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Powder Mage #3

The Autumn Republic

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2015)
The capital has fallen...
Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.

An army divided...
With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son.

All hope rests with one...
And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed...

THE AUTUMN REPUBLIC is the epic conclusion that began with Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign.

580 pages, Hardcover

First published February 10, 2015

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About the author

Brian McClellan

34 books7,748 followers
Brian McClellan is an American epic fantasy author from Cleveland, Ohio. He is known for his acclaimed Powder Mage Universe and essays on the life and business of being a writer.

Brian now lives on the side of a mountain in Utah with his wife, Michele, where he writes books and nurses a crippling video game addiction.

Brian's novels include the Powder Mage Trilogy (Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign, and The Autumn Republic), Gods of Blood and Powder (Sins of Empire, Wrath of Empire, and Blood of Empire), and Valkyrie Collections (Uncanny Collateral)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,613 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
687 reviews46k followers
May 10, 2017
The Autumn Republic is the conclusion to the Powder Mage trilogy, Brian McClellan’s debut series and in my opinion, it ended satisfyingly on a great note while saving more stories for the future trilogy.

I’ll try keep my review for this one as brief as possible to avoid spoilers. The story continued straight after the end of book 2 and it followed the same 4 main POV. Yes, there is no more side POV. Nila, the only female POV of the series finally get the spotlight she deserved.

“I would die for my country. But I’d rather kill for it. Ready your troops. We march!”

Continuing the tradition of The Crimson Campaign, the book doesn’t waste any time getting back to its action sequences. It's still heavily packed with well-written actions, this is especially true during the first half and the last quarter of the book. During these sections, events played out like watching an A+ actions movies full of war, magic combats, fast paced battles that will always glue you to the page. It’s explosive, filled with gore and it’s obvious that the flintlock actions and characters interactions are really the strongest points of the series, not the actual plot itself.

Picture: Powder Mage RPG

However, don’t let this action packed conclusion lead you to believe there aren’t any character developments to be found here, there are actually a lot of great relationships and personality developments for almost everyone, especially for Nila and Bo. I’m actually surprised by how much Nila and Bo developed ever since their first appearance in the first book, I think they’re the one who received the most evolution compared to the other characters.

The Privileged magic system also finally received the proper explanation to how it really works, even Ka-poel power finally received the same treatment, although I still craved for more explanation to her magic system and background, I think it’s passable for now. All the battles, magic clash and how the story concludes satisfyingly after the fantastic climax really make me wish I could rate this book a 5 star but I just can’t.

This book was actually shaping to be a full 5 star read for me but then there are two cons that really hindered me from doing so.

First, I can’t stress this highly enough. Adamat’s storyline could really be trimmed down, I’m talking about the middle section, the filler part or what I would say the “bombing” arc. It was pointless, boring, and a complete struggle for me to read through. It’s just not interesting at all, the thing is, this particular section which lasted around 100 pages provides close to zero importance to the main story line and I just don’t care about any of it despite how much I wanted to. It was a complete momentum killer after the great first half of the book. Luckily, his POV managed to pick its paces back up again during the last quarter of the story.

Second, one character is a complete Mary Sue. I kept on waiting for an explanation to her insanely powerful power but nope, there isn’t one. Sadly, I can’t dive deeper into this without spoiling anything so this is where I’ll stop.

By the end of the trilogy, it’s in my opinion that The Powder Mage is a great series filled with great action scenes, unique magic systems and lovable characters. I personally think that it’s a great introduction for anyone who’s looking into starting flintlock fantasy or adult fantasy in general and I’ll recommend it highly, you may even love this trilogy more than me. This is Brian McClellan’s debut series and after this new found love for flintlock fantasy, it’s safe to say that I’m intrigued to find out how much Brian develop as an author in his new book, Sins of Empire, the first book in his new standalone trilogy, Gods of Blood and Powder which take place in the same universe and from what I heard, it’s his best work so far.

Overall series review

Promise of Blood: 4/5 Stars

The Crimson Campaign: 4.5/5 Stars

The Autumn Republic: 4/5 Stars

The Powder Mage trilogy: 12.5/15 Stars

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at Booknest
Profile Image for Luna. ✨.
92 reviews1,233 followers
June 5, 2017

Put me in the bin because I am utter trash for the Powder Mage Series.

Really what I should do in this review is coherently review the novel, but let's be real now, what even are 'proper informative reviews' when you are suffering from a fangirl heart attack (a very serious condition FYI). I'm ready to crumble into a screaming mess over this shit. So much happened in this book and I just can't deal. I am so grateful for this series existence, like I woke up this morning and thanked the lord that Brian McClellan started writing. I have enjoyed every book in the series and I'm shattered that it has come to an end.

“After the adrenaline had worn off and medals had been awarded and the glory meted out, only the suffering remained after a battle."

This book is the last instalment of the Powder Mage trilogy and with it comes an epic journey of badassery & sexy grandpa kicking arse. I am very satisfied with the way this series ended and I'm glad it left room for some of the characters to progress more in the next series. I did however have a few minor issues with this conclusion. I feel like there is two characters who developed extremely well in this series however I can't help but feel these characters had super powers that were not explained so therefor they are both Gary Stu's imo. Why can one person do magic without gloves? Huh? Yeah you can't answer because there was literally no reasonable explanation. Also why did another character turn into superman but it wasn't explained where or why they recieved those powers? I felt like all the loose ends in this book were not tied neatly at the end, the magic system is still pretty random and has no major repercussions. I also feel that the ending was rushed, I don't like the way the author dealt with all the on going issues that surrounded our characters and the plot. There was no big boss fight & I hate that shit. This is the only thing that affected my reading experience. Apart from those two minor issues i enjoyed reading this series, definitely my favourite series of 2017 so far & I'm looking forward to completing the short stories and starting the new series Sins of the Empire. My favourite thing about this series (apart from Taniel of course) is the character development. in book one I hated Adamant & Nila with a passion. By the end of the series I found myself rooting for both characters & crying shamelessly if anything bad happened to either character. Another thing I loved was the plot pacing, it's so fast paced and full of action, magical explosions with limbs flying left right and Centre. I was not bored once in any of the books, but I must admit book three is my least favourite.

Can someone please order a Black Warden to come and break my body in half. I can't go on living now that I've finished this series. After I'm dead please bury these books with the remains of what was left of my body. Seriously this book hit me like a semi truck full of feels that was going 180km in a 40km school zone. For real though, this book smashed my face in and now I'm dead. (finito). But death wasn't the worst thing to happen, this book has actually put me in a 35 year reading slump. See y'all in 2052.

Recommended to everyone who loves fantasy & sexy grandpas. I also think think this would be a great starting point for anyone wanting to get into flintlock fantasy.

Buddy read with Choko & Twilia. (Who I will tag later. when I edit this review.)

Actual rating for this book; 4.5/5

P.s. Ive snorted lots of gunpowder and I'm now in a powder trance to numb the pain of that ending. S.O.S. Someone send urgent help to fix my shattered heart.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Haïfa.
190 reviews181 followers
October 9, 2019
The Autumn Republic is the third and last book of the Powder Mage Trilogy and again, it's a brilliant (and equally frustrating) mix of military tactics, fantasy, politics and investigative narrative.

The action began a few days after the closing events of the Crimson Campaign. Some of the main characters found themselves in dire situations, others were beginning new adventures. So to say the least, the book started off with a bang!

“I would die for my country. But I’d rather kill for it. Ready your troops. We march!”

I was totally gripped and literally flew through the first half. Tamas and Taniel's chapters were very exciting (as usual) and Nila's were beginning to pique my interest... And then sadly, the book focused on Adamat's arc... I won't detail what bothered me lest I spoil a big chunk of the story. But in my opinion, Adamat overstayed his welcome. In the first two books, the detective's POV was already pretty boring. Yet, it provided a lot of insight into the schemes and conspiracies that were hatched backstage. In the Autumn Republic, his story presented little interest and that's putting it nicely. McClellan said : "Investigative science practically depended on lucky breaks". And Adamat's luck would put the lottery jackpot winners' to shame...

I needed to talk about that part first because I was so frustrated with that POV that I considered dropping the book. Luckily for me, my friend Petrik let me vent and we encouraged each other to look past it. And man!! I'm so glad I did. Because the last chapters were so thrilling, action-packed, fast-paced and emotionally challenging ! While the ending in both Promise of Blood and the Crimson Campaign was a bit underwhelming, McClellan crafted a grand and unpredictable finale here.

“I see a vision of the future, revolutions spreading out across the lands as people pull down their monarchs. The strongest men, unordained by saints or gods, rise to the top and carve out their own petty empires. Men and women die by the millions and all the progress that our world has made in the last thousand years is lost in the dust of time."

The characters were another asset of this book. Aside from Adamat, most of the characters developed a lot and showed multiple and sometimes surprising facets. I loved Olem's bluntness, Bo's complexity, Nila's perseverance, Pole's loyalty, Taniel's worthiness and Tamas's courage, dogged determination and snappy retorts. The only complaint I have with the characters is that McClellan made them so dense sometimes! Despite all the evidence being aligned in front of them (the hints weren't very subtle in this book), they were either totally distracted to take the hint, or too busy to bother. Again: FRUSTRATING !

The different magic systems were well explored and finally better explained in this book and led to thrilling fights! Something I really loved in this series, is that the multiple magic systems didn't hinder the technological progress. On the contrary, they even seemed to encourage innovation in lots of fields (chemistry, mechanics, weaponry...) and that was really exciting to read. However a lot of questions are left unanswered and I really really hope McClellan will provide more answers and explanations in the next trilogy.

Finally, McClellan's writing improved so much and some parts were really beautiful and well turned. The black humor he used even in the most tragic situations was a huge bonus and never failed to make me giggle:

“I can give you some good news on that,” (he) said. “I’ve dug up [...]spy reports, and if they’re to be believed, the Kez have left few enough of our people inside unmolested. Most were slaughtered in the initial attack and the rest have been sold as slaves.”
“That’s the worst good news I’ve ever heard.”

Overall Powder Mage was a very creative and intense series. If you like your Fantasy mixed with politics, intricate magic systems, religion, technology, genius military strategies and " plans within plans within plans ", then you'll probably enjoy this series.

You can find this and other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
February 22, 2015
Adro is in foreign hands. Taniel Two-Shot is missing and presumed dead. The war with the Kez continues.

The conclusion of the Powder Mage trilogy has been a long time coming. Not in a geological, George R.R. Martin sort of way but I've been anticipating it since closing The Crimson Campaign. Was it worth it?

Pit, yes! All the seeds Brian McClellan planted in the previous two volumes bore bloody fruit! Who would have thought what an important character Nila the washer-woman would have become in the first book? Or the depths of the machinations of many of the characters?

As with the previous book, the meat of the book is with Tamas and Taniel, both of whom have traveled a long, carnage-strewn road since the first book. And let's not forget Inspector Adamat. I'd love a series of young Inspector Adamat novels.

I'm actually at a loss for words on how to review this without too much spoilage. The ending was everything I hoped it would be, complete with a single solitary man-tear running down my cheek near the end. All the loose ends were tied up or burned off and things ended pretty much how I thought they would. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Profile Image for Choko.
1,221 reviews2,594 followers
June 3, 2017
*** 4.44 ***

A buddy read with my friends @ BB&B, because Flintlock Fantasy is fun!!!

I just finished this last installment of the Powder Mage Trilogy and I am still a bit shell-shocked, so I will only say that the author got better with every new book and from the second book on it is perfectly paced and memorably written. It is a Fantasy homage to the soldier adventures about the British-French Wars as well as the First World War... This will sound a bit corny, but Taniel reminded me a bit of a childhood favorite, Sharpie! And Tamas, well, Tamas was the power of nature concentrated in a character faulty, but bigger than life! Adamant and Nila represented the best, most persistent and adaptive qualities which are inert in all of us, but easily accessible just for situations when we are driven to our utmost limits... All the wonderful secondary characters made for a complete and satisfying world which absorbs you into its own reality. I would strongly recommend this series to all my friends 😁🙂😁!

Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you need in the pages of a good book!!!
Profile Image for Kaora.
585 reviews282 followers
April 26, 2023
The perfect ending to an incredible series earns my first 5 stars of 2015.

I fell in love with this series immediately, and it quickly became one of my favorites. The Autumn Republic continues what Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign starts, with Tamas' dream of Adopest becoming a republic instead of a monarchy. This time a foreign army occupies Adopest the capital, and the Kez army threatens the border.

The world building in this series is amazing. I love the different levels of magic including Knacked, Powder Mages and Privileged. I'm a sucker for a good magic system, and this is no exception.

I know one of the issues with some of the other books stems from not having a female perspective, but McClellan seems to have taken that advice to heart, giving the reader a look into the world of Nila, who ends up playing an important role in the events of this book. While his female perspective is a little bit shaky, I think it will improve with time. Many authors struggle with the point of view of the opposite gender, so it is a rather minor complaint.

I finished the majority of this book in one day, unable to put it down, and when a book captures my attention so wholly it is an easy five stars for me.

The Autumn Republic has action, magic and some great characters, and I highly recommend it for any fantasy lover.
Profile Image for Jody .
202 reviews141 followers
February 22, 2017
"Death is a bloody painter and this is his canvas."

I wasn't aware of the term flintlock fantasy until I had finished book 1 of this trilogy. After finishing book 3, I am hooked, and will definitely be looking for more in this genre. My only concern is will anything else live up to the standards Brian McClellan has me expecting of this type of fantasy. The mixture of politics, magic, and military is done extremely well in these books. I felt like I was reading a cross between Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie. I know! I know! You can all call me crazy, but I based my comparison on these three areas. There are well developed and diverse characters, a unique magic system, and blood and gore a plenty. These are two of my favorite authors, so I don't compare their works to just anyone. Mr. McClellan has earned the comparison with these fabulous books, and I look forward to what he has in store for us as fantasy readers in the future. Now that I have rambled long enough, on to the review!

The events of The Autumn Republic take place right after book 2. The country of Adro is in turmoil. A war is waging against the Kez on their southern border, plus an invasion of the Brudanian Trading Company and Lord Claremonte in their capital city of Adopest. Field Marshall Tamas is heading back to the front lines of the war after his mad dash behind enemy lines. His goal is to finish this war before they are fighting on two fronts.

We get to see Tamas' military genius really stand out in this book. He wasn't one of my favorites in the first two books, but it seems the old man has grown on me over time. Taniel and Ka-Poel still played a major part in this book, but they don't get as much page time as the previous books. That role is given over to Nila and Bo. I will admit, after book 1, I was wondering what part Nila had to play in this story. Little did I know she had a much larger and important part to play than I could imagine. Her and Bo's scenes were a nice addition to this story, but Taniel and Ka-Poel are still my favs.

Good ol' inspector Adamant, or Mr. Reliable as I have come to call him. Without him and his perfect memory a lot of the events over this trilogy may not have played out the way they did. As far as characters go, he was the perfect yin to Tamas and Taniel's yang.

The start of The Autumn Republic starts a little slower than the previous two books. I felt this was a nice change of pace that helped build up to the maelstrom of events that occur later. The plot is pretty straight-forward and allows the characters to drive the story. If you have read my previous reviews you know I like a character driven storyline. The tons of military and magical action are a great bonus I welcome in any fantasy. Especially, if they are done as well as they are in these books.

Well, with another trilogy complete and time to reflect over, I must say these were my favorite books of 2017 so far. I am not done with the Powder Mage world by no means. I plan on starting the short stories right away. I urge you all to give these books a try, and hope you find them as fun and entertaining as I did.

5 powder charged stars *****
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,986 followers
April 22, 2019
It would seem like, after looking through other reviews, that my opinion of this book is in the minority. So, if you are reading this and wonder if it really is as blah as I make it seem, you might want to check out other reviews and still give it a shot. Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

When I first started this series I kept waiting for it to click. It came highly recommended and many people insisted that I would not be able to put it down. But, I found myself responding like this SNL character when she discovers her alien abduction experience was not quite as mind blowingly awesome as the ones other abductees had:

I just never really got into the series as a whole and the last book dragged on for me. I did not develop a connection with any of the characters or storylines and I had to repeat a lot of the last book because I realized I was reading but absorbing nothing and starting to think about other things. If I am making my shopping list in my head in the middle of what is supposed to be an epic climatic battle, I know things are not going great.

But, again, lots of people were really into this series. The idea of powder mages, the priviledged magic system, and a fantasy world with battles consisting of flintlock muskets and cannons instead of broadswords and catapults all sounds very cool and I had been hoping it would blow me away. But, this time it just didn't.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
719 reviews886 followers
February 23, 2017
4.5 stars.

This series changed my, rightly or wrongly, pre-conceived notions about flintlock fantasy. I thought I might not enjoy it as much as epic or high fantasy, which was why it took me so long to start reading the Powder Mage trilogy, but clearly I was mistaken. And this is a testament to the ability of the author to draw up an interesting story and supplement that with fascinating characters that you feel invested in.

One thing that McClellan's books do not suffer from is poor pacing. Right from the first book to the last, I did not once feel that there was unnecessary slowing down or drawing out of the plot. As I have mentioned in my review for the middle book, it was almost the perfect sequel in setting up the finale.

Character-wise, the books kept to the third person perspective of the main 4 characters which helped significantly in keeping the story tight and demonstrating growth, especially for younger characters like Taniel and Nila. Meanwhile, Tamas and Adamat stayed true to themselves, both being skilled veterans in their respective fields. Nila's perspective probably showed the most development as her importance to the overall plot increased by leaps and bounds. The female voice was definitely more well-represented in this final chapter.

Given that The Autumn Republic is the denouement which is best experienced with as little foreknowledge as possible, I'd prefer not to elaborate much further, safe to say that it is a satisfying conclusion to a great series. Definitely recommended!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
September 25, 2017
I have very few bad things to say about the conclusion to this epic Flintlock Fantasy. There's tons of action, tons of characters to develop and enjoy, and plenty of interesting reveals.

Specifically, however, is how much I've been enjoying Bo and Nila. Don't get me wrong, I'm head over heels for Taniel's storyline and enjoyed it from start to finish, but Bo's understatements and Nila's growing power from a washerwoman into a firestorm was easily my favorite bit.

The Adamant storyline felt like a bit of a letdown, honestly, after all the mystery in the first two books, but that's okay when I consider that all the main players finally converge and either work together or are at least working toward the same somethings in this book. The reveals about the gods were a plain delight for me, as good as in the first book as in the third.

The fact that all these poor mortals have to deal with them or kick their butts or, now, need to deal without their cooking, is probably the best thing to happen to these folks. I'm sure some would disagree with me, but having these immortals around is definitely a bad thing, not that they're inherently evil... they're simply too much like us. :)

As for the ending, I may have enjoyed it a bit too much, wanting to see the wrap up very dearly. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the books, but there were some parts that did go on too long and it's a very specific complaint of my own. A lot of people like the drawn-out war stuff. I generally don't. Fortunately, McClellan's a good writer and makes everything pretty exciting and obviously very clear. Flintlock Fantasy is a very fun genre. :)
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
435 reviews484 followers
March 5, 2015
And so all good things come to an end. And what a satisfying conclusion!

Here is the short and sweet - If you have read end enjoyed the first two entries in this series, then you will love this, the last. It is better in every way.

I am really going to miss the characters and the amazing world that the author imagined. A special mention must also be made for the wonderful magic systems created. I like to think, that the author, as a student of Brandon Sanderson, has definitely picked up some valuable lessons in creating these systems, and it shows.

Brian McClellan has definitely grown as an author, and I am sure he will continue to do so, and deliver many more great books. I am very excited to see what he comes up with next.

Profile Image for Samir.
111 reviews177 followers
November 5, 2017
Actual rating 4.5 stars.

The first two books of this trilogy have been a revelation. They have broadened my fantasy horizons and made me fell in love in flintlock fantasy, something I’ve never thought would happen.

Carried forward by the momentum of the aforementioned books I was looking forward to reading this final installment. I’m glad to say that my eagerness was justified.

The story continues right after the myriad of amazing battle sequences from The Crimson Campaign. Our heroes are presented with new and unexpected threats and plunged into more fast paced, action packed and thrilling adventures, faced with seemingly impossible odds.

The strongest point of this book is character development; not just the main POV-s but the side characters as well. Even though most of them have some sort of powers or similar kick-ass ability, making them look strong and confident, they are also flawed and those flaws are giving them distinctive personalities, fleshing out their fears and insecurities and giving them more depth, making them feel more human.

One thing this book doesn’t lack is unpredictability, there are a lot of game changing plot twists which make this a very entertaining, gripping and compelling read.

Some readers are put off with the simplicity of the narrative but in case of this trilogy, I think it goes hand in hand with the flow of the story and makes it exceedingly addictive and provides an immersive theatrical experience.

This was a pure page turner filled with excitement on every page and plethora of edge of your seat scenes which ended with a bang (pun intended) and delivered a satisfying conclusion. But all good things must come to an end. That is always a bittersweet feeling, leaving the world you have grown accustomed to, saying goodbye to the characters you fell in love with, flipping the pages not wanting to reach the end but there were, alas, none left. Sadly, the time has come to put away the musket and to perform a ceremony of scattering gunpowder in memory of this great trilogy.
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
580 reviews219 followers
July 11, 2017
That was brilliant. Not just this book, but the whole trilogy. I had a great time getting to know these characters and understand the world and magic system behind them. It was refreshing to have a base trilogy to go with, rather than an unending epic. It was also a plus that all three books came out within a year or two of each other. That doesn't always happen...

Yes, there is a new series that just got started in this world, as well as a bunch of prequel novellas. That's fine. I look forward to those but I still felt like this trilogy was self-contained and a satisfactory cycle all on its own. Well done, Mr. McClellan.
Profile Image for Solseit.
350 reviews81 followers
February 22, 2017
5 stars. Great series, great characters, great story.
For a moment I was tempted to give 4.5 stars but this series was my obsession, I could not put it down, I would read rather than sleep so highest marks!
Profile Image for Mr. Matt.
288 reviews82 followers
March 19, 2015
The cannons are silent across Adro. The pall of gunsmoke and spent powder are gone, as are the armies of Kez, the old royalist order, and the corrupt machinations of a mad God. And I kinda sorta don't care, which is very, very sad.

Maybe it was because I had really looked forward to this book. The first two books in the Powder Mage series were off the charts for me. I couldn't wait to see how it all came to a close; however, on reflection I don't think it was anticipation. For me it was the lack of passion. The book was well constructed but utterly devoid of passion.

Here's what I couldn't wrap my mind around. In less than a year's time Adro had been rocked by profound change. Field Marshall Tamas had launched a successful coup. The King and royal family were publicly guillotined - along with tens of thousands of nobles. The royal Cabal of Privileged sorcerers were killed. The power of the church was broken. There was street fighting between reactionary royalists and the revolutionaries. They were invaded by the Powerful, conservative Kez monarchy. And no one really seemed to care!

It is impossible to avoid comparisons to Revolutionary France when reading this series, and if you know your history France at the time was a hive of revolutionary zeal. The French patriots wanted to spread their new order across not just France but all of Europe. The French Revolution ushered in nearly 25 years of war across all of Europe. In McClellan's world everything was neatly wrapped up in less than a year with a freely elected Republican government established. I'm not buying what the author is selling. Most revolutions lead to long periods of conflict as a new order is slowly, grudgingly established.

On the theme of not buying what the author is selling, what the heck is up with Nila? The one time maid servant in a conservative royalist household is suddenly revealed to be a super powerful Privileged Sorceress. She is so strong that she can wield her powers without her gloves. More than that she is able to over-power the strongest mage-breaker Kez could field. Really?! I prefer stories that do not revolve around special or extraordinary powers. I want my stories to focus on normal people (and if there is magic in the world, magic users can be normal) who overcome extraordinary situations.

Profoundly disappointed in the end. In a world of complexity, the book was too clean and too simple. It was also a lost opportunity. I imagine that McClellan could've created a fantastic world of revolution and counter-revolution. Instead, at Tamas' funeral Kings and Queens were present.

Upgraded to three stars out of five based on additional thought.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Bookwraiths.
698 reviews1,066 followers
April 15, 2017
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

Brian McClellan fans! Powder mage lovers–
And everyone else here who is searching for the next great fantasy series to read:
Today, today, you must fall to your knees in thanksgiving.
Bow your head in joyful celebration.
For I have the pride, the privilege, nay, the pleasure
Of announcing before all my fellow bibliophiles that The Autumn Republic is splendid.
Nay, far more than that: spectacular.
A finale which amazes, excites, and, more importantly, leaves nary a dangling plot thread!


When my trembling hands picked up The Autumn Republic,
My desires were that of a simple reader.
I wished to see if Field Marshall Tamas could win his war,
Find a way to defeat not only the Kez but an enraged god.

Next, I craved to read more about my favorite powder mage: Taniel Two-Shot;
Learn more about the mysterious and intense Ka-Poel.
These partners waxing large in my thoughts
As their part in the saga grew by leaps and bounds.

And all those other character, the non-powder mages,
I was concerned for them as well.
Desperate to know would they survive this struggle,
Find peace and, perhaps, a small glimmer of happiness.

These were the hopes, nay, the dreams of my simple mind.
Desires shared by everyone of you fellow Powder Mage lovers.
And this novel fulfilled them all.
Left me spent after a dash for destiny.
And, so, without any more ado,
I give to you the Fiery Finale,
The Begetter of Brilliance,
The Deliverer of Divine Decree,
The One –
The Only –
The Autumn Republic!

Continuing immediately after the events of The Crimson Campaign, Field Marshall Tamas has fought through to his beloved Adro only to find the entire country in turmoil. In the south, the war against the Kez goes poorly; the Adro army divided and close to all out civil war. And, in the capital, the city has fallen to a foreign invader posing as its savior.

To make matters even worse, Tamas’ allies are few: his friends indistinguishable from his enemies. With his son Taniel Two-Shot missing and presumed dead, his only reinforcements weeks away, Tamas must desperately find a way to keep his revolution from absolute destruction!

From this beginning, Brian McClellan uses his now familiar pattern of shifting back and forth between multiple point-of-view characters to tell a fast-paced, excited, and well-rounded story here, one that focuses on all the returning characters, filling in more details about all our favorites and bringing closure to their tales – at least for the moment. Even an old dog like Tamas learns some new tricks in this narrative, seeming to gain insight into life and his relationships with those around him. And McClellan develops these characters without bogging down the narrative in endless details or collapsing it under constant descriptions of insignificant items. Rather, he spends his time exploring and transforming Tamas, Taniel, Adamant, Bo, Nila, and all the rest by subtle introspection, careful conversations, while still delivering blistering battle sequences, action-packed combat, mesmerizing reveals, and concluding it all in final scenes that are painful yet satisfying, harsh yet so very true to the spirit of this tale.

Did I mention those battle scenes? They are among the best I’ve ever read. Brian McClellan able to put a reader down in the line with the Adran soldiers, allow them to experience a running fight with an enraged Privileged, and share the limb freezing terror of facing down an enraged god. They are intense affairs; realistic but not graphic, bloody but not gory. McClellan doing an outstanding job with this aspect of the story.

My only complaint (because, we all know I always have one) is the way McClellan wraps up the Adro Revolution tale. Perhaps it is because I’m a history lover, or maybe it is because of the obvious comparisons between the French Revolution and the Adro Revolution, but I felt this earth shattering event was put to bed too quickly. In reality, the French Revolution caused decades of turmoil and war in Europe; the nobility of the surrounding countries not terribly accepting of this new upstart whose ideas could cause revolutionary zeal to take hold everywhere and destroy even more monarchies. And so I found it a little difficult to accept the way this book ended in that regard. Nope, it didn’t ruin the fun for me, but I had to slap my cynical self a few times to keep him from disrupting my immersion in the story.

The Autumn Republic was a fitting and stunning conclusion to what has become one of my favorite fantasy series, as well as cementing Brian McClellan a place among my favorite fantasy authors. Without a doubt, the whole Powder Mage Trilogy is amazingly original, improved in one way or another every installment, and has turned me into a dedicated fan of flintlock fantasy. The many short stories and novellas the author has published just adding to my expectations for where he will go with this world in the future. And so it should come as no surprise that I recommend . . . nay, I DEMAND (very politely, of course) that you go out and purchase Promise of Blood so you can join in the fun, because if you are a fantasy lover this trilogy is one you cannot miss.
Author 1 book360 followers
February 28, 2017
I don't know, it wasn't the epic conclusion i was expecting.
Sure, it followed in the tracks of the previous two books, but nothing special about it. The whole story could and should fit in 2 books and not 3.
Two positive things from this book. Firstly, Adamat's POVs suddenly got more interesting. Secondly, we have a nice grim finale and not a fricking happy ending. Thank God.

You can find more of my reviews over at http://BookNest.eu/
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,071 reviews2,633 followers
March 21, 2015
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/03/21/5...

The end of the Powder Mage trilogy has finally arrived with The Autumn Republic. I really enjoyed the first two novels, and was very much looking forward to this concluding volume. So did it meet my expectations? All told I’m happy to say that it did, in all the ways that count. Still, I confess I can be quite particular about my series-enders. As much as enjoyed this book, if I’m to be completely honest, I did feel there were a couple areas that fell short.

I can’t deny that Brian McClellan did a wonderful job wrapping things up, though. The Autumn Republic starts the way the previous book The Crimson Campaign ended – with the world in chaos. The capital city of Adro has fallen, and Tamas returns from the field only to find his beloved country occupied by a foreign force. His son Taniel is missing and presumed dead. Without strong leadership, his own army is tearing itself apart from the inside out. And on top of all that, the Kez have not ceased their attacks on Adran territory.

For various reasons, I had hard time getting into this book. Catching up at the beginning of each sequel is never easy for me, and it wasn’t helped by the book’s slower pacing, at least for the first half. I recall I had a similar issue with book two as well. It appears I’m in the minority, but I felt that unlike The Crimson Campaign, things here didn’t hit its stride until well into the second half. That’s not to say I didn’t find the novel interesting; on the contrary, McClellan juggles multiple points-of-view and furthers his characters’ story lines. Tamas has his hands full dealing with angry gods and invading armies. Meanwhile, Inspector Adamat is on a mission to rescue his kidnapped son, and finds himself investigating more cases besides. Bo finds a worthy apprentice in the former servant-turned-Privileged-sorcerer Nila. And Taniel Two-Shot, who is in fact very much alive, is hiding in the hills with his companion Ka-Poel, the two of them on the run from enemies he once thought were his friends.

The scope of the story has expanded, and likewise the number of players. In spite of the many subplots, however, the feeling that we were just biding our time never truly left me. There’s so much going on, but that the ending is the main showpiece here was never in doubt, and many developments felt secondary when I could see that everything was building towards the grand finale. No other chapters made me feel this way more than Adamat’s. His eldest child had been taken from him, and yet his grief is hardly conveyed; after that issue plays itself out, he takes on another investigation and life goes on, almost like the author needed to give him something to do. I liked following his storyline, but its progression and resolution was just unexpected to say the least, especially in light of everything he and his family experienced. It was a bit disappointing, considering how Adamat was my favorite character in Promise of Blood.

That said, other characters were much more convincing. In the last book, Taniel was the one who emerged as the clear favorite as I found him and his story to be the most compelling, but he spends most of the time in this book on the lam. I therefore wondered if it would finally be Tamas’s turn to shine in The Autumn Republic. What actually happened surprised me. The one who really stood out for me this time was not any of the main characters but Nila, the young woman who started off as a secondary character in Promise of Blood, but whose role eventually grew when huge revelations about her were dropped on readers at the end of The Crimson Campaign. She gets a lot more page time in this book, along with her own side plot which I really enjoyed. Her relationship with Bo was one of the major highlights, and I wish it had been given more attention because something special was definitely happening there.

The writing has become more natural and polished over the course of the series, which makes this concluding volume all the more rewarding. I did assert that the ending here was the crown jewel of the book, and McClellan gives it his all, delivering a stunning send-off to the trilogy. He ties up the major loose ends, though I felt there were a few important matters still left unresolved. Ka-Poel’s character immediately comes to mind. Where did she come from? What’s the origin behind her amazing abilities? How did she get mixed up with Taniel in the first place? I’ve been asking these questions since the first book hoping to find answers in this final installment, but I still feel none the wiser. Nila’s transition from humble servant to powerful sorceress also happened way too quickly, and I wish there had been more time spent on her growth, not to mention a better explanation for her immense power that had remained latent for so long.

One thing to keep in mind is that I do tend to be more critical of endings – especially bittersweet ones. I have nothing against bittersweet endings (I love them, in fact) but predictability takes away a lot of the enjoyment. I had guessed correctly how things were going to end for at least a couple of the characters, so that dulled the emotional impact considerably. All told, however, I don’t want to come across too negative, or discourage anyone from picking up these Powder Mage books. They’re totally worth it. Even though McClellan may have missed a few opportunities here and played things a bit too safe, I liked this book and thought it was a worthy conclusion to a fantastic trilogy. My issues with it are minor and hardly deal breakers, especially for a relatively new author who now has a completed epic fantasy trilogy under his belt. I am looking forward to his future writing endeavors with much enthusiasm and interest.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,383 followers
July 25, 2022

This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me

“I would die for my country. But I’d rather kill for it. Ready your troops. We march!”

Promise of Blood ★★★ 3/4
The Crimson Campaign ★★★★ 1/4
The Autumn Republic ★★★★

I always wanted to read this trilogy but avoided it because I thought Flintlock fantasy is something I would not enjoy and the author proved me so wrong. This was different from what I expected in a very good way.

As opposed to most books, the second book in the series was my favorite and it just improved everything in book one. The third book is also better than the first book but the main things I enjoyed in book two were barely in book three which made it less enjoyable.

The writing is great in all three books with many great quotes throughout the series and my favorites has to be the ones in The Autumn Republic which shows that the author’s prose kept developing and it makes me even more excited for his second trilogy.

“Take all that hate and anger and ball it up and put it away. Don’t chew on it—that just makes you bitter. Put it aside and use it as a reminder of why you never want to be helpless again. Take your weakness and make it your strength.”

In the first book there was a slight inclination towards one POV over the others but in the next two books, I think the POVs were balanced very well and although I can’t deny having a favorite POV in each book, they were all well written and intriguing. The best thing about book two is that it just expands the world-building, we get more of the Gods and Ka-Poel gets to shine in the book and she is probably my favorite character despite not saying anything as she is a mute. The third book doesn’t have much of Ka-Poel and the Gods which made me a bit disappointed.

There is focus on politics and war and I think that is very logical when we are talking about a military fantasy series but there were still a lot of great themes in the books with a big focus on families and we get to see that through different lenses which I really liked.

Summary: I think it is a very solid series with an awesome middle book. I thought it will be a bit drier with focus on politics but I think it exceeded my expectations and the characters made it a very interesting read. I enjoyed the magic system very much and I am definitely excited for the second trilogy which I hope to read soon.
Profile Image for Rob.
853 reviews540 followers
August 1, 2016
Executive Summary: A highly satisfactory conclusion to a highly enjoyable series. Easily the best one yet.

Full Review
12 likes and I hadn't even written a word of my review yet, talk about pressure!

I was hovering back and forth between 4 and 5 on this one. I think if I could give it a 4.5 star rating I might. However, the end had me so wrapped up in it, and I enjoyed this book/series so much that I rounded up for a change, something I almost never do.

The reality is I don't have any complaints about this book. The worst I could say is that the pace slows down from fast to normal in a few points. I love the characters, I love the world, I love the magic. The writing continues to improve with each book, as does the character development and world building.

I found the ending very satisfactory, and it's the first book I've read this year I kept being eager to pick back up and hated to set down. For that it deserves one of my coveted 5 stars.

Mr. McClellan still doesn't do a great job with his female characters, but he does a far better job in this book than the previous two. I was pretty indifferent towards Nila in the past books. I know many people I discussed it with didn't like her at all until this book. Her story here is a lot more interesting and I never minded all the POV shifting as I couldn't wait to read what happens next in each of the stories.

If you enjoyed the first two books, I think you'll easily love this one, and should check this one out as soon as you can.

Now I'll have to read some of the short stories to hold me over until to the first book of his next Powder Mage trilogy comes out. Well Done Mr. McClellan!
Profile Image for Conor.
148 reviews315 followers
July 29, 2015
4.5 Stars

The Autumn Republic was an engaging and brilliantly paced ending to a very enjoyable fantasy series. While this wasn't ground-breaking, it was very readable and enjoyable and with it McClellan has once again shown his ability to improve with each major publication. Combined with his high level of productivity (for more on this check out his bazillion (that's only a rough estimate, don't have the time to fact-check) short stories) this makes McClellan undoubtedly one of the most promising emerging authors in the genre.

This book's biggest strength was it's pacing. From the very beginning this book engaged me and almost every chapter ended with a cliffhanger that left the reader wanting to find out what would happen next (reminiscent of the first 3 ASOIAF books but with less characters to stretch the wait) and there were very few parts where my interest waned. This was definitely one of the most readable and engaging books I've read recently.

The character POVs in this one were the same as in the previous books, although this time they overlapped with much greater frequency. This helped to weave plotlines together and was an improvement over the previous books. Tamas' sections were again more focused on tactics as he led a campaign to drive an enemy army off of Adran soil. Unfortunately these parts never matched the tense battle of wits in the first half of book 2 when Tamas' had to lead his massively outnumbered forces out from behind enemy lines, all the while battling against both logistics and the clock. While Tamas' return to his army here was awesome the battle that followed was somewhat disappointing and the climactic siege, while pretty good, didn't live up to the standards of the last book.

Taniel's section were exciting and action packed, especially his pursuit of My only real complaint about Taniel's otherwise quality arc in this book was the lack of screen time for Ka-Poel and the fact that we still don't really know anything about her. I've commented before on whether it would be better for Ka-Poel to remain mysterious but I really hope we get more info about her in a subsequent work by McClellan as she remains (along with Bo) my favourite secondary character.

After 2 books where her sections seemed completely redundant and were a confusingly obvious weak-link in otherwise tightly paced storylines Nila finally became an interesting character in this one. While her rise from normal person to super-powerful mage seemed somewhat rushed it served as a vehicle to put some cool action sequences in her sections and generally make her a more important and interesting character (I did get kind of tired of the amount of times she was seemingly at the mercy of a powerful enemy who then went( paraphrasing): "Lol you don't have any magic gloves. Don't you know you need gloves to do magic in this universe? I mean really you shoul... Oh noooos you're a special snowflake who can do magic without gloves and now you've set me on fire". Nila's interactions with Bo were the highlights of her sections and his presence for the majority of her storyline might be a major reason why it was so enjoyable.

Adamat's section didn't seem as focused as they had in the previous books, with the inspector often put in positions that were outside his area of expertise where he wasn't able to do much. That being said I really enjoyed the parts where he was actually able to investigate stuff. The plotline with his missing son felt kind of glossed over and it would have been interesting to see a more detailed examination of the conflict between his duty to his country and his wife but overall his sections (especially when he was in full investigator flow with his hulking sidekick SouSmith) were really enjoyable.

Overall this was a gripping, brilliantly paced book that finished this series on a very high note. The fact that McClellan has improved with every major publication combined with his massive productivity mean that he's definitely a writer to look out for in the future.
Profile Image for Michael Britt.
171 reviews1,992 followers
September 13, 2017
Actual rating: 3.25 stars. But this is a pretty good 3.25

Ok, I'm gonna keep this short because work has me exhausted. I liked this one more than the first book, but not nearly as much as book 2.

I loved each of the characters, but one of the characters basically getting super powers out of no where was a bit dumb. I liked the character and that character's chapters, but it took away from the story for me. The ending felt really rushed and underwhelming, too.

But I still loved the magic system, the little character development we got, the world building, and the fight scenes.

All-in-all, a great book and a great series, but wasn't too happy with how it was wrapped up. I still would recommend giving this series a go, though!
Profile Image for Phee.
584 reviews58 followers
January 1, 2018
A fantastic way to end 2017, and an absolute corker of a finale.

This wasn’t quite as good as Crimson Campaign but it was one hell of a satisfying ending to a series and world that I have fallen utterly in love with.
Obviously being the last book in the trilogy, I can’t discuss any of the plot without spoiling things so I won’t do that. Just know that the action, the pace and stakes were even higher in this one. So much has happened since Tamas started his coup at the beginning of Promise of Blood. War and destruction has changed the landscape (excuse the pun) and lives of everyone. Gods and magic are at the forefront to this story and as always, power is an imperative currency.
As I said, I won’t talk about the plot. My review will be more about the trilogy as a whole. Just read the damn books okay? Please just read them and love them like I do. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

So. Where the hell do I begin. Well, as I’m writing this review just after I finished the book and my emotions are running high, I guess I’ll start there.
In my previous reviews for these books I’ve explained my love for the characters. Honestly I’m in love with pretty much all of them. Things get very tense in this book, as in, nail biting, screaming and yes, even tears towards the end. This cold heart can cry believe it or not, even when I was expecting the ending. It was bittersweet, it had to end the way it did, it was always going to. But being bittersweet it doesn’t make it easy to swallow. But it was so so satisfying. The sacrifices made were great, many of them were painful and made my chest ache. But the sacrifices were purposeful, none of them were done without reason and in the end it saved many many lives. It didn’t feel like a waste.
I feel like all the characters grew in their own ways and became stronger and more resolved. Taniel especially, really grew up and although he still lets his temper and emotions get the better of him, his morals became firm, especially towards the end.
Adamat was the only character that annoyed me in this one. I felt like his story was a bit boring and definitely wasn’t as exciting as in previous books. Don’t get me wrong it was pivotal, I just wanted to get back to the action with Tamas and Taniel in the war going on. Adamat’s part of the story just wasn’t as exciting until the end then it picked up pace became interesting as it tied in with the rest of the story.
Ka-Poel, while not present for most of this book, had such a big role to play. I love her characterisation, she has so much personality and I think the way Taniel can communicate with her is adorable. It just shows how in sync they are.
I would also like to add that the character Vlora redeemed herself a little for me in this one. I think that after the ending scene with her and another character I can forgive her for actions in the previous books and I can even understand her a little. I know that in the next series in this world she is the main character but I don’t like her enough to warrant reading that series. I like the finality of this series and the closure that it gives. I feel like reading another series in this world will undo the magic that was this book.
Everything wrapped up quite nicely and it would be a shame to ruin that.

Something that this series made me realise was that I actually quite enjoy military fiction. There was so much War and battle in this trilogy, all the planning and tactics was rather well done and very enjoyable for me to read. All the fighting and battles took my breath away. The author has a wonderful way of making you feel like you are in the thick of it. Sure there was lots of very gruesome scenes and plenty of gore. I’m not sure whether this is classed as ‘grimdark’ or just ‘dark’ fantasy. But even the brutality and horrors of the book were written beautifully. I also learned a whole lot about how armies work and logistics and such.

The magic system that the author has created is what really kept me hooked. In this book the Knacked and the Powder Mages aren’t really the main focus. The Privileged are and I must say their magic is badass. It’s more of an elemental magic, with one hand the user can summon the elements with the finger that corresponds to that element, then with their other hand they can direct and control the element how they wish. So long as they have their gloves on.
Well it’s a little more complicated than that but it’s fucking awesome and I want to be a Privileged okay? Especially if I can be friends with Bo. He stole the show again in this one. He is a badass and a complete and utter flirt, what’s not to love?

Something I will admit. For the majority of this book it was a 4 star read. The last 100 pages are what bumped this up. 100 pages to go and I still had no idea how the author was going to resolve all the plots and save the day. It was a lot of wrapping up and resolution to be had but it was done well. It didn’t feel rushed, it felt well thought out and planned. When I look back on the trilogy as a whole, I can see the elements that have been present all the way through, just waiting for the ending for things to be revealed.

I listened to the audiobooks for all the books in the trilogy and read either the paperback or the kindle version alongside. The narrator was excellent really helped bring out the gritty atmosphere. All of the male characters were gruff and burly and all distinguishable from each other, some with different accents. The voices for Tamas and Taniel was similar but it was easy to tell the differences, Taniel was a bit more cool and collected (when he wasn’t angry). Tamas’ was more rough and older and definitely had his military command. I’d recommend the audiobooks as they really helped add atmosphere and depth to the characters and world.

I’m sad that this is over but very satisfied too. It’s hard to find a trilogy that doesn’t have a bad book, it’s hard to find a trilogy that keeps it pace and keeps you engaged throughout. This has got to be one of my favourite trilogies. The characters will have a place in my heart for a long time. As I mentioned earlier, I am not planning on reading the Vlora series. I want to leave the story here, and hopefully revisit it at some point in the future.
Please, just read these books.
Profile Image for Matthew.
381 reviews138 followers
February 10, 2015
The capital has fallen...

Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.

An army divided...

With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son.

All hope rests with one...

And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed...

Review -

The Autumn Republic is the epic conclusion of Brian McClellan's Powder Mage trilogy. And boy, what a conclusion it is! Laced with scintillating action, brutal twists, and an extremely addictive narrative, McClellan has arguably produced his finest work to date with this release. The Autumn Republic opens with the Kez invasion worsening, Adro still under occupation by a foreign army, and Taniel and Tamas still missing and presumed dead. From this starting point The Autumn Republic builds up the tension with every page, as events set up in book two continue to spiral out of control and the situation becomes more dire and dangerous.

There is so much to love about this book. One of McClellan's greatest strengths has always been his ability to write a fast paced and entertaining story. We saw this in Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign, and again it was highlighted in The Autumn Republic. I ripped through this story at such a pace that before I knew it I was finished and feeling like I had just fought ten rounds in a prize fight. Made up of blistering and sprawling battles and insanely action packed moments, The Autumn Republic grabbed hold of me and refused to let go.

The battle scenes and individual fights in The Autumn Republic are also amongst the best I have ever read. McClellan has a real knack (see what I did there!) for writing cracking and immersive battles, and at times throughout this book I literally felt like I was standing in line with the Grenadiers facing down a cavalry charge or snorting a line of powder to go toe to toe with an opponent. You know a book is good when you stare out a window and dreamily picture Adran troops facing down a Black Warden charge!

The character development in this book is also top notch, with McClellan exploring old favourites and new characters in unique and fascinating ways. I loved seeing a different side to Tamas, and I especially adored the growth of Nila and Bo. The insight into how the Privileged live, train, and see the world around them was one of the best parts of this story. Adamat should be mentioned as well, and the twists that plague him as he tries to get to the heart of the mutiny in Adro were also brilliantly written and investigated.

The conclusion to The Autumn Republic was both gut wrenching and moving, and McClellan neatly sews up many different plot threads whilst also leaving some tantalisingly open for the next trilogy (which he has already started!). I was emotionally drained by how things played out, and I will admit to wiping away some tears. My only small criticism would be that I could see what was coming, but that didn't take anything away from how good it was.

All in all The Autumn Republic is a stunning and epic conclusion to one of the most original and unique trilogies I have ever read. McClellan has gotten better with every book and novella, and I am excited for what the future will bring with his next books. The Powder Mage trilogy takes pride of place on my bookshelves, and I would recommend it to anyone with a beating heart and functional mind. If you haven't read any of McClellan's work yet do yourself a favour and go out and purchase Promise of Blood. You won't be disappointed.

5 out of 5 stars... and deservedly so!


A review copy was provided.

121 reviews58 followers
July 11, 2017
4.5 stars.

By far the best of the trilogy, and we FINALLY got a great climax with a satisfying conclusion. Several questions still left unanswered though, and I have one or two complaints about the story as a whole.

These books were really, really good. Not incredible, not mind blowing (for me anyways). But honestly, just straight up good books are very hard to come by nowadays. What makes reading these books even more satisfying to read is that they get progressively better as you go. I can confidently say that this is a trilogy that I will definitely read a second time, and if you know me well, I don't re-read books that often unless I significantly enjoyed them.

BUT. It needs to be said that Brian McClellan ABSOLUTELY SUCKS at writing strong female protagonists. Nila, who plays a major role in this book, was so poorly developed in the first two books that her huge role in the this book almost felt out of place. Vlora, who is the only other female main character, is annoying as heck and I basically hate her. And apparently she is also a main character is McClellan's newest trilogy, which is frustrating as anything because there is literally nothing to like about her. She's whiney and pretentious and not well developed at all.

*Cough* Okay, now that we have that out of the way ;]. This book shined as a brilliant conclusion to this series, in almost every way. Threads that were woven throughout the series were all brought together, the magic systems were more adequately explained, the pacing was perfect, and the characters all had really satisfying resolutions.

The characters in this book are wonderful (except for the aforementioned lack of good female characters), and the relationships between the characters are portrayed realistically without making the plot drag. In my opinion, the characters really carry this book, and they are the reason I kept reading. Combine this with the fact that they were all given really good endings, and this trilogy was so satisfying to finish.

My only complaint is that we are never really given the why behind certain character identities. This is a spoiler, so I'm tagging it, but . If you've read the book, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Kind of a brief, mish-moshed, lame review but I just haven't had a lot of time lately to write =/. Definitely read these books, but just keep in mind that there are a few faults.
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews235 followers
February 22, 2017
Great series and I'm looking forward to the next one starting in the same world. There were some issues I had with the series in terms of why a character would do a certain thing but overall again it was great. Unusual in that the middle book was the best of the series IMO. Books one & three were 4.5* and book two a 5*.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
679 reviews619 followers
April 5, 2020
“I would die for my country. But I’d rather kill for it"

That was awesome, when I started this series I didn't know I would come to love it this much and I'm glad I did.

This series changed my idea of flintock fantasy, what made this better was the magic system, it has three different kind of magic in this.

1. The powder mage which the series was named after, they can control gun powder and make it explode, they rarely miss when they shoot their guns, their magic was explained explicitly.
2. The privileged, their magic was finally explained in this book, they draw power from the Else, its a whole different dimension, the powers are usually elemental.
3. Ka Poel's magic which is still somewhat confusing, the character that has this magic is mute and don't have a POV which I think is so unfair. The few parts that were explained was kind of like blood and vodoo magic.

The world building is amazing, I like it, same goes for the writing.

“After the adrenaline had worn off and medals had been awarded and the glory meted out, only the suffering remained after a battle.”

The only character I didn't really like was Adamat, his POV made it hard to like him. Tamas is such a genius, that battle plan was one of a kind. Taniel is still my favourite, his character is just the best, his and Ka Poel's relationship is the best in this book. Nila wasn't so bad, Bo is awesome, I like that he doesn't pretend to be a good person.

The events in this book took place immediately where the previous ended, Taniel is on a rescue mission, Tamas is taking his army back to Adran and Adamat is investigating as usual.
Profile Image for Terry.
366 reviews78 followers
August 11, 2019
I’m finishing this trilogy with the same rating for book 3 that I gave to books 1 and 2, 4.5/5.0 stars. I was hooked on this series from the start, and that carried through until the end of the last one. For me, I just felt that there was a uniqueness to this series that felt right. In other words, it felt real. Book 3 picks up right after book 2 and works through to resolve what was set up in books 1 and 2 pretty well. Is the resolution perfect? No. I can think of a couple of things I wish would have gone another way, but I think those things did not ruin anything for me. I loved these characters! I’m going to miss them. They were my emotional connection to this one more than the plot. I’m looking forward to reading all of the novellas associated with this trilogy, and then moving on to the next series by Mr. McClellan.
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