probably would have had more context if I had read that original series first. Which isn't all that disappointing because I am okay with not having that context but I am probably still going to read that first series. So it would have been nice to know how they related back to one another.

But ultimately, that was my biggest complaint. I loved the characters, the action, and the pacing. I liked seeing how it all progressed throughout and thought that there were some really good twists and turns. Both my boyfriend and I thought that there was a big introduction to the stone obelisk at the beginning that didn't really make its way back until too late but I was happy with how it turned out.

I would have liked for the main three storylines to intersect more, especially since they only did through a character that wasn't even a "main" character of this book, but the previous series. That's probably what annoyed me the most out of it. But I loved how the main characters were portrayed and how they ultimately worked together without knowing it. I thought there was the right amount of smarts, perserverence, and tenacity spread across the characters.

And the world was really fun to be in! I loved the lower fantasy elements to it mixed in with some steampunks elements, which made it a really fun read. I always enjoy going into those types of worlds since I don't visit them often. But McClellan does a good job of making it accessible to all audiences - and keeping me and my boyfriend (who have VERY different fantasy tastes) engaged and intrigued the entire time.

This was definitely a fun read and everything I could have asked for in a low fantasy. But the questions becomes: should we finish this trilogy first or go back and read the "prequels" to this so we have more context? Stay tuned to see what we choose to do!

Have you read this one? Are you going to pick it up?

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