Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan

details
Title: Blood of Empire.
Series: Gods of Blood and Powder #3.
Writer(s): Brian McClellan.
Publisher: Orbit.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: December 3rd, 2019.
Pages: 672.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13:  9780316407311.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

Previously in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy:
Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan.
Wrath of Empire by Brian McClellan.

thoughts

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.

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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.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Orbit Books for sending me a copy for review!

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23 comments

  • Looking forward to reading this one in the new year! I wanted to get to it this month, but too many books too little time 🙂 I’m glad to hear it was a strong ending though, I have a feeling I’ll love it too!

    Liked by 1 person

  • With 6 books, and short stories, under his belt, McClellan has shown he has the staying power. I wonder if he’ll stay in this world or go off on something completely different for his future books?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed. I want to make an exception with him and pick up the ebooks but I struggle with the idea of owning something digital while I have the rest as physical copies hahaha

      I actually would love to see him extend this world even more, sort like Abercrombie has been doing since the beginning. Then again, I’m also curious to see what else he could write, just to see if he can do it. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Wonderful review! I’m on the last 40 pages of this one myself and I’m both enjoying it immensely and feeling sad for the realization that I will have to say goodbye to these amazing characters. With Blood of Empire I ended up liking Michel Bravis very much, while before I felt just a lukewarm interest for him, and my love for Mad Ben Styke reached new depths – he’s one of the best, indeed… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Maddalena! I hope the final 40 pages didn’t disappoint you. 😉 I too am sad that it has all come to and end but I love how all three characters grew on me. I think Vlora had the least impact on me personally… Somehow the direction it went with her character wasn’t as exciting as it could’ve been. But the giant and the spy were awesome! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vlora has always been one of my favorite characters, even in the first trilogy where she barely appeared, but I must say that everyone grew exponentially here and I cared for every single one of these characters: there were moments where I was worried for their safety, which shows that McClellan did an extraordinary job in fleshing them out and breathing life on them. My only hope is that there are some threads in the last chapter that might – just might – offer material for more of this story. Keeping my fingers crossed…😊

        Liked by 1 person

  • Lashaan I recall your reviews of the other books were you really were showing your admiration for his work! Too bad that he has been “forced” into tying up loose ends and the innovation paid the price because I suspect that would have been a 5 stars for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • He’s definitely an author that any adult fantasy reader should check out. It’s such an awesome world! And yes, it could’ve been a 5 stars read if only it could’ve been more twistier! It was still a fantastic book though! 😀

      Like

  • I really need to give Brian McClellan a try one of these days. I think I have the Powder Mage trilogy in ebook format. I’m guessing that’s the best place to start?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. To fully enjoy this world, I’d recommend starting with the Powder Mage trilogy. However, if you already have the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy, and don’t have the Powder Mage trilogy, then it wouldn’t hurt to start here as well, the references to the first trilogy will just fly over your head hahah

      Like

  • Only 4 stars? 😉 Lashaan, what a crushing review!
    But seriously, I’m glad it’s a solid conclusion to the series. It’s still ahead of me, in the plans for 2020, so I’m happy I can look forward to reading it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sounds like a bit of a forgone conclusion. Too bad he couldn’t squeeze in some more twists. I do love getting to see the end for my favorite characters though. And it sounds like there could be more adventures?! I do love the trinity character setup in stories. Even if you don’t love all three the contrast can still work well.

    Like

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