Title: Sins of Empire
Series: Gods of Blood and Powder
Author(s): Brian McClellan
Release Date: March 7th 2017
This might actually be the first time I ever set foot in a flintlock fantasy setting in my life and it was truly epic. While I haven’t read Brian McClellan’s original trilogy that actually sets up the world for this book, I am truly astonished by the author’s grasp of his magic system as well as his ability to maneuver his characters through countless loops that always kept me flipping through the pages like a madman. You don’t need to read his Powder Mage trilogy to check out Sins of Empire, but fans will undoubtedly find that this new series is exactly what they have been craving for.
Set ten years after the events that took place in the Powder Mage trilogy, Sins of Empire explores the political landscape of Fatrasta and the rising turmoil bleeding through the suppressed people. Ruled under the heavy thumb of the Lady Chancellor and her secret police, the Blackhats, a mercenary group led by Lady Vlora Flint is tossed into a world of manipulation, conspiracy and secrecy trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Mixed into this chaos is the story behind the giant convicted war criminal Ben Stykes and his forced loyalty to mysterious individuals that put him at the heart of everything dangerous and bound to go wrong.
Sins of Empire also interweaves the point of view of a spy, Michel Bravis, who is tasked to discover the origin of a propagandist document that is slowly eating away at the foundation of Lady Chancellor’s power over Fatrasta, and ingeniously titled after this book, Sins of Empire. It is through the eyes of these three characters that the story unfolds and presents us with a twist-filled, blade-flinging, gun-shooting and blood-dripping adventure like none other before.
This is easily another spell-binding fantasy series worth every second of my time. Brian McClellan presents us a story that doesn’t live in the shadow of his original trilogy, but rises to be its own thing with great conviction. While his powder mage magic system isn’t new and was first presented in his trilogy, he flawlessly builds it back up from scratch in Sins of Empire for new fans like me to get a great idea of what it entails. Without narrowing his narrative on explaining the finer details, he seamlessly incorporates it into the story in small pieces. In fact, the sorcery is sprinkled throughout the story in manageable doses and teases at the scope of this series as well as where things will go from here on out. While magic is definitely an essential part of the story, blades and guns make up for just as much gore throughout this adventure. Trust me.
The story also finds a really nice balance in character and story development. The twists are present and keeps on pushing the story forward. I loved how they always made my jaw drop as they smoothly put the pieces of the puzzle together without any possibility of foresight for the reader. Just when you think Brian McClellan showed you all the tricks he had under his sleeves, he finds new ways to remind us that he’s the one who pulls the strings here, and that until the very end. His ability to properly develop three different point of views without tripping also highlights his excellent writing skill. Take my word that Sins of Empire is simply addictive, especially with its flawless prose.
Action-packed and creative, Brian McClellan proves himself to be a top tier fantasy writer in our time with Sins of Empire. With the sequel, Wrath of Empire, just around the corner, one can only squeal with excitement and wonder with distress at where things will go and what else he could potentially do in this flintlock fantasy world. I don’t even think it’s a stretch to say that he’s probably the best at blending guns with magic. I mean… How can anyone do better than this?
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★★
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Till next time,