The Crimson Campaign

Brian McClellan
The Crimson Campaign Cover

The Crimson Campaign


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.