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Promise of Blood

Posted by Shawn Boyles On Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I feel bad. I received an ARC of PROMISE OF BLOOD by Brian McClellan several months ago and quickly devoured it. I had every intention of having a review ready to go when the book came out...and then it didn't happen. The problem was I wanted to write something witty and fun about the book but all I kept coming up with was....I liked it. I liked it a lot. And that's really understating it because I really, really did like it. After finishing McClellan's debut I looked him up to check out news for the next book. I looked on Amazon to see what was going on. I even checked on Orbit's blog to see if there was any news about the series. It was a dang good book. I just felt that I should do something more with the review than just, "Yeah, I really liked it."

And that's my bad. Here, Brian has gone out of his way to write a stellar debut novel and I can't get off my lazy butt to write him a review? Shame on me. SHAME ON ME! As a person of integrity I MUST make amends!

Dear Brian,

Dude, my bad. You did your part. You wrote a great book. You had a fun interesting world with stuff in it that I've never seen. You had fantasy in a revolutionary war type setting and I've never read anything like that. You had mages who get powers from gunpowder. You had Gods walking among men, not to mention several other really neat surprises thrown in (I won't spoil them all here--there may be readers watching).

You had fun and interesting characters. I loved Tamas. I mean the book starts out with him killing the king and overthrowing the existing government? What a great opening. It sets up a pace right from the beginning that made me not want to put the book down. Then you throw in a mystery of a dying man's phrase that could have significant meaning to the war--the way the investigator, Adamat handled that one was terrific. Oh and let's not forget Tamas' son, Taniel who is tasked with tracking down and killing a very powerful powder mage (or so we think). And just as I'm beginning to get the sense that revolutionaries = good, and royalty = bad, you throw in Nila--a servant in a former royal house--who has a different view on things. Great stuff!

Reading through the book was a joy. I enjoyed the magic systems and twists and turns of various powers. I also liked the interplay of the stories, specifically how characters would come and go interacting with various point of view characters to give me a greater sense of the whole. Honestly, PROMISE OF BLOOD gave me a very Daniel Abraham/Brandon Sanderson vibe (and if that sentence doesn't give you goosebumps then you must have no soul). I honestly can't give much higher praise than that.

So again Brian, I'm sorry. I dropped the ball on this one. To make it up to you, I'll make you a deal. How about, you send me Advanced Reader Copies of the next two books in the series (as soon as possible please) and I promise to have reviews ready to go the day those books are published. Deal?

Your New Fan,

Shawn of Elitist Book Reviews

Everyone should pick up PROMISE OF BLOOD. Brian McClellan will easily make it to our short-list next year when nominations for the Campbell Award are open. Yes, it really is that good.

Age Recommendation: 16+ for violence and some suggestive stuff
Language: Nothing really to comment on.
Violence: Starts with the king being murdered and there's a massacre in there as well. Not super gory though.
Sex: Referenced and suggested.

Any fan of Daniel Abraham and/or Brandon Sanderson should pick up Brian McClellan's debut. Here's your link:



  1. Terenbas Said,

    I thought that Brian Mckellan had some pretty fantastic ideas. His three main characters were well-drawn, although I felt that Taniel's relationship with his father should have had more pages.

    My one problem with the book though was Mckellan's decision to add in a "supernatural" element into the plot. I felt that it jarred with the Pre-industrial revolution Europe feel. I also felt that Tamas should have had a bigger KILL THEM ALL moment.

    Posted on April 24, 2013 at 6:35 PM

  2. avivs Said,

    What a book! So good. I want the next one NOW.

    Posted on July 27, 2013 at 4:56 PM


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