This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Blood of Empire
Series: Gods of Blood and Powder #3
Author: Brian McClellan
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Flintlock Fantasy
From the Publisher
The Dynize have unlocked the Landfall Godstone, and Michel Bravis is tasked with returning to Greenfire Depths to do whatever he can to prevent them from using its power; from sewing dissension among the enemy ranks to rallying the Palo population.
Ben Styke’s invasion of Dynize is curtailed when a storm scatters his fleet. Coming ashore with just twenty lancers, he is forced to rely on brains rather than brawn – gaining new allies in a strange land on the cusp of its own internal violence.
Bereft of her sorcery and physically and emotionally broken, Lady Vlora Flint now marches on Landfall at the head of an Adran army seeking vengeance against those who have conspired against her. While allied politicians seek to undo her from within, she faces insurmountable odds and Dynize’s greatest general.
This was a good wrapup to the trilogy. Overall, I was satisfied with how the story proceeded and how it ended each storyline of Michael, Vlora, Ben Stykes and Ka-Poel.
I’d like to talk about Vlora first, as I focused on her in the previous review and kind of ruined the whole review even though I enjoyed the book tremendously. Vlora is a bitch, plain and simple. I’m sorry to use such language, but once she lost her powder mage powers and had to rely on others, it became very evident that she was a bully and one of those people who had to do everything themselves. When neither of those things was possible anymore, my annoyance with her as a character went down to almost zero. But she is everything that I still dislike about main characters in a book. If McClellan writes any more in the Powder Mage universe and she’s featured, I’ll probably skip it.
Ben Stykes was a character and I mean that in the best way possible. He’s a jerk sometimes but he has some moments of personal growth that allows him to grow as a person. Having to take care of an adopted daughter made him grow up psychologically and emotionally. Becoming the defacto dad of a 10year old girl was probably the best thing that could have happened to him. I identified with his struggle of getting older, as near the end of the book he realizes he just can’t do what he used to be able to. With my job and my diabetes, I don’t recover nearly as quickly from falls as I use to, and muscles and stuff get hurt a LOT easier than they used to. I’m not an invalid by any means, but seeing Ben struggle just made me grin, because I’m experiencing it myself.
I would have enjoyed seeing a bit more of Ka-Poel and Taniel together. Taniel is almost absent from this except for a bare couple of scenes and while Ka-Poel does play a part, she’s more of an ancillary to Styke’s whole storyline.
While I haven’t talked about him, I liked Michel Bravis’ storyline the best. From the first book until the end, he’s an ordinary person (he’s not a powdermage like Vlora, not a blood sorceress like Ka-Poel, not a ultra-badass like Stykes) who is doing his best and doing it well. He can’t snap his fingers and make things happen, so just like you or me, he has to figure out alternatives. He was the most relatable and I enjoyed my time reading about him.
Overall, this trilogy was a great sequel to the original Powder Mage trilogy and I enjoyed my time spent on it. I saw that McClellan is starting another Epic Fantasy series but that it doesn’t appear to be in the Powder Mage universe. I hope he sticks to a trilogy with it and once it is complete, I’ll be reading it unless I hear abysmal reviews.