Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Crimson Campaign

The Crimson Campaign (The Powder Mage, #2)The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tamas is lost behind enemy lines and presumed dead. Taniel Two-Shot is wasting his life away in mala dens. And Adamat is hunting for his missing wife. Not only that, Kresimir lives and is looking for the man who shot him in the eye...

So yeah. This was pretty great. As much as I loved the first volume, Promise of Blood, this book slightly surpassed it.

The Crimson Campaign is everything the second book in a trilogy should be. The danger is ramped up to 11 and beyond, the characters continue to evolve, and the principles find themselves in even greater danger by the end of the book.

From the early goings, The Crimson Campaign grabs the reader by the short and curlies and won't let go. Tamas soon finds himself on the run from the Kez army with a comparatively small force. Taniel, once he emerges from his mala haze, finds himself opposed by his own army. Adamat takes a tremendous beating in the course of finding his missing family.

Brian McClellan is a cheeky little hamster. The shifts in viewpoint come at the perfect dramatic times, forcing me to read well past my bedtime and compelling me to forego housework as well. Hell, it Tamas showed up on my doorstep, I'd leave my white collar life behind and ride with him to hell and back.

For me, one of the measures of a good writer is to make me care about something I previously considered mind-meltingly boring. P.G. Wodehouse did it with golf and Brian McClellan did it here with military tactics. While we're told Tamas is a military genius, this book and the previous one do a phenomenal job showing him in action.

I know I've been gushing but I still don't feel like I've done this book justice. It deliviers the goods on all levels: action, intrigue, character development, even a bit of humor. Not only that, the books are coming out in timely fashion. In these days, it's rare to wrap up a fantasy trilogy in a decade and it looks like McClellan is going to do three books in three years.

The Crimson Campaign. Go buy it! Five out of five stars.

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