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Blood of Empire (The Gods of Blood and Powder Series) (The Gods of Blood and Powder Series, 3) Audio CD – Unabridged, March 17, 2020
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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.
Continue the epic fantasy series by the author whose debut novel Brandon Sanderson called ""just plain awesome!""
Gods of Blood and PowderSins of EmpireWrath of EmpireBlood of Empire
For more from Brian McClellan, check out:
Powder MagePromise of BloodThe Crimson CampaignThe Autumn Republic
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"McClellan concludes his terrific Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy with this explosive finale...McClellan sustains the tension throughout, keeping readers' hearts pounding across epic battles and backroom machinations alike. Fans will devour this action-packed series ender."-- "Publishers Weekly (starred review)"
"The vast cast and scope of this novel capture a sense of history and politics, and McClellan remains extremely adept at this thrilling and action-packed narrative of magical and military conflict. Highly recommended for fans of fantasy that aren't afraid to deal with politics and revolution alongside spells and swords."-- "Booklist (starred review)"
About the Author
Brian McClellan is an avid reader of fantasy and graduate of Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp. When he is not writing, he loves baking, making jam from fruit grown in northeast Ohio, and playing video games. He currently lives in Cleveland with his wife.
- Publisher : Hachette Book Group and Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (March 17, 2020)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1549129244
- ISBN-13 : 978-1549129247
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.1 x 1.8 x 5.5 inches
- Customer Reviews:
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Brian McClellan has done an excellent job slow burning these stories into one grand finale. Except for in this one we were slow burning for most of the book but then I realized we were getting close to the end and I didn't have a lot of pages left. So what I was hoping was going to be this huge climatic ending sequence actually felt a little anticlimactic. Which is not a bad things by any means, just not what I expected going into this finale.
Blood of Empire did one thing very very well I might say and that is the brilliant character arc of Vlora. Finally, finally she gets an arc worthy of her character. Vlora I have really enjoyed, but she definitely gets overshadowed quite a bit by Ben and Michel. Not in BoE, no Vlora said it is my turn and I am keeping this spotlight and that she did. It was beautifully executed and handled right from her first chapter, which was so deserving after what she was forced to endure at the end of Wrath of Empire. Well done for sure. Ben and Michel were Ben and Michel I have loved them since book one and I loved them here as well.
The Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy has been an excellent adventure with brilliant characters and riveting story. Brian McClellan truly is a force of nature when it comes to his craft as a writer and I cannot wait for more books by him.
That’s not actually a criticism of the book, or of his writing or portrayal of the character. Just read the thing, you won’t regret it.
But this second trilogy was an utter disaster.
Vlora was a terrible, utterly useless leader with the personality of a wet paper towel and I was constantly hoping she would bite the dust rather sooner than later.
The Mickel spy story was so bad I skipped most of those chapters.
The political manoevering was so ridiculous I laughed out loud a couple times and skipped tüit most of the time (Delia agreeing to helping the villain become a god? Seriously???)
Of course, the whole godstone aspect contradicts the mythology established in the fisrt trilogy and no explanantions at all were offered. That is at the very least lazy world buidling, I personally find it insulting to the reader.
The second star is for Ben Styke, now following that man was a fun ride.
I am done with Mr McClellan' work.
Top reviews from other countries
Regular readers, read on.
This one runs for six hundred and fifty two pages. It has a prologue and seventy two chapters. There are several maps at the front.
And it does bring the story of these two trilogies to a complete end, as well.
Following on from the end of the last book in this trilogy 'Wrath of Empire', the three main viewpoint characters are once again Vlora. Ben Styke. And Michel. Each chapter jumps between them, although sometimes you do get two consecutive chapters with the same viewpoint character.
Each is continuing their own personal battles to deal with the local situation. Vlora has to continue to lead her army and come to terms with having lost her ability. Michel is doing his usual spying. And Ben has other concerns.
A final confrontation awaits...
This is very readable as ever. It didn't take me too long to get over the usual problem with series - recalling what happened last time if it's been a while since you read the previous book - but that was more down to the characters grabbing me and me wanting to see what was happening to them, than recalling narrative details. I did get into the plot quickly enough though.
Whilst this has a little more energy than the last book, which did feel a bit middle of the series, in the way certain books like that can be, I did just find Vlora's story more involving than the other two. She was a more fallible character, and with more interesting action going on, so her chapters did hold me more.
It does in the last quarter start to pull all threads together rather well, but the final confrontation is a little bit rushed. And there were two characters who, whilst they've not been viewpoints in this story before, were absent from the bulk of the narrative. And that was a bit noticeable.
It does end well though, and gets good marks for the final three chapters, where it does all that.
A decent end all in all to a good series, and I look forward to seeing what the writer does next.
McLellan is the sort of author who sometimes really does kill major characters - like David Eddings he even kills Gods - but he also sometimes makes you think characters are dead and then reveals later that they escaped after all. Reading later books in the series first is often a SERIOUS spoiler for the earlier ones.
The best order to maximise your enjoyment of this series is to begin with the novels of the original Powder Mage trilogy which are
1) " Promise of Blood: Book 1 in the Powder Mage trilogy "
2) " The Crimson Campaign: Book 2 in The Powder Mage Trilogy "
3) " The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage trilogy) "
If you are also keen to read some of the backstory of one of the major characters during a revolution on an island called Fatrasta where most of the action of the "Gods of Blood and Powder" trilogy takes place and and also gives you some important background to the events of this trilogy, you may then wish to read
4) " Ghosts of the Tristan Basin: A Powder Mage Novella "
Then you should move on to the Gods of Blood and Powder series which consists of
5) "Sins of Empire"
6) "Wrath of Empire"
7) This book, "Blood of Empire."
McLellan has also written a number of other short stories set in this universe besides "Ghosts of the Tristan Basin" and of these I can particularly recommend " In the Field Marshal's Shadow: Stories from the Powder Mage Universe " which fills in a lot of gaps. " Return to Honour " which is about one of the main characters of Sins of Empire, and " Forsworn: A Powder Mage Novella (Powder Mage series) " which is about Erika, the wife of Field Marshall Tamas and mother of Taniel Two-Shot, whose murder by the Kez regime before the first novel in the series is a major part of the motivation of those two characters.
I have seen the original trilogy of this series described as "The French Revolution with Wizards." The author himself said that he was interested to explore what would happen if an industrial revolution and the associated political and social reform took place in a world where magic and wizards also existed.
These books are set in a fantasy world, where non-magical technology and social evolution are similar to those in Europe in the late 18th century, but some people have several very different types of magic powers.
The most common and least powerful type of magical talent is called a "knack" and people with such talents are a bit like those with a "Grace" in Kristin Cashore's Graceling: 1 Realm Trilogy, having one specific power. Sometimes this is the ability to do some normal function incredibly well: for example one of the characters in the series is a police inspector with a perfect memory. Sometimes it is a very specific magic talent such as the ability to tell when someone is lying.
A rarer and more powerful type of magician in this world are the "Privileged" who have the ability to manipulate energy from a magical dimension: they can do things which range from healing wounds to acting as human bulldozers or flamethrowers. There is a very rare class of super-privileged who are almost demigods.
The third type of magicians are the "Powder Mages" who have a magical ability to sense, detonate, and control the energy from gunpowder and gain superhuman strength from that energy, including the ability to adjust the trajectory of a bullet in flight to make sure it hits or misses.
Field Marshal Tamas, an anti-hero who represents a mix of Robespierre and Napoleon, organised a coup against the monarchy of a country called Adro just before the start of the first book and was the main character of the first series, was a powder mage: so was his son Taniel, (nicknamed Two-Shot). Taniel was a hero (as described in the events of "Ghosts of the Tristan Basin") in helping the island of Fatrasta gain independence from the same reactionary monarchies who the heroes of the original Powder Mage trilogy were fighting against. At the start of "Sins of Empire" both Tamas and Taniel were believed to have been killed while subduing a rogue God at the end of the revolutionary war.
The Dynize invaders have two more types of people with special powers - the "Dragonmen" (the term is not gender specific, a woman can be a Dragonman and some are) who are incredibly tough and almost indestructible warriors. They are not themselves magicians, their recuperative powers and strength have been given to them by the fourth class of magician, the "Bone Eyes" whose power is linked to blood. Like the privileged, the bone-eyes have healing powers; they also have the ability to take over other human beings. The most powerful bone-eyes like Ka-Sedial, leader of the Dynize invasion forces in Fatrasta can even sometimes control people from a long distance away. Ka-Poel, the wife of Taniel Two-shot, is also a bone-eye - the reader learned in an earlier book in the trilogy that she is the grand-daughter of Ka-Sedial and in some ways even more powerful.
I wrote "wife" rather than "widow" because reports of Taniel's death turned out to be exaggerated. He has been the brains behind the movement for the rights of the Palo natives on the island of Fatrasta, where most of this story is set, and in the previous book "Wrath of Empire" he and Lady Flint between them, with a bit of help from two privileged, wiped out an entire Dynize army on their own.
The books of the Powder Mage trilogy are mostly set on the island of Fatrasta a decade or so after the events of the first trilogy. Tamas's protege Vlora, also a powder mage, who is now usually known as Lady Flint, was initially commanding of a regiment of Tamas's former crack troops who turned mercenary at the end of the war and have been hired by the Lady Protector of the Fatrastan republic. The government of Fatrasta is dominated by colonists from the nine Kingdoms, and neither Flint not her troops were delighted to discover that because there did not appear at first to be much threat from the island's former Kez oppressors or any other outside invaders, they were at initially required to spend most of their time cracking down on the Palo or native Fatrastans.
That changed when the Dynize invaded and most of the story has been about the battle to resist the Dynize invaders, and particularly to stop them from using the strange artifacts called "Godstones" to make new Gods.
At the start of this final book in the series Lady Flint is in a very bad place. She's lost her powder mage abilities - burned out when she set out to let her regiment escape at the cost of her own life by going up against an entire Dynize army single handed. (Instead of dying heroically she lived because Taniel and two other friends turned up, but she lost her superhuman strength and her powers over gunpowder and bullets) Flint has also lost the man she loves - he's missing and she's worried he can't forgive her for not letting him die with her.
The leaders of both sides of the war in Fatrasta and the political representative of her own country, Adro, are out for her blood. And she's wrestling with her own demons to avoid becoming as ruthless a killer as the worst of her opponents. But one thing keeps her going - she and her family have paid an enormous price to get rid of one mad God, and she's not going to let anyone create new ones without doing absolutely everything in her power to stop them.
Back in the occupied Fatrastan capital the former spy and Palo nationalist Michel Bravis, is on the same mission, accompanied by Ka-Sedial's other grand-daughter who has an even better idea of how evil her grandfather is than her sister Ka-Poel does. But even they are horrified to find what lengths he will go to to activate the Godstone.
The third major character of the series is Major "Mad Ben" Stykes, a former hero of the war of Fatrastan independence. Some of his backstory is given in the short story "The Mad Lancers" which is set twelve years before "Sins of Empire." Ben Styke was accused of war crimes and supposedly executed as soon as the war was over and his abilities were no longer needed, and then released and put back in uniform a decade later when his sister, the Lady Protector, needed him again.
Now Styke with a small group of his troops and Taniel's wife Ka-Poel, have crossed the seas to the Dynize capital which has been built around the Godstone which was already on their own vast continent. Their task seems even more hopeless. But the Dynize are not quite as united as they had at first appeared
None of the countries or peoples of this series are exact analogues with those of our world, but there are some evident similarities: the "Nine Kingdoms" bear some resemblance to continental Europe. Adro which is the home nation of Taniel and Vlora is mostly France: there is no equivalent of Britain and many of the things which happened first in Britain in our world, notably the industrial revolution, happen first in Adro in the Powder Mage Universe. The other eight countries of the "Nine Kingdoms" are the reactionary monarchies of the rest of Europe.
Fatrasta is North America, with the Adran and other "Kressian" settlers having parallels to European settlers and the Palo are the Native Americans. The Dynize do not have an exact parallel in our world as they are related to the Palo but have an old and very different civilisation on their own continent.
Imagine that the US and Canada was one island which had been conquered by Europeans, where those very European colonists had then thrown off the rule of the the European monarchies, and the rest of the Americas were a nearby continent with an ancient civilisation with some similarities to the Aztec, Inca and Mayan empires. Suppose that after experiencing a civil war themselves, that empire decided that a "short victorious war" would unify their country, especially if it helped them create a new God, and invaded the newly independent North America. Suppose that all this took place against the backdrop that an industrial age was dawning in a world which also had magic. Then you have some idea of the backdrop to the Gods of Blood and Powder" trilogy.
A very highly entertaining and exciting book and a fitting continuation of the storyline. I enjoyed reading "Blood of Empire" and all the stories in this trilogy.
But unfortunately, as a finale, I was disappointed.
It felt like people were sat on their hands, doing nothing much, for virtually the whole book and then it all suddenly rushed to a neatly wrapped conclusion in the last few chapters.
Still a hugely enjoyable series though.
The author has created a masterpiece of a universe with numerous great characters and a compelling narrative.