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Why I Stopped Reading Promise of Blood

I want to start out by saying that I know that this is a good book, but it was not for me. It's the same for me and chicken wings, I know they are good, I know other people love them, and I can appreciate what they are, but I don't like them. In the end, it came down to two things; the amount of action and the 'grittiness'. There were cons and pros though, and I will cover them in that order.



This book is a lot. As I got into the book, I was amazed by how well Brian McClellan does with keeping you in the action. He does a masterful job with switching viewpoints and always keeping the reader on their toes with conflict after conflict. I liked this a lot, at first, but as I got further into the book, it started to wear on me. I felt like there was never any break, never any downtime, and while I know that will be a good thing for a lot of readers, for me, it was too much. In the books I read, I want some balance. Don't get me wrong, I want a ton of cool action scenes as much as the next person, but I really appreciate more light hearted bits in between the action. It doesn't even need to be downtime per se, but a change of pace, some humor, some intrigue, some cool things. It felt like I was set loose in an ice cream factory, amazing at first, but getting full to the point of sickness without some variety.

The other reason I stopped reading Promise of Blood was the grittiness. I'm going to be honest, I'm not one that needs a lot of grittiness in my books, so I'm aware that I'm biased, but it felt pretty over the top here. Every character feel like some hardened soldier, which I'm sure as the point, seeing as nearly every character is a hardened soldier, but it lacked variety for me. The three main characters, Tamas, Adamat, and Taniel have their unique bits, for sure, but they feel like different flavors of the same base model. Tamas is old and likes dogs, Taniel is younger and an addict, Adamat has a perfect memory and is Tamas but detective themed. It felt like the author tried really hard to infuse grittiness in every aspect of the book, and it ends up being too heavy handed for my taste.



I will start with the pro that is also a con. Like I said, Promise of Blood keeps you in the action. That is a good thing, seeing as it never suffers from a lull. It starts going at 100 mph and kept it up as far as I read.

Another thing is the grittiness certainly has its benefits. The world feels lived in and realistic, something that works for a book so deep into its revelution. This book feels like the french revolution, one of the author's inspirations, and it benefits greatly from that. Some of the details feel ripped out of our own history, with a king abusing his power, the king's powdered face, and how the nobility face the guillotine when they are usurped.

The worldbuilding as a whole is quite good. It gives you enough details, but never overexplains. There were some times where it felt like character dialouge was used as an information dumb, but this is rare, and quite often the details of the world are added in the right place and time.

The magic system also shines here. Brian McClellan has said he wanted 3 (+1?) magic systems to represent the different social classes of the french revolution, and I think that pays off. Privileged, Powder Mages, and Knacked all have different feels and work well individually and together in this lived in world.



Overall, Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan was not for me, but it could be for you. If fantastic worldbuilding, characters, magic and action are your thing, this book is most likely for you. If you aren't a fan of books that feel relentless or grittiness isn't your thing, this book may not be for you. I would recommend at least giving it a try, in a genre inundated with medieval based periods, it is refreshing to get something unique.


If you are still interested,

buy the book here:

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