Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by ThoughtsStained
Oh, friends, this fucking book.
I can’t decide if I like it better than the previous trilogy or not. But I definitely fucking loved it, so have no doubts about that.
Sins of Empire takes place roughly a decade after the events of The Powder Mage trilogy. At first, it was a little weird. We had a few characters from the previous books that are central characters in this story. Wven though I was used to the world and the magic system now, “four” books in, we’re in a completely different part of the world. Our returning cast, Vlora and Olem, are in completely different roles than I ever expected them to be playing. And even though I love Olem, Vlora wasn’t my favorite character in the previous trilogy. There were a few other characters that I particularly loved, though. And, for the first half the book, was really wishing I could find out what happened to them.
Oh boy, was I in for the best surprise.
An ARC copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Publisher: Orbit Books | Release Date: March 2017 | Pages: 674
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Hardcover | Source: ARC
An epic newfantasy series from Brian McClellan, set in the world of his wildly popular Powder Mage trilogy.
A world on the cusp of a new age…
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 an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.
Sedition is a dangerous word…
The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.
The past haunts us all…
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.
On the Page
Content warnings are written up by me, unless specified. Subject to being an incomplete list, though guided by referencing this list and trying to highlight as many as I can identify.
- I was most enamored with this book in not only how clever the plot was, i.e., it read, in some ways, like a thriller, because of how many twists and turns there are and how intricately all of the plotlines are woven together; but also because I found myself most definitely growing attached to our new characters. To Styke and his good heart and mad mentality, to Michel (particularly the way he was written; that was brilliant) and his desire to do the best he could, no matter what circumstances he was up again.
- Vlora. While she was just an “eh” character for me in the first trilogy, kinda apathetic because I was invested in other characters way more, having her in the spotlight here and seeing how much she’s grown and the woman she’s become has truly turned me completely onto her side. I can’t help but admire her strength and her general ability to be a complete and total badass.
- Of course, that ending, too, though. I can’t talk about it too much (because, you know, spoilers), but I will say that I’m ridiculously curious about the latest addition to the worldbuilding, how exactly it works and what on earth Vlora and company are going to do about it. Though the battle and the war felt really small scale and rather quick, in comparison to lasting the entire first trilogy.
Sins of Empire was a fantastic start to a new series. However, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you read the previous trilogy first. It makes it that much better.
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Priscilla Bettis says
What a glowing review! Good for Brian McClellan on writing such a great book.
Nicole Evans says
Have you read any of his books? Seriously, they are incredible.
Great review, Nicole! I’ve read and loved the first trilogy a year ago. Do you think it’s mandatory for me to reread it before I dive into this one?
Nicole Evans says
Thank you so much, Petrik! I don’t think it’s necessary. There are a lot of references to help you remember what happened and I think your memory will prolly be jogged once you read it. But the story itself is very different and most of the cast new, so while I *do* think it’s important to have read them, I don’t think it needs to be freshly read. 🙂