A while back last year we celebrated the launch of our new website. We gave away some lovely Kindle Paperwhites. This time we’ve ...Read more
Yeah I know this is Best Fantasy Books but this next month it really is about Sci-fi. SF is not my first love but I wish I had more time to ...Read more
A while back last year we celebrated the launch of our new website. We gave away some lovely Kindle Paperwhites. This time we’ve upgraded the forums and are in the process of making it even more awesome than it is now.
To celebrate our new forums, we’d like to give away 2x Amazon Vouchers valued at $25 each. There are three ways to share (you only have to do one).
1) Like our Facebook page and SHARE our giveaway post
3) If you have neither, then just post a comment under this post! (and maybe share it word of mouth ^_^) (Oh and email me at email@example.com so I have your details if you win)
The competition starts when this post starts and ends Wednesday 22nd of May 2013 at 11.59pm (PST).
It is open to everyone around the world.
Yeah I know this is Best Fantasy Books but this next month it really is about Sci-fi. SF is not my first love but I wish I had more time to read them. Dune, Ender’s Game and Tuf Voyaging are right up there with my favourite books. If you haven’t experienced the splendor of SF before and you love fantasy, then I would deeply suggest you put up Dune. Don’t worry about all the sequels. If that’s too heavy, go for Ender’s Game. However there is one fantasy heavyweight in there. Anyways…without further ado:
Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey is the third book in the Expanse series. It has had many positive reviews for the first two books and I actually own them (TBR pile). Ben (site owner) says The Expanse series is the best space opera of the last decade, and usually what he says is gold. The Expanse is series starts with a space ice mining crew who find a derelict ship. The ship holds a secret that many people want and are willing to kill for. Jim Holden a humble ice miner needs to find answers fast.
Cold Steel by Kate Elliot is the final book in the Spiritwalker Trilogy.
A series about two young girls, Cat and Bee, at the height of the industrial era. Ignorant of magic they become fully aware of it when a Cold Mage come to take Cat away.
From him she learns frightening things about the mortal and spirit worlds and nothing is the same again.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. It has been a long time coming since Gaiman has written an adult’s novel. Anansi Boys was written in 2005 and it has been a long wait. I looks very short at 192 pages but having read Anansi Boys, Neverwhere and American Gods, I know that he can cram a lot in. I’ve got a review copy coming in soon and really look forward to it. You should too.
The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.
This is the follow up to The Long Earth which has had mixed reviews, from lavishing praise to head scratching.
About a series of parallel “Earths” it starts off with two characters from different times.
1916: the Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where has the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No Man’s Land gone?
2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive (some said mad, others dangerous) scientist when she finds a curious gadget – a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a…potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way Mankind views his world for ever. And that is an understatement if ever there was one…
Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. This is the story of 100 years before Ender’s Game. What happened when the aliens invaded Earth. How did we mobilize to defend ourselves and how the legend of Mazer Rackham was born. This book seems like it will be a great taste with the release of Ender’s Game the Movie in November. If you haven’t read Ender’s Game before then you need to. Yes it is Sci-fi, but it is great.
The City by Stella Gemmell. The City was once a great metropolis but as the city grew the more corrupt it became. The once mighty emperor (who must be old now) is no where to be seen. Is he just a puppet? A former outcast long thought to be dead is about to lead a rebellion, but rebellion will cost them more than they can afford?
The wife of the late David Gemmell tries her hand at writing solo. When David died, she ghost wrote last last book of his Troy Trilogy: The Fall of Kings. While I could see her hand in that book it really doesn’t show me how she herself would write. I’m sure being in the shadow of her husband would have taught her many things and I eagerly await this. If she is anything like David, then this will be a fantastic book.
Out of sheer luck I picked a review copy of Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan. I hadn’t heard of the author before and I didn’t know anything about the book. I was a bit skeptical at the beginning, as it was a trilogy (all the rage these days). It wasn’t until about 80 pages in that I found out that Brian was a student of Brandon Sanderson. No wonder the writing was so smooth.
Promise of Blood starts off with a coup against King Manhouch. Mission impossible it seemed but Tamas had a lot of allies, he needed them as Manhouch had his Royal Cabal, a group of highly skilled Privileged (sorcerers) to protect him. Tamas with the help from his cabal of Powder Mages (those able to manipulate gun powder with thoughts) is able to defeat and capture Manhouch. With the dying breath of each Privileged they utter the words “You can’t break Kresimir’s Promise.” Unsettled, he hires investigator Adamat to track down the meaning; what did this have to do with the god Kresimir?
This book was pretty exciting. I mean I love Brandon Sanderson but I liked this book before I even knew he had taught Brian McClellan. It’s exciting because it reads and flows just like Mistborn: The Final Empire does (which I loved). It has some new magic systems, the story moves forward at a fast past and it has good character interactions.
The story revolves around 3 major characters:
Field Marshall Tamas: He is the coup leader, a powder mage and a father. His plate is quite full. He has to worry about royalists within his country, he has to worry about keeping the peace with other countries in the nine and he has to fight his own personal demons. Not letting his own prejudice and subjectivity get in the way of making the right choices for his country and its people.
Taniel Two-Shot: the best shot in the Nine and the most powerful Powder Mage along side Tamas. He is called Two-Shot because he can kill two people with a single shot. He has daddy issues which skews his decision making. Do right by himself or his estranged father, Field Marshall Tamas? His first job is to hunt down a Privileged who escaped the coup with the help of a MageBreaker and a reckless, hot headed Privilege, both not of his choosing.
Adamat: ex-military who is now an investigator. He is in debt after a failed business and takes as many jobs as he can get. Yet working for Tamas will put himself and his family in danger. Can he do his job without ticking too many people off?
Promise of Blood also has 3 different types of magic systems.
Privileged: Mages who draw magic from the “else” using gloves with runes on them. A subset of Privileged is MageBreakers. They are sorcerers who give up the ability to draw magic from the “else” instead, they act like a neutralizer of the area, preventing Privileged from either drawing the magic and it can prevent magic from hurting them or others close by.
Powder Mages: Are able to to manipulate gun powder by either igniting it within a certain distance or change the direction of bullets. What makes them even more powerful though is that they can sniff gunpowder which enchances all their senses and strengthens their bodies.
Knack: Ordinary people who have one extraordinary ability. It could be having amazing eye sight, not needing to sleep etc.
All three types of magic users also have the third eye, which means when they use this vision, they can see other magic users. They perceive them as having a glow (this very much reminds be of Dresden Files).
Now, I’m sure I’m not going to be the only one drawing parallels to Mistborn and Sanderson, but there are many. The story while starts off with the coup, it is essentially what Mistborn is about, killing the Lord Ruler. The magic I don’t think is original, but it is a twist of what the magic systems Mistborn has. Knacks are essentially Mistings without the limitations of the 8 abilities from Mistborn. Powder Mages are essentially Mistborn with ‘pewter’ strength, ‘tin’ senses and ‘steel’ push abilities combined in one. Privileged are a twist on normal magicians from other books.
Now, perhaps you are thinking I’m being a bit harsh and thinking he’s not original, but that’s not the case here. Nothing is truly original, but if you change it enough it does become your own. Brian has managed to change enough. Unlike a Mistborn, his magic users actually have limitations, they aren’t all powerful (I’ll let you find out their limitations). One of my problems with a lot of books/superheroes is that they are all powerful and you know they’ll get out of any situation, it’s just a matter of how. So knowing they were powerful but flawed kept me guessing at every turn of events.
Another great aspect of the book is that McClellan’s characters are very real. They have real problems and they act like real people would in their situations. This is probably one area I think that Brian McClellan excels more than Brandon Sanderson. The love interactions were built up and not thrust upon us. The rage and the insecurities all add up to real human qualities which I think is a good thing.
So why should you read this book?
In depth and real characters
Complex story lines
The romance in here doesn’t feel forced
Balanced magic system
While the “cliffhanger” at the end of Promise of Blood had a bit to be desired, I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of this trilogy whenever it may come. I think those who liked Mistborn will like this book and I think those who didn’t think kindly of Mistborn, this book might fix some of those issues.
“Brian McClellan might be the best new author of this decade.” – Jon Snow from Best Fantasy Books
Thanks to Hachette NZ for providing the book to be reviewed.
May 12, 2013
Help us celebrate our new forums!
May 3, 2013
Upcoming Books in June
May 1, 2013
Review: Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
April 28, 2013
Axis of Awesome: Rage of Thrones
Jon Snow : Thanks! I stumbled onto this purely by accident. Serendipito
Odesseus : Just finished this book. It was a good read. Cheers for doin
Jon Snow : Hi Brian Sign up to our forums www.bestfantasybooks.com/for
Briangc : Hi, how do i go about joining the book club?
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