Fantasy Review: ‘Promise of Blood’ by Brian McClellan

Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage, #1)Mr. McClellan

I just finished reading your, um, enthusiastic history paper on the French Revolution. And while I appreciate the time you put into it I must say your grasp on the historical aspects make me question whether or not you have paid attentional all semester. Before making you redo the paper I wanted to make sure we were on the same page for some of the more relevant points of the time period.

You seem to have grasped the root causes of the revolution well enough. A king in the capital building ever more extravagant additions to his palace while the people struggle; financed in large part though foreign means. And yes there was a reign of terror where in a great many people faced execution by beheading, though somehow you misspelled Robespierre as Tamas, a common mistake.   Here is where your historical facts started to drift; the executions were for enemies of the state over almost a year rather than a mass murder of magical Privileged all in one shot.

I admit that I just can’t figure out where we lost you on the use of weapons, perhaps a few sessions with the science tutor may be in order as well. Gunpowder is used to fire projectiles out of weapons. At no point in time was it used to fuel magical abilities and people certainly didn’t snort it, let along get addicted to it. In fact I would find it fairly safe to say that huffing gunpowder would slowly cause death; not the ability to change the direction of projectiles already in the air.

Finally, I think we may have over impressed you with the chapters on Napoleon. While he was a great strategist who came to power at the end of the revolution he was not an ancient god reawaken. I am going to start recording class room sessions because I truly am at a loss how the famous short man morphed into a god summoned by magical were-lions somewhere along the way.

All is not lost though Mr McClellan, I have spoken to your creative writing instructor and have been told this paper is eligible for the year end project. While he wasn’t a huge fan of your take on Robespierre Tamas; a man on whose shoulders everything rides probably shouldn’t be so involved in the action of a revolution, he did find some of the other people’s stories fascinated. I am at a loss as to which historical figures the investigator and the leader’s son were supposed to represent but they were great fun to read about. We both enjoyed the teen you nick named Pole and hope you have some good ideas for her in the future.

A few suggestions from the creative writing instructor should you wish to tweak this report for his class. Maybe cut down a bit on the harems?   I understand that if you have magic floating around the desire to spread it out among more people; but insinuating that the church is involved in such debauchery is an old standby and doesn’t really offer anything new. The instructor is also a bit tired of the ‘dead wife’ motivation; can anything be done about that? And finally, remember to finish out your thoughts. Neither of us knew what happened to the forth view point wrote about; the one working to save a child. She has the means to be a very interesting person but we saw so little about her? Perhaps you could expand on her story next time?

You show some talent Mr McClellan, and I shall be looking forward to reading anything else you have in store for us. You made your characters interesting, your pacing was brisk, and you have a style that makes reading your work a breeze. A very creative magic system that explains just enough to make it believable without bogging the work down will excess rules. Very enjoyable stuff!

But I still will still be needing a paper that actually deals with the REAL French Revolution on my desk by the end of the week.

Thank you.

4 Stars


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