The Powder Mage Trilogy #3: The Autumn Republic by Brian McCellan (Orbit)

The capital has fallen…
Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.
An army divided…
With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son.
All hope rests with one…
And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed…

THE AUTUMN REPUBLIC is the epic conclusion that began with Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign.

The Powder Mage Trilogy has been one of my favourites of recent years in terms of epic fantasy. Both Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign featured on best of the year lists and I was eager to see what Brian McClellan would do with the final act, The Autumn Republic. Would he fail to deliver a satisfactory ending or would he knock it out of the park like the previous two novels? I was kind of worried going into this book if it would deliver or not, but rest assured, The Autumn Republic quickly blew any previous expectations out of the water and delivered an excellent finale that cements this trilogy as a ‘must read’ for anyone looking to read more fantasy, and also will have readers looking forward to see what McClellan comes up with next, as he most certainly will be an author to look forward to even once this has concluded.

Field Marshall Tamas has returned to his country to find its Capital, Adro under control of an invader for the first time in known history. He doesn’t know the difference between friend and foe anymore and to top it off, his son is missing. And on top of that, any reinforcements that he might be getting are several weeks away. There’s also talk of mutiny in the Adran Army, who have the Kez bearing down on them and are cut off without any clear leadership. This mutiny is about to include Inspector Adamat, who’s drawn in with the promises of finding his kidnapped son. And then – Taniel Two-Shot, having been turned on by men that he once counted as friends, has to protect the only chance that Adro has of getting through this war.

All of these three characters get good, definitive conclusions to their story that is handled very well. Tamas, Adamat and Taniel Two-Shot have all been great, well developed characters that we’ve been following over the course of the past three books and it’s great to see that McClellan gives them plenty of pagetime in the final act. We got to see new sides of characters explored here that weren’t necessarily touched upon before, with Tamas being developed a bit more and characters like Bo, Nila and more also improving. It’s good to see that the balance between character development and action sequences is handled well here, and neither is overlooked as the book flows pretty well with there never being a dull moment. The Autumn Republic is very much a book that you’ll want to make sure that you have as much time to read it in one go as possible, because once you start, you won’t want to stop. It’s that good.

The world that the characters inhabit continues to be one of the most fascinating things about this series. The use of magic is really intriguing and it’s great to see just how well it’s handled here. You can tell McClellan’s put an effort into fleshing out his world because it really shows, and with McClellan managing to develop it this well without slowing down the pace is great to see. If anything, this is one of those rare cases where trilogies actually get better as they progress – making The Autumn Republic superior to the previous two, even if the previous two were pretty damn good already.

The exciting, tense and unpredictable finale gave The Powder Mage Trilogy a very satisfying conclusion indeed. The different perspectives of the characters are all interesting and it’s great to see that McClellan spends enough time with them. If you loved the previous two books then chances are, The Autumn Republic won’t disappoint. As a result, this book comes highly recommended, and I can’t wait to see what McClellan comes up with next.

VERDICT: 9/10

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