I posted my review of Brian McClellan's debut novel, Promise of Blood on Monday a day before the book published. While I go into greater detail in my review, this book impressed the hell out of me. McClellan's world-building and inventiveness with magic were standouts. The book isn't without its flaws (gender imbalance), but the story is only one third complete at this point and there is potential to bring that divide into balance.
With the coup and execution of the novel taking the very early portions of the novel, McCellelan drew me into the novel very strongly and very quickly. The slight change in pace, though not entirely smooth, made for a more relaxed pace that I felt very comfortable reading. The threads follow, primarily, Adamat’s investigations and ducking of the people to whom he owes money, Taniel on the outskirts of Adopest’s borders fighting the Kez, and Tamas’s struggles with the Church to set the nation on a better path. Oh yeah, the gods might be returning to the world and a laundress is watching over the sole heir (though not a direct heir) of the executed king in seclusion. In short, the realistic conflicts of war and civilization are tightly interwoven with prophecies and more fantastical elements....While the inventiveness is similar, Brian’s sheer ability to show both positives and negatives of the powder magic is a standout. Though both Tamas and Taniel employ powder in their magic, Taniel has become addicted to the substance; the downside to ingesting the powder. It proves to be a major strain on the already strained relationship between father and son. However, that strain is an ever-present thing, especially for Taniel. He feels his father looks down upon him and has little respect for him, which adds to Taniel’s growing discontent with his father and abuse of the powder – a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy.
I interviewed Brian last week
Brian provided me with a guest post last week
In other news, folks who've been visiting the SFFWorld forums may have noticed problems in there. Particularly the slowness of the pages loading in the forum and occasional double posts (likely as a result of the slow loading) as well as the lack of activity. Mark and I have had issues uploading reviews and we may have a solution to at least that aspect - a place to continue posting reviews under the SFFWorld name.