I have to admit, when I read the book's description I was a bit unsure about it, but I read it for the Fantasy Fanatics
group read for May. I have to say though, I really thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm so glad I read it.The Age of Kings is dead... And I have killed it.
Field Marshal Tamas has just successfully pulled off a coup against the King of Adro and the nobility, sending these aristocrats to the guillotine whilst giving food to the poor. But now he must deal with Royalists who seek to restore the monarchy, his fellow co-conspirators who are all out for themselves and stop the other Nine nations from invading in order to create the Adro he wants. Tamas recruits a retired investigator Adamat to investigate the dying words of the King's Cabal of powerful mages: "You can't break Kresimir's Promise". Tamas must also rely on his estranged son, the skilled powder mage and soldier Taniel "Two-Shot" in the months following the coup, to hunt a Priviledged mage who escaped after the coup. But there is more at work than even Tamas can anticipate, and the coup was just the beginning...
Like I said at the beginning, I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book when I started but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book starts off where most books end, with Tamas's coup against the monarchy, and that alone I found really interesting as its an area most stories don't really cover.
I thought the magic system, particularly the powder mages magic, was really interesting and wasn't something I'd really read about before or considered much. I did feel though that parts of the magic system weren't fully explained by the author and so it confused me at times, and I wish McClellan had found a way to explain it a bit more.
Speaking of, McClellan's way of story telling was quite immersive, as he didn't stop to explain every single detail or aspect of the world and let the reader figure a lot of it out on their own which I liked, but there were times I wish he had explained things a little more.
The characters were really good and well rounded which I liked, although I did find it difficult to relate or really like the characters themselves initially. Tamas particularly I found it hard to like initially, although I could understand why he was doing what he was doing and he was the main catalyst for a lot of the drama and action that occured in the book, but I did find myself liking him a lot more from about halfway through the novel. Adamat I found it really hard to relate to throughout, and whilst his storyline was quite revelatory and important I did find myself a bit bored by his sections. Taniel on the other hand is the main 'hero' of the novel in my eyes, and I found him the most likeable of the characters, along with his 'sidekick' Ka-Poel. I also really liked Tamas's bodyguard Olem who is introduced fairly early on and has quite a dry sense of humour, Bo who is an old friend of Taniel's who meet a lot later on, and Mihali who is a skilled Chef with a mysterious past. They were all quite varied and well rounded characters.
Overall, I thought this was a really great book and will definately be one of my favourites this year. The action just continues to pick up and escalate throughout the novel and now I just cannot wait to read the next book! I just hope I don't have to wait too long!