Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Report: The Powder Mage trilogy

The Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign, and The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan.

The Powder Mage trilogy is set in a world with two main divisions of magic, Privileged and Powder Mages.  The former is a more traditional type of magic you may find in other fantasy settings ... individuals who control elemental powers to fantastic, often deadly effects.  Powder mages are immune to Privileged magics and have their own unique ability: they can manipulate gun powder - igniting it at a distance, or altering the course of bullets in flight, for example.

A Promise of Blood begins with Tamas, powder mage and commander of the Adran army, overthrowing the brutally corrupt Adran monarchy in a violent, bloody coup, then sending his son to eradicate the Privileged mages who might threaten the newly established republic.  As the story unfolds we get a broader view of more nuanced magics in the world.  That system is as much a setting for the story as the six other nations surrounding Adro which attempt to take advantage of the upheaval through means military, economic or political.  The story itself is about how Tamas, his son Taniel and their friends stabilize the republic in the face of those threats and more. 

They are very exciting books.  Well written.  Fun to read.  The setting is intriguing.  The characters are varied, engaging.  I cared about them and some were just plain fun.  I'm thinking specifically of the Chef Mihali.  He's crazy.  Or maybe he's a god.  Either way, I think it's fair to credit him with saving the world.

And that's the series in a nutshell.  Mages & marksmen reshaping the world through violent conflict that would all work itself out better if we would only just sit down for a nice meal together, wouldn't it?

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