Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ka-Sedial and the Dynize Empire are on the cusp of creating a new god. Vlora, Ben Styke, Michel Bravis, and many others go to extremes to prevent that from happening.
Blood of Empire was largely what I expected from the conclusion of the Gods of Blood and Power series. Lots of intrigue and battles. I was hoping to see if Brian McClellan had something more or truly unexpected in store for this book, but he unfortunately didn't. Blood of Empire is the first book in the Powder Mage universe that I got from the library rather than buying since Promise of Blood and I did end up buying Promise of Blood later on.
My challenge with this series compared to the novellas and the Powder Mage trilogy is I haven't found someone to truly route for. I've somewhat enjoyed Ben Styke, but he doesn't fill my desire for a lead character. I'm more indifferent to Vlora and Michel although I have to admit, they really came alive for me in this final installment. Ben, Vlora, and Michel all face significant personal trials in this book. They grow from them in a truly organic sense becoming more human by the page. This was a huge shift for me when it came to Vlora and Michel because they were largely forgettable in the prior two books.
In a lot of ways the entire Gods of Blood and Power series felt like a sequel to the Powder Mage trilogy. Unfortunately not in a good way. A lot of the aspects felt copied from the original series despite being in a new location and having some different abilities. I did enjoy it, but just not as much as the first series.
As far as Blood of Empire specifically goes, it's pretty even with it's predecessors in this series. It's a good book, but not one I imagine finding myself desiring to revisit. On top of lacking a truly compelling lead, the book lacks a compelling villain. The story describes Ka-Sedial being incredibly evil, but he's seen so rarely that he's more of a looming danger than an active villain.
Blood of Empire was a solid conclusion to the Gods of Blood and Power trilogy.
3.5 out of 5 stars
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