Sins of Empire – Brian McClellan

About the Book

An epic new fantasy series from Brian McClellan, set in the same world as his wildly popular Powder Mage trilogy.

The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place – a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of a suppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.

The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with wile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.

As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.

624 pages (hardcover)
Published on March 7, 2017
Published by Orbit
Author’s website
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This book was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sins of Empire is the second book by Brian McClellan that I’ve read, however, it’s been a while since I’ve read the other book so I really count this as my first experience with the author. I wasn’t sure how well it would work for me. I don’t remember much about the first book (not because it’s bad, but because of cancer I generally don’t remember much unless it’s life altering).

Sins of Empire is the start of a new series, but it’s in the same world, after the events of his first series (if I’m picking up on that correctly). As a person who remembers almost nothing about the first book of his other series, I’m pleased to announce that I really had no problems getting into this one. However, after I read this book I went to the library and picked up all of his other books, and I can say that fans of McClellan will run into a lot of familiar faces, which probably makes this book incredibly enjoyable for them.

One of the things I love about McClellan is how well he develops his world. I really have a thing for books that deal with the intricacies of clashing cultures, and McClellan’s world is full of that stuff, from prejudice, to misunderstandings, to certain quarters of the city being home to certain peoples. It’s quite well done, and it also helps instill a sense of culture and a larger world than is really tackled in this book.

McClellan also does a great job with pacing. There’s never a dull moment, or a chapter where something important isn’t happening. Every bit of this book seems to be full of something that needs to be absorbed by the reader in order for future events to build on it. This is true for both the plot and the character development.

In a lot of ways, this book is a mystery, and it unfolds just about perfectly. There is some blood in this book, and some characters that stood out to me more than others. The mystery is quite intricate, and the way that McClellan treats it is kind of like the snowball effect. It starts small, but by the end of the book you have this huge thing going on that impacts so many different lives.

The writing is superb, and McClellan does a great job at making each character their own independent person with their own unique voice. That is also true with the secondary characters. Sometimes in books with multiple perspectives, each character sort of ends up sounding like all the other characters, but that’s absolutely not a problem here.

This is both a blood book, and an addicting one. McClellan knows how to write. His magic system is unique, the mystery is absorbing, and the plot ended up being absolutely gigantic. His characters are well developed, with their own voices and their own unique personalities. Fans of McClellan’s work will run across old favorites here, and revisiting them will probably really thrill some people. Aside from that, however, Sins of Empire is just a really damn good book, and a very powerful, entertaining, addicting start to a new series.

4/5 stars


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