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April 29, 2013 / minusbar

Book Review: Promise of Blood, by Brian McClellan

Book Review: “Promise of Blood” by Brian McClellan

This was my most anticipated read for the year by a debut author, so I went in with very high expectations for it. I am pleased to say that it did not disappoint. This book is a bloodbath of adventure from start to finish and managed to easily keep my nose buried in it for the 500+ pages. I’d definitely categorize this book as a marathon read, as you’ll not want to put it down until you’re done.

Like every reviewer has stated, the magic system in Promise of Blood is brilliant! We’re given three distinctly different types of magic, and possibly a fourth (which I wont go into detail about). The first are the Privileged, which will be very familiar for any person regularly reads fantasy. They are the standard wizard arch-type, fireballs, lightning and what not. The second are the Marked; they control fire powder and draw strength from it. Basically, think about the movie “Wanted” where they guide bullets, only with a LSD-like power trance as well. Then, lastly, there are the Knacked. These where by far my favorite as they most closely resembled normal people. Basically, a Knack is just a person who is gifted with a specifically strong skill, which could be anything from reading a person or a photographic memory.

While I greatly enjoyed the way these three magical entities interacted and combated each other, I couldn’t help but feel like nearly every major player had some sort of magic. If you didn’t have a Knack or some sort of magical gift, you were little more than cannon fodder. In future books, I’d like to see a little larger role for an entirely normal person. The only one that comes to mind for me is SouSmith, an aging boxer-turned bodyguard who accompanies one of our leads, Adamat. I found him to be rather intriguing due to the odds being so heavily stacked against anyone not possessing a magical gift of some kind.

Not it’s time to talk about one of my favorite things about this book, the enemy. I loved how the book was written to not let the reader know all of the characters motivations right off the bat. People who may appear evil at first could then be revealed later as justified for their actions, and vice versa. This was a very nice touch, and it made me enjoy the process of peeling away at the layers of a character. Overall, the reading experience was made more intimate because of it.

That leads me to my last point, the characters were wonderfully fleshed out. Adamat, Tamas and Taniel, the three man characters are extremely well developed and distinctly different from each other. Very rarely do I read a book where I enjoy all of the POV’s equally, but Brian McClellan has managed to accomplish just that. The supporting characters are also handled quite nicely. I felt as though I was given enough to care for them, but enough was omitted to leave an air of mystery to be explored in the future installments.

Overall, I’d say this deserves to be a must-read on any fantasy readers list. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a fantasy world better realized than that of the one Brian McClellan has crafted.

If you’re interested in reading this (which you definitely should be!), the book is available worldwide here.

Thanks,

Roger Bellini

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