Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1) (2024)


731 reviews51.8k followers

December 11, 2019

That was amazing. So glad I ended up giving this a go. What an explosive return to McClellan’s beloved Powder Mage universe.

It’s been two years since I finished reading the Powder Mage trilogy. Honestly, I felt satisfied with the ending I got in The Autumn Republic that I thought I would’ve been fine with not reading the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy. Thankfully, so many reviews and word-of-mouth have spread throughout the years, and they convinced me that this trilogy is even better than the first one. And it’s highly probable that they will be proven right. Just from the experience of reading this book, I know I would’ve made a grave mistake if I didn’t continue. I’ll go as far as saying that Sins of Empire alone is better than the first trilogy already.

Sins of Empire is the first book in Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy by Brian McClellan, and the story takes place ten years after the end of The Autumn Republic. A few things to mention first, if you haven’t read Powder Mage trilogy, I’m sure you can read this book and technically understand everything that’s going on in the progression of the main story, I do however think that it’s quite mandatory to read the previous trilogy first. You would be missing a lot of the nuances and background behind the names, events, and characters from the previous trilogy that enhanced the quality of the book. Please take some time to read the Powder Mage trilogy first, and if you’re super committed, read The Mad Lancers and Ghosts of the Tristan Basin novella as well to get more out of this book. IF you’ve read the Powder Mage and it has been a while since you’ve read the series, don’t worry about feeling lost; McClellan did a wonderful job in reminding the key points from the first trilogy that’s necessary to the main story here.

That being said, Sins of Empire comprises of a new storyline. Taking place in the city of Landfall of Fatrasta nation, both returning and new characters are in charge of driving the narrative. McClellan is mostly known for his capability to write a fast-paced story with unputdownable action scenes, and I do agree with them, but I personally think that his characterizations of the characters here—especially the new characters—should be taken into account as well. The narrative is told from the perspective of three main characters: Vlora Flint, Michel, and Ben Styke.

As some of you may recall, Vlora is a character from the previous trilogy, and she’s now the leader of Riflejack Mercenary Company. I’m honestly not a huge fan of Vlora in the Powder Mage trilogy, that’s why it’s good to see that McClellan succeeded in making her characterizations more believable and empathizing now. I also loved reading about Michel, he’s a fascinating character, and his investigations were compelling to read. And then we have Mad Ben Styke, my personal favorite character from the book. What can I say about this character without going into full essay mode? He’s the Logen Ninefinger of this series. A berserker with an immaculate talent for killing, and seeing him rampage was pure entertainment. But it’s not all about brute strength. What made Ben Styke more interesting as one of the main characters was the contrast we see on his characterizations that were shown in his genuine affection for his Mad Lancers and Celine—a child he met during his time in prison that he ends up caring.

“Food, in my experience, is one of the few things that can cement a good friendship between strangers.”

I found myself caring and feeling invested by the new main characters so much more quickly than before. The way the three main characters' stories intersect with each other was just superbly done. In the previous trilogy, Taniel, Ka-poel, and Bo were the only three characters that I ended up caring; they totally stole the highlight of the trilogy for me. In Sins of Empire, none of the characters were boring to read. Both familiar faces and new characters were engaging, distinctive, and equally crucial in telling a story that’s surprisingly full of twists and turns. I loved reading about all the characters, and I can’t wait to find out more about their journey in the next book.

Contrary to McClellan’s usual thoroughly fast-paced storytelling style, Sins of Empire was mostly a slow burn with occasional deadly skirmish implanted; McClellan prioritized characterizations first, and it made me loved the book even more. However, McClellan’s staple action sequences that combine magic, guns, and this time, the charge of The Mad Lancers detonated with much impact in the final section of the novel. I’m not joking; the last 120 pages were so gripping that I ended up reading through them in one sitting. Seeing the Privileged unleash fire and lightning, the Powder Mage detonating powder to create a barrage of explosions, and the vicious charge of the Mad Lancers was just a delight for imagination. I’ve read many fantasy books, not a lot of authors can write battle scenes on breakneck pacing as good as McClellan, and to think that he only seems to get better and better at this!

“Styke's people were outnumbered two to one. The Dynize, he decided, should have brought more men.”

The strongly positive vibes I found in Sanderson’s storytelling style in Mistborn trilogy—which I loved immensely—was evident in Sins of Empire. McClellan successfully combined tense politics, intriguing mystery, accessible prose, bloody actions, and a new cast of great characters into one package. Everything in Sins of Empire worked impressively towards creating a furiously immersive and vivid reading experience; the first book in Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy is an incredible return to the Powder Mage universe. Without a doubt, I’ll be diving into the sequel, Wrath of Empire, immediately.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

3,604 reviews10.8k followers

March 19, 2020

Just as good the second time around, if not better. I also recommend this on Audio!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

    audio fantasy-all own

Petros Triantafyllou

Author1 book369 followers

April 29, 2017

Sins of Empire is, undoubtedly, the undisputed high point of McClellan's career so far.

Colonel Ben Styke, a decorated war hero of the Fatrastan's war for independence, has been convicted and imprisoned for the past ten years as a war criminal.
Silver Rose Michel Brevis, a governmental spy of Fatrasta, is tasked with the duties of a detective, a job with a required set of skills that he doesn't possess.
Lady Vlora Flint, a General and co-owner of a mercenary company called 'Rifle Jackets', is under contract with the Governor of Fatrasta.
None of them knows each other, and their lives are set on paths that aren't meant to cross. At least not until a professor locates and excavates an ancient artifact of the utmost importance; a legendary Godstone. What, you will ask me, is a goddamn Godstone? Well, what does it sound like it is?

Robson turned to find that the old professor had caugh up.
"Priviled," Cressel wheezed. "What's happening? Are you all right?"
"Yes, yes, I'm fine." Robson waved him off and began striding back toward the camp. Cressel fell in beside him.
"But, sir, you look like you've seen a ghost!"
Robson considered the brief vision, his brow furrowing as he let it hand in his mind for a few moments. "No," he sad. "Not a ghost. I've seen God."

A couple of months ago I discussed with a friend about the success of Brian's first trilogy, and whether he can follow up on it or not, with Gods of Blood and Powder. Brian's talent was of course unmistakable, but I didn't think possible that he could once more create characters as powerful as Taniel and/or Tamas. Starting the book, I thought I was right. I was disappointed to find Vlora with a POV (a character I had disliked from the first trilogy), and Michel seemed like a poor imitation of Adamat. Guess what - Never in my life have I been so wrong. All main protagonists, including Ben Styke, proved to be some of the most complex and compelling characters I've ever had the joy to read about.

Sins of Empire is set in the same universe as the first trilogy, but in a different continent and time period (approximately ten years after the events of Powder Mage). McClellan was very careful with the re-introducing of the world and magic system, allowing new readers to fully comprehend the various machinations, and keeping his old fans interested without boring them with unnecessary repetitions.

The plot is intriguing and mind-capturing from the very first pages (the prologue, to be exact). The prose is smooth as silk, and the narrative unfolds at a quick pace. All in all, Sins of Empire is one of the best examples of modern fantasy fiction, and the start of a new trilogy whose success is already ensured.

Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller

759 reviews1,384 followers

November 19, 2019

So damn good! McClellan is now definitely among my conservative list of favorite authors, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me next!

Just like the entirety of the Powder Mage Trilogy, Sins of Empire absorbed me completely from start to finish. It’s a slow-burn story that built beautifully to a snowball ending that had me on the edge of my seat!

External conflicts aside, the true beauty of this author is his ability to develop characters. They feel like real people, which might be the magic X-factor that pushes books over the edge into “phenomenal” for me. These characters have so much depth, and he doesn’t even bother telling you outright some of their quirks and tendencies, but chooses instead to reveal them casually so you can make your own assumptions. It’s brilliant. But what’s even more impressive to me, and what makes these stories so damn good, is how these amazing characters relate to one another. The bonds between them are magic. And because of that, every single scene has meaning and relatability. Of all the novels I’ve read, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it done better. Add to that situational humor that delights me to no end, and we have a winner.

After finishing the book, I checked out a bunch of other reviews and was surprised to discover how many people don’t like Vlora (not as a side character, not as a main character, not in a house, not with a mouse). I guess I can understand to a degree their objections, because she’s a little more understated (not underdeveloped, imo) than the other characters in the series. But… that’s kind of what I liked most about her. She has this calm, unfaltering conviction that I loved seeing played out in different situations. I like that she’s had to put personal needs and wants aside to maintain her high-ranking position, but she still has a few soft spots that come out during more vulnerable moments (which I personally found the most endearing). And I love that her success is often based on the good relationships she builds with others. So, zero objections here on that front – I’m excited to see where her story goes next.

Recommendations: It is truly few and far between that a book can hook me as wonderfully as this one did, and I’m grateful it’s only the first book of a continuation trilogy. I don’t hand out 5 starts very often anymore these days (perhaps 2 or 3 per year), so take this as an endorsem*nt of a series I really stand behind as a solid recommendation. Start with Promise of Blood (which incidentally got one of my precious 5-stars last year). Amazing characters, great story, good magic system, brilliant writing… all the things! :)

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at

Other books you might like:


698 reviews1,093 followers

April 21, 2017

Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

Flintlock fans! Powder pundits–
And all lovers of spellbinding stories of magic and mayhem:
Today, today, you are redeemed from boredom,
Set free from the doldrums of reading despair.
For that most adroit of authors, Brian of McClellan,
Has fired off the opening salvo of another fantasy series.
Challenged all comers to brave his newest creation.

Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1) (10)

From the beginning, Sins of Empire is a dazzling delight,
Spun from the same enchanted stuff as The Powder Mage Trilogy,
Set in a new local, overflowing with compelling characters,
And filled with excitement, and action aplenty.
Every page a challenge, every plot a delectable morsel.

Yet for all its untouched virgin splendor,
Sins of Empire does not forget its powder mage progenitor.
Old characters reappearing from the beginning,
Entangled in new webs of manipulation and mystery
But just as beloved and enthralling as ever.

But this time the way forward is fraught with more peril, more uncertainty,
For there is no bold Tamas to lead the way.
Our heroes older, tasked with control, and forced to rise to the occasion.
Their wits tested by the web of deceit they must untangle,
The formidable forces they must face down.

And so, without any further grandiose pretensions by myself,
I give to you the Opening Book of Excellence,
The Bequeather of Beloved Characters,
The Proverbial Powder Mage Progeny
The One –
The Only –
Sins of Empire!

Beginning approximately ten years after the events in The Autumn Republic, Sins of Empire is set upon a new continent and built upon the back of the Fatrastan Revolution (as so wonderfully portrayed in the novella Ghosts of the Tristan Basin). The young nation having quickly become an economic power, guided toward the future by the authority regime of Chancellor Lindet and her secret police, aptly dubbed the Blackhats.

But things are not quite as rosy as they seem. A growing rift between the native Palo tribesmen and the Fatrastan colonists brewing into near rebellion. A mysterious leader, known only as Mama Palo, controlling the simmering insurrection, who, supposedly, is hiding in the dangerous confines of the Palo slums of the capital city of Landfall; a place where even the feared Blackhats are not welcomed. Enter the Riflejack mercenaries.

Commanded by Vlora a.k.a. Lady Flint (a name familiar to fans of the original Powder Mage Trilogy), these crack troops find themselves in the employ of Chancellor Lindet, battling Palo rebels in the hinterlands of the continent until they are recalled to the capital. All hell about to break loose there; Lady Flint’s tasked with hunting down Mama Palo. A mission that the one time revolutionary Vlora finds unpalatable.

Unwillingly wrapped up in this same situation is a high level Blackhat named Michel Bravis; his assignment to be the Riflejack handler as cover for his real job of rooting out a revolutionary cell which is distributing anti-government pamphlets. This task made more compelling by his superior’s brutal reputation of rewarding failure with death or lose of status, the latter nearly worse than the former to a Blackhat.

Then there is Mad Ben Styke, commander of the Mad Lancers, hero of the Fatrastan Revolution, proudly named one of the founders of the country . . . now a convicted war criminal. This giant of a man having spent the last ten years of his life in a harsh labor camp after surviving execution by firing squad. But, when it seems he has no hope left, a mysterious lawyer appears, promising freedom in exchange for the completion of a simple task.

And looming mysteriously over them all is the legendary Godstone. An unwitting professor having unearthed it in the lands around Landfall. Its power without doubt; its importance overwhelming; it’s part of the story revealed only gradually.

Shifting back and forth between Vlora, Michel Bravis, and Ben Styke, Brian McClellan slowly builds this narrative, very carefully by creatively re-introducing the powder mage world, its magic, and its returning characters; the steady pace giving new readers time to acclimate themselves while still quickly immersing them in an intriguing set of plots. All of it driven forward by the unique, compelling, and jaded characters. The returning veterans of the series initially shining the brightest before being eclipsed (at least, in my eyes) by one of the newcomers.

The person I am referring to is Mad Ben Styke. This hulking killer already garnering my immediate attention because of his portrayal in Ghosts of the Tristan Basin (which fans of the Powder Mage Trilogy need to read). Here he is a much more well-rounded character, showing serious complexity for his nature, unexpected tenderness and compassion, as well as unbridled viciousness when necessary. Can’t wait to see where Brian McClellan takes him from this beginning.

Coming in a close second to Mad Ben is Vlora a.k.a. Lady Flint, whom I admit was never a favorite of mine in the original trilogy. (No, she did not have a fair chance to shine back then, since she was forever labeled due to her actions toward her fiance, but be that as it may, she wasn’t very interesting either.) Now, however, she is a much more well-rounded character; her drive, her stubbornness, and her abilities better understood and explored.

And last but not least is Michel Bravis, who I found quite odd at first (He was constantly having conversations and arguments with himself out loud.), but whose development and interesting plot turned him into far more than merely a carbon copy of Inspector Adamant.

I will also add there is a surprise character in the mix whom I really enjoyed, but will not talk about further. This individual gradually assuming a central role in the story, and I dearly hope this person does not disappear in the sequels.

That brings up the other triumph of Sins of Empire: the suspense and revelations. No one and nothing is what it appears here. Brian McClellan pulling the rug out from under his readers time after time. Each seeming revelations suspect, as yet another piece of the puzzle falls into place. Certainly, there were a few surprises which I guessed, but, overall, the author kept me glued to the pages, as he stunned me with momentous revelations after momentous revelation. Each building toward the epic conclusion at the end.

And what a conclusion it is. No powder mage novel would be complete without some rousing battle scenes, because Brian McClellan is so gifted at choreographing them, writing them in a coherent way, that they have become trademarks of his books. And the last few chapters of Sins of Empire are dominated by familiar, flintlock fighting and more than a little powder mage magic. It is cool, satisfying, and fun beyond measure.

As for criticisms . . . Are you really asking me that? I mean, how often do I give a book 5 stars? You know it isn’t very often. And this book got 5 stars, so that means the criticisms I have are so minuscule as to be non-existent.

With a fast paced narrative, compelling characters, a cool magic system, a diverse world and an epic conclusion, Sins of Empire is a flintlock fantasy completed to perfection. This novel showcasing the silky smooth talent of Brian McClellan in crafting an epic fantasy which long time fans and new comers can both enjoy and love. Without a doubt, it is my frontrunner for Best Fantasy of 2017, start of a new series which will certainly surpass the original if this opening installment is any harbinger of things to come. Highly recommended!

    fantasy own


209 reviews153 followers

December 12, 2019

"No one else's suffering is ever as acute as your own."

What a fantastic read! I didn't know if Brian McClellan would be able to pull it off again. I absolutely loved The Powder Mage trilogy. So, the bar was set pretty high in my mind when starting this new trilogy Gods of Blood and Powder. But, McClellan didn't disappoint. The characters, world building, and writing were all top notch.

The story has a diverse cast of characters. There are a few familiar characters from the original trilogy mixed in with a variety of new faces. McClellan does a great job of keeping it simple with only 3 main POV's. There is Lady Vlora Flint, general of the Riflejack mercenary company, Michel Bravis, a spy in the secret police know as the Black Hats, and Mad Ben Styke, a convicted war hero from the Fatrastan revolution. All of the story ARC's were tightly written, and each one has there own unique personality and background. I do have to add that Mad Ben Styke is one of my favorite characters I have come across in a long time. His multidimensional persona was a big highlight of the book for me.

The world building is very detailed and thorough. The maps at the front of the book help out a great deal. McClellan is very good at describing specific locations in his writing and the maps comes in handy for this. It is easy to visualize these places through his writing, but the maps really help to enhance the experience since most of the action takes place in the city of Landfall.

I enjoyed the entire book, but my favorite part was of course the final act. McClellan writes his battle scenes like a maestro conducting an orchestra. Ferocious, efficient, and with enough detail to make the reader smell the powder smoke of artillery and feel the pounding of a cavalry charge. Sorcery, swordplay, small and large arms combat; it's all there.

Sins of Empire is a must read for all fantasy lovers. Be sure to read The Powder Mage trilogy and the novellas before diving into this though. It will definitely enhance the experience.

Actual Rating: 5 stars *****

    favorites flintlock-fantasy
January 18, 2020

The re-read is as beautiful - it not more - than the first read. The book is full of interesting characters, one more interesting than the other. Some of old favorites and some new favorites just make their way through the story in a continuous change of pace and events, twists and turns and dynamic story, just in Brian McClellan's style.
If you have not started this series yet (and you have read The Powder Mage trilogy), this is a great story to begin and be brought in a new world with known magic system and dynamics!

I quickly went through the book and I loved every single line.
The characters - new and old - are just extremely interesting. The story is a constant fast paced surprise that will keep you entertained and rooting for your favorite character.
The underlining events and the world building improved from the Powder Mage trilogy possibly because I already was aware of the world itself so McClellan only needed to add on top of the already great basis!
Just an amazing book!


2,127 reviews2,682 followers

September 21, 2017

4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

As you know, I’m quite a fan of Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy, and so I was thrilled when I discovered he was planning to write a new series called Gods of Blood and Powder set in the same universe. Sins of Empire is a return to this world of magic and war, taking place approximately ten years after the end of The Autumn Republic. While the main cast may contain a few familiar faces, this novel is in fact a new story taking place in a new setting, so whether you are an old fan looking to dive back into the world or a newcomer contemplating this as a possible place to jump on board, this book is accessible to all. (However, a small caveat: if you haven’t completed the Powder Mage trilogy yet and do intend to at some point, keep in mind Sins of Empire may contain some spoilers especially for how that series ends.)

The story begins by depositing us in Fatrasta, a relatively young nation that recently gained independence through a violent, bloody war. Still, despite its turbulent political landscape, the country is booming—travelers from all walks of life are flocking to its borders looking for new opportunities, from criminals feeling prosecution from their nations of origin to intrepid settlers that see this new land as fresh start for their families. Then there are the mercenaries, come to Fatrasta to enjoy the patronage of Chancellor Lindet who governs her land with an iron fist. Among them are the Riflejack army, led by Lady Vlora Flint and her partner Colonel Olem, veterans of the Adro Revolution which took place a decade ago. When an insurrection threatens to destabilize Fatrasta even further, Vlora and Olem are called back to the capital city of Landfall to help put down the rebellion and root out its leader, a mysterious rebel known as Mama Palo.

Meanwhile in a high security labor camp, a convicted war hero who helped win Fatrasta her independence fails to make parole. Angry and demoralized, Ben Styke is just about to accept that he will never taste freedom again when a strange visitor claiming to be a lawyer shows up and makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Somewhere else, an ambitious spy named Michel Bravis receives a dangerous assignment to track down the individual or groups responsible for printing and distributing an anti-government publication called “Sins of Empire”. Even though he feels woefully unqualified for such detective work, Michel has no choice but to accept the mission. After all, this may be the path to earn him the promotion he’s always wanted…though on the other hand, failure could mean much more than his downfall.

Together, these separate threads make up the story of Sins of Empire. In classic epic fantasy fashion, we follow and bounce around between the perspectives as the narrative builds, until all the plot lines converge. Those who have read the Powder Mage books will already be familiar with Vlora who was a supporting character in the original trilogy, but now it’s her chance to be a main protagonist in her own right. I must confess, it was a real treat for me to catch up with her again. Thinking back to when Promise of Blood first came out, one criticism I had of the book involved the underutilization of the female character POVs, and even when compared to Nila and Ka-poel, Vlora received relatively little attention. Oh, how the tables have turned now. Despite the popularity of Ka-poel, it is Vlora who I’ve always had a soft spot for, and it was a joy to watch her take charge and shine bright in this series opener.

Credit must also go to newcomers Ben Styke and Michel Bravis, since they too helped make Sins of Empire a strong introduction. While neither of their stories are as interesting to me as Vlora’s at this point, the good news is I can easily see their roles expanding beyond what they are now with future books, and hopefully in time they will become more than just “violent brute with a heart of gold” and “neurotic spy” respectively. However, it’s important to note as well that both their sections provided a bit of mystery to this novel, adding to the suspense as little by little the characters uncover more secrets behind the rebellion in Falastra, not to mention a few shocking revelations. I loved the unexpected twists and game-changing surprises, and I have no doubt these will also be greatly appreciated by other Powder Mage fans!

In addition, the author has clearly learned a lot from completing his debut trilogy. Sins of Empire is solidly written, and as the first book of a series, I feel the plot is also more compelling and better constructed compared to Promise of Blood. All in all it is a great introductory volume, accomplishing its goal of setting up a strong foundation, at once familiar but also different enough from the original trilogy that I find myself excited to see where McClellan will take us next. The ending teases much more to come, and I can’t wait for more answers in the sequel.

    arcs-and-galleys epic fantasy


278 reviews235 followers

November 21, 2017

Okay, main character of this series is Vlora, right? Vlora Flint, right?
Same no-POV, misread, misunderstood, shallowly developed Vlora Flint from Powder Mage series that everyone complained about?
Well, that’s the problem.
New series, new world, new timeline – same Vlora Flint.

And why am I more invested in characters like Ben Styke? Michel Whatever-His-Surname-Actually-Was?
Mr. Tampo and Mama Palo? Oh, don’t get me started on Mr. Tampo and Mama Palo, characters which were singlehandedly responsible for higher score this book - with its boring and repetitive plot in which their unengaged protagonists, antagonists and side characters are yawning-contagious dull company of humdrums - undeservedly gets.
But no, due to spoilers, I cannot say anything about Mr. Tampo and Mama Palo, and the reasons why they save this book from deathly monotony on one hand while suffocating and undermining this books main protagonist (that’s Vlora Flint for you, and yes, I need to repeat that once in a while, since author didn’t seemed to bother enough doing exactly that in his own book!) on the other one.

I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get this out of my system any time soon and I want to move on, so I’ll be very brief.

Good things:
Great worldbuilding added on the previous one.
Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1) (15)
Magic System is still the same, nothing to fix there.
Prose is better and it will make you fly through the book.
Bad things:
I think I made myself clear enough.

To summarize:
Most interesting part of the story was in prologue and epilogue. And with characters that simply weren’t nearly enough interesting to follow, let alone bond with, this book simply isn’t good enough and it doesn’t stand up to those same standards Brian himself set in his previous trilogy.
Shot and missed on this one. His first.


148 reviews335 followers


January 4, 2017

The start of the new series from one of my favorite fantasy authors and the only returning character announced is my least favorite character from the previous series. Cool, cool. And now it seems that Vlora is even going to be one of the major characters. Cool. Great. Even more Vlora. I'm not mad at all. At all.

Seriously though I'm looking forward to this series. The Powder Mage was one of my favorite fantasy series in recent years (with the added bonus of being delivered on time without any extensions to the trilogy along the way but also making really good use of short novellas to fill in the world) and McClellan is one of the authors I'm most looking forward to seeing knew stuff from.

Scott Hitchco*ck

788 reviews235 followers

April 22, 2017

Although a second trilogy it's a continuation of many of the same characters as the first. The new characters that are introduced however are very engaging and overshadow Vlora who I just cannot warm to. She just doesn't have the depth and charm a lot of the other characters.

The first 80% is mystery and intrigue. The last 20% the battle we've been expecting. The cloak and dagger was entertaining. Round up to a 4* but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first series.

    2017-published-and-read flintlock-fantasy

Geek Furioso

99 reviews3,378 followers

September 29, 2019

Brian McClellan nunca decepciona. Nunca.

Recordad eso cuando le tengamos traducido al español. Algún día.


    awesome-magic awesome-world criminal-fantasy

Kitty G Books

1,600 reviews2,972 followers

August 8, 2018

I picked this book up on audio and I am really very glad I did so as I have previously tried the Powder Mage series by this author and although it had promise it didn't really feel as developed as I wanted it too (probably because it was a debut series)...However, this series is set in the same world, following on from the events of the previous series, but it can be read as a series on its own. I only read book 1 in the Powder Mage series before starting this one, and it all made sense to me and felt like a fleshed out series. Sometimes I think authors just need a bit of time to find their footing with a world or series, and I think that is certainly the case here as McClellan's second series appealed far more and had a lot to like.

This book starts off following quite a few different characters. Each one is working for the Empire in some way, but they all have their own missions and work for different parts of it.
We have:
- Lady Vlora Flint - A young woman in charge of a group of mercenaries and hired on to find the leader of the rival group in the Depths. She is a feisty character with a lot of likeable qualities from her leadership skills through to her compassion, her desire to keep her men safe, and her cunning. I definitely found that of all the characters she was the one I enjoyed from the start, and I like her partner and her other crew members too.
- Mama Paelos (spelling may be incorrect as I audio-booked this) - The leader of the rebels and someone who is looking to start a rebellion, but no one quite knows who she really is...
- Mad Ben Styke - A criminal of war who is locked up in jail at the start of the book with little hope for Bail. He was put there by people who wanted to see his name forgotten, and many think he is dead outside of the prison, but there are still whispers about him on the outside as he infamously fought in the wars.
- Michel - A Spy and double-agent who is trying hard to infiltrate the Blackcats and earn a Gold rose which will give him access to some of the most secret parts of the Empire. He is determined not to fail his mission, but there are some seriously high stakes to play with.
- Tampo - A man in the shadows and a puppet-master of sorts. Someone who knows an awful lot more than they initially let on.

I really enjoyed getting to know each of the characters, and seeing how they interacted as the story developed. There is a lot to like about each one - the sign of a good story - so all the parts felt like they were entertaining and I found I could relate and connect with each character.

I definitely think the world and magic of the world is interesting. We have the Dragon-men, we have Blood magic and Sorcery, Powder mages and more. Lots of this magic is just a part of the story so you have to just accept and learn as you go (unless you've read the first series) but I still really liked it and would say it's got a lot of potential. There's also some pretty big artefacts with magical potential and these could be a big part in future books.

On the whole, a book that I definitely enjoyed despite being unfamiliar with the ending of the previous series. I do imagine this one will spoil that series as it brings back some characters who you will have seen in the first series, but it's still well worth reading and you do not need to have read that to get this series. 4*s from me :)


1,129 reviews359 followers

July 14, 2017

Fatrasta is a nation at conflict with itself. It subjugates a people group and their desire for equality. The Lady Chancellor uses not only her secret police the Blackhats, but also employs the Riflejack Mercenary Company led by Lady Vlora Flint. Fatrasta has also buried it's heroes who helped win them freedom, most notably Ben Styke. Styke has spent 10 years rotting in a Fatrastan labor camp. Fatrasta's problems may be worse than they initially feared, as a long silent threat appears to have returned along with an object best left buried.

I have to say before I even begin that I was worried I wouldn't like Sins of Empire or the new series. My reason being is that Field Marshal Tamas was far and away my favorite character in the Powder Mage trilogy. I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the storytelling with him gone, especially as my other favorites Bo and Ka-poel were no where to be seen. Even worse the only character mentioned returning from the original trilogy was Vlora, who I didn't care for.

As Sins of Empire began my worries seemed more reasonable as the story largely resembled Promise of Blood. The story has a mysterious man causing trouble in Gregious Tampo. Tampo seemed largely similar to Vetas from the intital trilogy. It also has a spy investigating in blackhat Michel Bravis, who was similar to Inspector Adamat. Around the halfway point in the novel, I have to admit I had no idea what I was in for. Brian McClellan borrowed some familiar elements, but they didnt lead to the same results at all.

Sins of Empire is a massive story with many moving parts and various characters. In many ways it's a mystery as multiple investigations are going on that play massive parts in the story being told. I didn't particularly love any one character, but the book played out as a true ensemble cast.

Any reader who came to enjoy Brian McClellan's Powder Mage trilogy owes it to themselves to read Sins of Empire. It was a strong start to a new trilogy.

William Gwynne

410 reviews2,227 followers

November 24, 2019

My extended review is now on BookNest!
BookNest review

Sins of Empire is set around a decade after the ending of the previous series and takes place on the continent of Fatrasta, with most of the story being contained within the huge city Landfall.

The book is told from three POVs:

General Vlora Flint, the leader of the famous mercenary company called the ‘Rifle Jackets’ is a powerful and renowned Powder Mage. She is working for the Governor of Fatrasta and her task is to crush any chance of a united rebellion from the Palo by catching their mysterious leader.

Mad Ben Styke, a former member of the legendary ‘Mad Lancers’ and a decorated war hero after the Fatrastan war for independence. He has since been convicted as a war criminal and has been imprisoned for the last decade within a labour camp.

Michel Brevis, a member of the ‘Blackhats’ who are the police and spies for the government in Fatrasta. He is surprised when he is summoned and given the tasks of a detective for his toughest job yet.

I loved the plot of each POV. For me it was a perfect mix of action and intrigue, where it was nearly impossible to guess the next stage to the story. There are a multitude of fantastic twists and shocking events. Brian McClellan gives the reader a fabulous insight to the culture of the city of Landfall and I absolutely loved it.

A fantastic read with great characters and an intriguing plot. I recommend this book highly :).

    fantasy reviewed


1,123 reviews1,503 followers

October 16, 2023

“But there were some wounds you could ask an old soldier about and others you had to wait for him to tell.”

Ever since I finished The Powder Mage trilogy, I have been contemplating reading the sequel series. For some reason, I was satisfied with what I got from this world and did not want to ruin the experience by reading something not as good. Sins of Empire actually surprised me in a good way by having the same quality as the first series.

The story follows three main characters: Lady Vlora who we met in the first trilogy but is now a mercenary leader. Then we have Ben Styke who was the most interesting and is mad as hell yet have another side which is softer -relatively in his case- and then Michel Bravis who is a spy and his POV involves mostly an investigation part.

The writing is as good as the first trilogy. I felt the pacing was good leaning to fast and most of the chapters end in an interesting way leaving you interested in all the point of views. The story itself is a bit different from the prequels and has less action. But still, we have the interesting elements from before including the Gods and the magic which the author tries to remind us of in hints here and there and I love that. You can actually tell from the prologue alone that it is going to be a good story.

Summary: This is a very nice addition to the Powder Mage world, and it held my attention from the prologue alone. The alternating characters who cross each other's paths somehow, the writing and the characters all worked very well for me.

    2023-reads adult-books e-books

Deborah Obida

686 reviews672 followers

January 10, 2023

It’s as good as the other Power Mage series.


    adult fantasy review-to-come


466 reviews406 followers

May 11, 2018

I tried reading Promise of Blood a few years ago, and although I finished, it didn’t leave any lasting impression on me and I didn’t continue on with the series. From what I remember, it had all the elements I’m usually intrigued by, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t land for me. So, when I heard that this series was better than the first I decided to pick it up, and I’m really happy I did. Giving a second chance to authors who didn’t suit you the first time around is a good habit to get into – I’ve found a lot of books I’ve loved by just trying again.

I listened to this on audiobook and the names are somewhat strange, so the spelling probably isn’t going to be correct. The audiobook is fantastic by the way, so any audiophiles out there should def check out the audio if the review sounds good to you.

The book starts out with a mysterious artefact being discovered, it’s a giant monolith that has been unearthed and the crew in charge of the dig called in the authorities to take a look at it. There’s a mysterious madness that’s dampening the excitement of finding this new archaeological treasure – the workers and anyone who spends an inordinate amount of time around this object loses their minds and goes insane. As such, only a skeleton crew of disposable people are working on uncovering the artefact, and the entire endeavour is being kept hush-hush. There’s an ancient language written on it that no one is familiar with, and it’s known to belong to a race of people who have retreated off the continent and are mostly an isolated race of people who no longer venture off of their lands.

Now, I thought at the beginning that the whole story was going to be about this mysterious object, what it does, where it came from, who built it, and all of that – but the object was barely mentioned after the first chapter until about 70-80% through the book when it came up as a major plot point in a looming war.

What the book was mostly about is reconstruction and tense interactions with different classes of citizens after a civil war. Since I didn’t read the first trilogy, I assume the war they’re referring to in this book was the war that took place in the last series. There’s talk about a man named Tanniel – which I do remember being a character from the first book. So, if you haven’t read the Promise of Blood and it’s sequels, and don’t like spoilers, I would recommend reading that series first. I didn’t mind learning about Tanniels success’s, defeats and ultimate fate because I don’t plan on reading the first series, but I undoubtedly would have known more about the world and it’s characters if I had.

There’s a lot of tension between the defeated Palo citizens and the upper-class Fadrastian class that won the last civil uprising. The Palo have been pushed down so far that they’re living in a giant crater and they’ve constructed a vertical city within the crater that was honestly my favorite part of the book. There’s a web of politics that all of the characters get caught up in. Pamphlets are being distributed all over the city and they contain inflammatory language about the ruling class, and it’s creating a fair amount of dissent in the general population. Mercenaries are called in by the ruling class to try and keep the peace, while also hired to track down Mama Palo, the supposed leader of this new rebellion. There are spies sent to spy on the spies, there’s underworld crime, magical items looming in the background, as well as disgraced and forgotten war heros trying to make a come back. There’s so much going on in this book it’s hard to summarize.

The characters were really endearing, I got attached to all of them which is a huge plus, and what I think was missing for me in Promise of Blood. Perhaps I read it in the wrong mood, and as I’m writing this review I’m beginning to change my mind on reading the first series haha.

Glora Flint is the leader of the mercenaries hired to come in and root out the leader of the Palo rebellion. She’s not a cutthroat despite being called Flint for her steely nature – she cares a lot about her men and wants to keep them safe and as happy as she can. She’s not pleased at all with the job she was hired to do, it keeps getting bigger and more dangerous as time ticks on. She regrets getting herself involved and is trying to find a peaceful resolution to everything and get her people out of there as quickly as possible. She commands her men to be honorable and keeps a rigid set of rules; absolutely no stealing (not even from corpses), no raiding citizens homes, no raping, no undue bloodshed. She takes a lot of pride in the fact that her men are disciplined, well trained, and for the most part well behaved for a group of mercenaries.

Mikel is a spy working for the government, he’s also been hired to try and root out who the dissenters are and keep them silent. He has a dual personality, he’s always talking to or arguing with himself over something. He has a strained relationship with his mom, she’s running herself poor buying too many penny novels and strongly disapproves of her son’s involvement with the government. She’s a tough character who isn’t afraid to give her son sh*t if she thinks he deserves it, but it could also ruin Mikel if she’s overheard saying some of the treasonous things she likes to rant about. He’s desperate to work his way to the top of the government, and will stop at almost nothing to do it – but his alternate persona comes into play later and mixes things up a bit.

Stykes is a forgotten war hero who’s lived in a slave labor camp for nearly a decade. He’s had a long record of good behavior, and is hoping that his parole hearing will turn out in his favor. However, the parole hearing goes very, very badly – but he still manages to get out with the help of a mysterious “lawyer” who pays for Stykes release. The lawyer comes into play with all of the characters, and it’s interesting to watch them try and figure out who he is and what he really wants. Stykes eventually ends up in the employ of Glora Flint and is trying to help her men navigate through the city without being killed, as well as help Glora flush out Mama Palo.

The worldbuilding was really fantastic, the highlight for me was the mega-slum that the Palo made for themselves. The Depths is a vertical city that’s an “ecosystem unto itself”, there are palaces as well as slums, doctors, weavers, soldiers – everything you can imagine is found in The Depths. It’s a winding city with so many narrow allies, zigzagging passages, and houses that all look similar that it’s easy to get lost. Once you’re far down in The Depths the sun doesn’t reach the bottom, and the only light is artificially produced, it makes for a very creepy atmosphere.

Knacks are different magical abilities that can range from not needing sleep, to really good hearing, to super speed/strength. Knacks aren’t uncommon, and the different knacks aren’t equal in power, some are rather mundane. There are also powder mages that can use gunpowder as a drug that enhances their abilities, a mage can snort some powder and be able to see the crew of a ship running around on the deck while standing on the shore.

The Dioneyes are the race of people that left the continent many centuries ago and haven’t come back, they’ve left behind a number of artefacts, and with each new artefact, the people of Fatrasta become more and more knowledgeable about magic and sorcery.

The writing really gets out of the way of the story, McClellan was a student of Brandon Sanderson and in some ways, it really shows. The prose is utilitarian more than flowery, but it really speeds up the storytelling, especially during action scenes. There are some curses that are used, but f*ck has been substituted for “pit”. As always, this is grating to me but I liked the story and the characters enough to ignore it. Although he’s a student of Sanderson, I would describe McClellan as a better character writer. These characters were much less predictable because they were more grey than noble bright – although not the kind of grey Abercrombie writes. A light grey, if you will.

I crushed this book in 2 days despite it being a longer book, I think it’s somewhere in the 500 page range. I was just so fascinated by how everything was going down that I just kept listening 8 hours a day to the audio. I think the pacing is pretty well done, where there isn’t action to create a tense atmosphere, there are plot points that keep you interested – and vice versa.

As far as originality, I’ve seen a lot of flintlock military stuff before, but I really enjoyed that this was post-war not during it (at least for most of the book). I like when authors tackle the harder bits about what happens after that huge epic war that everyone likes reading about. It’s harder to pin down how a society will function during a reconstruction period and I consider it a big bite to chew if the author decides to try writing a story like that. As I’ve said before, I really liked The Depths, it was a very original take on a slum, and it really set the mood for the chapters where it was featured.

I really, really liked this book, and I’ve already read the sequel which I got through Netgalley – that review will be coming up soon!


For people who like:

female pov
low romance
post war reconstruction
class warfare
Plot: 13.5/15

Characters: 13/15

World Building: 13.5/15

Writing: 12/15

Pacing: 12/15

Originality: 12/15

Personal Enjoyment: 9/10

Final Score: 85/100


95 reviews39 followers

December 20, 2019

At long last I returned to my beloved world of the powdermages. The first trilogy was and still are my favorite saga and I wondered sometimes if the magic can ignited again. The answer is yes.
The second trilogy takes place ten years after the events of the first trilogy and in Fastrata a former Kez’s colony. If you had read the short stories you know that Fastrata is now free from Kez but alas after a independence war , the country is under a civil war. The native people called Palo are fighting against the yoke of the Kresian. I can add that unfortunately the Fastratan have just switch their tyran because their lady chancellor and her secret police rule ruthlessly the country.
We have three POV Vlora Flint which I find realize herself in this story fully.
Michel Bravis a member of the secret police and therefore help us to find out about the gears of the black hats.
And more for my pleasure Mad Ben Styke which after the glimpses in the short stories we have to know more about him. Clearly he was my favorite character and like everyone else I find too that he reminds me of Logen nine fingers.
Sins of Empire is an outstanding return from Brian McClellan and something tells me that he has more surprises under his hat.


140 reviews34 followers

March 15, 2017

Update after the re-read: It holds up! I didn't want to say much about a certain character(s) before it came out, but I feel like I can say a bit now. I'm really happy with how Brian treated them. I liked their arc in the other stuff he's written, and I'm happy they get such a prominent spot in this series. I think it's really great to show flaws in characters, and it's easy to see how the flaws from someone's history really impact their character in this book in a positive way. They're guarded in their personal life and cynical in their professional one (a mercenary company is such a great fit!) and it makes for a fun POV to read. I'm a big fan, especially after this book.


I was super lucky to get an advanced copy of Brian McCellan's new Powder Mage book. SUPER lucky. I LOVED the book. I just went back and read through the notes I took when I read the book (since it's been a bit), and it just made me excited to re-read it when it gets released!

There are a lot of new things in this new series. There's a new setting, new characters, and a new style of plot - this isn't just a rehash of the first trilogy with new names and places. Even with all of the new-ness, though, everything felt so comfortable. Maybe I'm just a huge fanboy (true) but all of the new stuff was so exciting and introduced so well, that I didn't find myself "missing" Adro or certain characters at all. Not that I don't like all of the first trilogy stuff as much -- I just didn't have time to think back and compare too much.

Anyways, here's what you can expect:

Awesome Action Scenes. I mean, if you've read anything by Brian McClellan before, then you kind of know what you're in for. He writes some really great action/fight sequences, and there are plenty here too.

Likeable Characters. Mad Ben Styke is an instant favorite. He's in the novella Ghosts of the Tristan Basin. Read it. Also, another main character, Michel, is super. He's quirky and interesting and really well-written. You'll get it when you read it. He's great.

Intrigue. I think Brian McClellan is just a better writer at this point. He's got some really good twists, a subtle hand at hints and teases along the way, and I think he balances characters' actions with motivations really well. The plot here is definitely different than the stuff that happened in Adro, and it's got a lot of good direction heading into the rest of the trilogy.

I don't think I can recommend this enough. I've recommended the Powder Mage trilogy to pretty much everyone I know that reads fantasy (and a bunch of people who don't), and I can't see that stopping. It's my favorite current series (I guess technically this is a different series...what's the plural form of series?).

I'll definitely be re-reading it in March when it comes out.

    2016-reads 2017-reads fantasy


3,090 reviews

November 23, 2017


I read this earlier in the year and wasnt overly fond of it. I gave it a 2nd read after a friend pestered me to read it again, and for some reason it changed my view. 10 years have passed and we enter a new city with some new characters and some old characters from the original trilogy who had smaller bit roles.Great action, pacing was fun, characters were not as strong as the 1st trilogy, but still likeable. Perfect setup/intrigue for the 1st 3/4 and a great climatic battle in the last 1/4. I did feel like the plot was a little simplistic relative to the original trilogy but it still was fun. I guess I must not have been in the right state of mind when I originally read this, because in re reading, its 100% changed my mind. Cant wait for book 2 although I guess book 2 and 3 will deal with separate godstones.

Nils | nilsreviewsit

362 reviews604 followers

November 14, 2018

‘The smell of the dead, the wind in his hair, the blood on his steel: it made him feel vibrant and alive like nothing in the world had ever done for him.’
Sins of Empire is the first instalment of the Gods of Blood and Powder series by Brian McClellan. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know how much I love The Powder Mage trilogy, so you can imagine my anticipation in reading this novel which is set in the same world. I’m delighted to tell you that this book was an absolute pleasure to read!
Sins of Empire is set in the nation of Fatrasta, where there is much unrest between the Palo civilisation and the Kressians. When an ancient power is uncovered, events escalate and the fate of mankind rests in the hands of some unlikely heroes.
The plot moves at a fairly slow pace, McClellan steadily builds up the intrigue and continuously keeps you guessing as to what is really going on beneath the surface. This was something I really enjoyed as there was a sense of it building towards something monumental.
As I found with the first trilogy, McClellan is excellent at creating fantastic memorable characters. All the characters within Sins of Empire were heavily flawed, and felt very realistic.
My favourites were Mad Ben Stykes and Vlora. Stykes was an instant favourite for me, I’ve found that I’m always drawn to veteran soldiers with a legendary reputation, especially ones that are slightly crazy! Stykes was perfect! He was definitely feared by many but he had so much heart. I love the way McClellan portrays father figures in his books, and to see the way Stykes would care for the orphan Celine, really was heartwarming.
Vlora was a recurring character from the first series, she was one I wasn’t actually keen on, but in this book she became a favourite! She was an effective leader, who wasn’t afraid to take risks as long as the ultimate outcome was little bloodshed. I just loved her!
Lastly I have to mention that Sins of Empire has an absolutely epic ending! I spent an entire afternoon glued to the book because it was so action packed and exciting, I just couldn’t put it down. There was definitely plenty of the muskets and mayhem that always draws me to McClellan’s writing.


377 reviews88 followers

June 21, 2017

I must confess that this read has proved to be more enjoyable and interesting than its prequel trilogy Powder Mage.

It wouldn't be far from the truth to describe Sins of Empire as a recycled version of its prequels, but mostly in a good way: the narrative is still consistent and enjoyable while the action is fast-paced.

However, the new characters are definitely the highlight of this novel. I've become really attached to them to the point of preparing myself to go on a manhunt if McClellan killed them.
One of them is Michel Bravis aka Gollum who is a spy with more than few identities but rather troubled family life and heritage.
Then there is Mad Ben Styke, once a war hero but now only a gentle and crippled convicted war criminal.
I liked Fidelis Jes in a role of villain, I thought his character was a nice blend of arrogance and cruelty.
Even Lindet as a cold-blooded politician showed a glimpse into what might be a really interesting and layered character.

What made me really appreciate this book and look forward to the sequel is the plot twists. There were two of them that really blew me away because I did not see them coming. And trust me when I say that I'm rarely surprised these days so these twists boosted up my interest in the series.

Sins of Empire is more about political schemes and native tribesmen vs. colonists than magic and I liked that. The new continent of Fatrasta is now considered an economic nation but when you scratch under its powerful surface you realize that its birth can be contributed to the thousands of deaths of natives. Fatrasta also relies on its labor camps where not only criminals end up as slaves but also children and anyone who rebels against the government. It does ring the bells, doesn't it?

The scariest part of the Fatrasta is its huge pit called the Greenfire Depths, the slum where the Palo, natives and other marginalized groups are forced to reside. It sounds like a reservation, but it creeped me out because the pictures of Babi Yar were popping out in my mind, who knows why (I'll looking at you The White Hotel, stop giving me nightmares already!!)

I criticized The Autumn Republic for undeveloped female characters and plot holes; the same downsides can be applied to Sins of Empire.
Vlora is the focal point of this book but she remains the same (even after a decade) - whiny, bitchy, and stubborn. I hate her even more for f*cking around my beloved Olem but still refusing to lower her guard and settle with him. Instead she just lashes out at him but never leaves his side. And after a decade she is still bitching about that scandal with Taniel! Come on!
The same could be said for

I wonder if might join the gang in the sequels? I think that would be interesting.

4 "enjoyable but not perfect" stars!

    epic-fantasy fav-covers favourites


863 reviews574 followers

March 20, 2017

Executive Summary: An excellent start to a new trilogy in Brian McClellan's Power Mage series. This one is a lot more political than the previous series was, which may be why I think this may be his best book yet.

Audiobook: I got Promise of Blood in ebook for cheap, so I stuck to that format for the rest of the series. Now I wish I had gone audiobook instead. Christian Rodska is absolutely fantastic. He doesn't attempt to do any feminine voices, which is probably a smart move on his part, but his male voices are all fantastic. I especially like the voice he used for Ben Styke.

Full Review
I hesitated for about half a second on giving this 4.5 stars instead of 5, but then I remembered how I spent like 10 minutes staring at a wall to get in "just one more chapter". The books you hate to put down and look forward to picking up, are always the deciding factor for me between 4 and 5 stars.

If I had one complaint about the original Powder Mage series, it was that the rather intriguing female characters were mostly relegated to supporting cast. This was especially true for Vlora Flint.

This book picks up about 10 years after the events of The Autumn Republic, and finds Vlora and many of her countryman working as mercenaries for the nation of Fatrasta. I was really happy to see Olem again. He was one of my favorites of the original series.

I haven't read any of the shorter works set in this world, but this book finally gave Vlora some character development I would have liked to see in the last series.

In addition to Vlora we're introduced to two new characters who are both natives of Fatrasta. The first Michel Bravis works as a spy for the secret police. He did not start off very likable to me, though his story was always interesting.

Ben Styke on the other hand was instantly a favorite, albeit a bit of a trope with the grizzled war hero/turned anti-hero. I thought all three stories started out immediately interesting and converged quite nicely by the end of this book.

I personally don't enjoy military fiction as much as I do political fiction. There was certainly a lot of politics in the original series, but it definitely felt more like an action/military series more than anything. There was a ton of action with the occasional political intrigue mixed in to move the action along.

This book seemed to be the opposite. Much of it was heavy on the politics of Fatrasta, and the role of our three POVs within it. But fear not, the excellent action/battle scenes of the previous series are still quite present, albeit to a lesser degree in the previous series.

I'll be curious to see if that trend keeps up with the next book, or if he'll be ratcheting up the action once again. Either way, I'm very eager to get my hands on it. Brian McClellan has quickly become one of my favorite authors, and this book did not disappoint.

    audio-book author-male fantasy

Skylar Phelps

242 reviews33 followers

February 14, 2019

These Powder Mage books just keep getting better.

I have zero complaints and I’m enjoying the ride! One thing I really enjoy about Brian McClellan’s books is that there is always plenty of intrigue. There are always plans within plans within plans and the POVs are showcased in a way that really maximizes the suspense and keeps you guessing.

Wonderful characters, unique world, and very talented storytelling. You really can’t go wrong with these books.


279 reviews44 followers

March 5, 2017

I find that I’m having trouble finding words eloquent enough to describe how much I loved Sins of Empire. I adored McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy and getting to return to this world and catch up with familiar characters is one of the most satisfying feelings ever. Sins of Empire is set about 10 years after the events of the Powder Mage trilogy and rather than being set in The Nine, we get to more broadly explore the nation of Fatrasta.

Those of you already familiar with McClellan’s books may recall that Fatrasta was mentioned several times as the place where Taniel Two-Shot earned his name and where he met Ka-poel, the Dynize bone-eye. Ten years later, the city of Landfall is a bustling urban center, international trade is booming, and Lady Chancellor Lindet is trying to crush the uprising of the native Palo people. Crushing a guerrilla-style uprising is a perfect job for the Riflejack mercenary company, headed by Lady Vlora Flint and Colonel Olem. Sound familiar? I shrieked with delight at the prospect of seeing these two in action once again, but now as leads instead of secondary characters.

Sins of Empire is told from three major angles: Lady Vlora Flint of the Riflejacks, Michel Bravis of the Lady Chancellor’s Blackhats, and Mad Ben Styke, formerly of the Mad Lancers. Vlora has an additional decade of military experience, plus a reputation from the Adran-Kez war, both of which have hardened her further. Michel Bravis is an intelligence agent at the Silver Rose level, meaning he’s not far from the top. When he’s assigned as liaison to the Riflejacks and given the additional task of tracking down the person behind the theft of several Iron Rose pins and the author of a seditious pamphlet he gets in deep. Bravis has secrets of his own, tucked safely away in the corner of his mind and his hunt brings the truth of his goals to the forefront once again. Mad Ben Styke is a bull of a man and not easily killed, thus the reason he’s been in a labor camp since the defeat of the Kez in Fatrasta. Styke and his ward Celine are freed after a hefty bribe from one Gregious Tampo, who assigns Styke to join the Riflejacks and protect Vlora until further notice.

The characters are ridiculously well-written and a few chapters in you realize that you’ve fallen in love with the characters, the story, and the location with no effort whatsoever. Sins of Empire has got to be my favorite McClellan book to-date and that’s really saying something. I could fangirl over this for days. It’s not at all necessary to read the Powder Mage trilogy beforehand, though being familiar with the storyline will maximize your enjoyment because you’ll understand all the references, the history of the characters, and maybe even make some deductions of your own!! This book has earned my highest recommendation and I’m pretty heartbroken that I’ll have to wait until next year to find out what happens next. Christian Rodska will be narrating this series as well, so I may pick this up in audiobook format for a re-read later this year. You too can read this masterpiece upon release on March 7, 2017!


309 reviews30 followers

July 26, 2022

This was actually good. Fast paced, cool characters, lots of plots and unexpected twists.

Still cannot decide who is my favorite character. Vlora is a blast.. literary. Styke is a beast... but in a best way. Michel ... deserves an Oscar!

I really can't explain why it took me so long to finish. But, still looking forward to sequels.
And I'll always remember this book as my companion in Covid-19 hospital 😉.
Good book... bad memories.

5 fantastic stars!

(2022) Second time around.. Still soooo goooood
Although Celine pissed me off... a lot. Can't exactly say why...


192 reviews95 followers

Want to read

October 23, 2016

More Brian McClellan? More Powder Mage? Only ten years after the original trilogy?

Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1) (34)

After binge-reading his first trilogy and deducing that every book is an improvement of its precedent, I can easily say that I can't wait to get my hands on this one.



962 reviews149 followers

December 8, 2018

4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars!!

Dark Epic Fantasy- Engaging from the start!

I was not sure when I added this to my TBR what to expect. I did not read the Powder Mage series so this was my first Brian McClellan Novel. It sounded pretty interesting- so when I opened the book to start, I was pleasantly surprised from the very first page. Starting out with a bang- literally from the prologue- This book took a hold of my attention and immediately, I was invested.

The world building was amazing and the characters are top notch. They are so skillfully crafted, and extremely dynamic, that the characters almost felt like I actually knew these people, or they were like family. They all have very distinct personalities that were very interesting and engaging. One of my favorite Characters was Ben Stykes and I am pretty sure he is making my list of top fantasy character favorites !

The pace of he book moves along perfectly and is continuously changing from one event to the next. With a unique magic system and full of twists and turns this one should keep readers on their toes. I'm totally looking forward to jumping back in this world with these characters in the rest of the series!

    4-star-reads fantasy fiction


258 reviews

March 16, 2020

Some quick reflections:

Ben Styke was giving me a major Logen Ninefingers vibe throughout the book. More of the please.

Secondly, am I supposed to like Michel or something? Because I don't. I really really don't. I do appreciate his mothers view on books tho!

All in all this was a great read, even though it took me some time to get through. My love for this world is as strong as ever and I look forward to getting to see more of it in the next installment.

5 sulfuric stars

Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1) (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5807

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Birthday: 2001-07-17

Address: Suite 794 53887 Geri Spring, West Cristentown, KY 54855

Phone: +5934435460663

Job: Central Hospitality Director

Hobby: Yoga, Electronics, Rafting, Lockpicking, Inline skating, Puzzles, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Clemencia Bogisich Ret, I am a super, outstanding, graceful, friendly, vast, comfortable, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.