General Vlora Flint and her mercenary army has been employed by the Fatrastan government to put down the rebelling Palo natives. Meanwhile the war hero Ben Styke seeks revenge for his false imprisonment at the hands of one of the most powerful men in Fatrasta . Vlora and Styke will both soon battle an ancient empire while Fatrasta, perhaps the whole world, hangs in the balance.
Brian McClellan nailed it with Sins of Empire. It is his best work yet. He has taken his already well fleshed out powder mage universe and polished it to a shine. McClellan makes his universe at once fantastic and familiar. He has drawn on history and culture to make his world feel like our own and then he adds the elements of fantasy. The result is a world that feels earthy and grounded.
McClellan manages to weave a tight narrative that stays focused from beginning to end. I loved the pacing of the story. Sins of Empire is epic fantasy that is paced more like a heroic fantasy. There are no dull or slow points in the story. Each time I finished a chapter I wanted to dive right into the next one.
The characters feel like real people, each with their own ambitions and desires. I hadn’t been a fan of Vlora in the earlier powder mage books but in Sins of Empire she becomes a much more enjoyable character to read. Ben Styke has become one of my favorite characters in any book. He reminds me of the old soldiers I myself knew while I was serving in the military.
McClellan manages to capture the brutality of war and violence without reveling in it. Make no mistake this book is violent but I didn’t feel that it was gratuitous or gory.
Sins of Empire was just the right length, any longer and the story would have been played out, any shorter would not have been enough. The ending was satisfying and yet left me eagerly awaiting the next book.
Sins of Empire is the best book that I have read so far this year. I recommend it to all fans of epic fantasy.
I give Sins of Empire 4.9 out of 5 stars.