The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
Narrator: Christian Rodska
Series: The Powder Mage Trilogy #2
Also by this author: Promise of Blood
Published by Orbit on 2014-05-06
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
Length: 20 hours 4 minutes
Also in this series: Promise of Blood
GUNPOWDER AND BULLETS WILL DETERMINE THE VICTOR. When invasion looms... Tamas's invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy's best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god, Kresimir.But the threats are closer to home...In Adro, Inspector Adamat wants only to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers will lead Adamat on a darker journey.Who will lead the charge?Tamas's generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye. With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself as the last line of defense against Kresimir's advancing army.In a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology, who could stand against mages that control gunpowder and bullets? THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN is the epic sequel to Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood.
This is a spoiler free review, but assumes you have read The Promise of Blood, so it is probably not spoiler free for that. If you are new to the series, I suggest you check out my review for Promise of Blood and know that I feel Crimson Campaign is on par with the first book.
Once again, I enjoyed the world that Brian McClellan has created for the Powder Mage Trilogy. There’s a wonderfully engaging blend of politics, intrigue, magic and even meddling Gods. And this one comes packed with emotional, tense and emotionally tense moments.
The Crimson Campaign contains three storylines, which may be connected at some point in the larger picture, but in this, they were all rather distinct and could be stories that would hold on their own. As is typically the case when I read stories like this, I developed preferences among them, Taniel’s storyline taking seat as my favorite.
Ahh, yes. Taniel Two-Shot. Everyone’s favorite gunpowder snorting addict is back, fighting on the frontline. Ka-Poel is once again there with him. She is still one of my favorite characters even though she is not a predominant one. Maybe the fact that she can’t speak adds to her allure and mystery. We see the relationship between her Taniel grow and Taniel’s protectiveness of her just makes me like him even more. To be honest, I am still holding out hope that we will eventually have a more Ka-Poel centric plotline.
I had mentioned in my review of The Promise of Blood that Ka-Poel and Vlora were the two characters I was most intrigued by (and Olem). My interest in Vlora came from having read The Girl of Hrusch Avenue, where Vlora is the central character, before reading Promise of Blood. I had really hoped that the next book would see either Vlora or Ka-Poel in a larger spotlight, and unfortunately, I can’t say that happened. They are both featured more than they were in Promise of Blood, but they are still very much secondary characters. Since we are now over 2/3 of the way through the overall story, I think I am giving up hope on seeing them as main characters. But that’s all right because I still enjoy the books and the story they are telling. As with Promise of Blood, I still feel like I enjoy the secondary characters as much, if not slightly more in some cases, than the primary characters. In fact, I am going to add Bo and Nila to the list characters I hope to see more of in book 3.
As for the other two storylines, Tamas and his powder mages are isolated from the rest of the characters, trapped and trying to escape Kez. The rest of the army has written him and his crew off as dead. It was interesting seeing Tamas in a more vulnerable position. In the final storyline, Adamat is still trying to find and save his family from Lord Vetas. I have to confess of all the storylines, this is the one I felt least attached to. Not sure why, there are definitely some major things going on here, I just never really felt as connected to Adamat as a character as I do Taniel, or even Tamas.
But any minor complaints aside, this is still a enjoyable read with a great blend of politics, scheming, magic and gunpowder. If you enjoyed the first one, definitely keep going because I feel this story is a good addition and I look forward to reading the final installment.