Title: Blood of Empire.
Series: Gods of Blood and Powder #3.
Writer(s): Brian McClellan.
Release Date: December 3rd, 2019.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy:
Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan.
Wrath of Empire by Brian McClellan.
Watching an author create his borderless fictional playground is a reader’s ultimate pleasure. When it comes to epic fantasy novels, there are a couple of authors who achieve this and effortlessly expand their universe with incredible expertise, as they not only explore different zones, characters, and stories, but also tackle different periods in time and generations in the past, present, and future. This often leads readers to appreciate the references to various books written by the author, whether they’re in the form of existing characters or events, but also discover brand-new narratives that add incredible ramifications to an already complex world. Epic fantasy author Brian McClellan, having written and completed the Field Marshal Tamas’-centered Powder Mage trilogy, now looks into wrapping things up once and for all with the final installment in his Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy.
What is Blood of Empire about? A war is brewing as the Dynize blood sorcerer Ka-Sedial pursues his goal to obtain all three godstones and turn himself into a divine entity. Meanwhile, our beloved heroes—mercenary, spy, and general—are off on their own missions to foil Ka-Sedial’s plans. First, Mad Ben Styke and his allies attempt to invade Dynize to get their hands on the third ancient monolith although the odds are against them and the obstacles continue to accumulate throughout their journey. Second, Lady Vlora Flint, fatally wounded following the spectacular events in Wrath of Empire, craves vengeance and marches into Landfall with her Adran army. Third, ex-spy Michel Bravis goes back to his roots and wishes to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of countless Palo. As each of these fighters encounters some of their greatest challenges, they all remain a key to taking down an empire from inside out.
There’s no mistaking author Brian McClellan’s ability to tell a vivid and cinematic story. Since Sins of Empire, he has continuously proven that he is able to infuse his flintlock fantasy with compelling politics, assuring his fans that his stories will keep them on the edge of their seats. Throughout Blood of Empire, he was able to dose incredible action sequences filled with mayhem and chaos while also presenting readers with profound character development that reminds us of the incredible growth underwent by our heroes. In fact, Ben Styke, Vlora Flint, and Michel Bravis are worn out by the trials they’ve faced since the beginning and showcase incredible wisdom through experience. They are also a lot more grounded and connected with their emotions this time around as their reputation plays a huge role in their progress, with them realizing that they are more than people to others but legends with all that they’ve accomplished.
With these heroes being taken out of their game, author Brian McClellan offers readers the chance to watch them overcome adversity and transcend their predicaments through wit and intellect, whether it’s in the hopes to outplay their enemies through a frontal assault or through sneaky and deceitful strategies. The world-building thus wasn’t the focus of this story arc that looked into tying up loose ends. This also forced the author into taking his story in a direction that he didn’t much have a choice to go towards, making it difficult for truly innovative subplots to be included and explored. This also resulted in a lot fewer plot twists being presented at the cost of much more emotional and intimate character development. That being said, he still brilliantly utilizes societal conflicts, social stratifications, and politics to constantly shake things up. While it remained low-fantasy, author Brian McClellan does an excellent job in delivering an ending that could just as well serve as a whole new beginning.
Blood of Empire is an epic finale filled with politics, sorcery, and warfare as the clock continues to tick and heroes reflect upon their roles and responsibilities in the grand scheme of things.
Thank you to Orbit Books for sending me a copy for review!