Review: The Crimson Campaign. Powder Mage Trilogy 2 by Brian McClellan

When invasion looms… CrimsonCampaignCover

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.
2. The Crimson Campaign
3. The Autumn Republic

This was SO good again and totally got me out of my reading slump, yeah!

This review contains spoilers , so be warned.
We do follow 3-4 different storylines again, which I was very happy about. We catch up with Taniel Two-Shot after his failed attempt to kill the returned god Kresimir. Taniel JUST got away with his life, thanks to badass awesome voodoo sorceress Ka-poel, and is now trying to forget what happened by turning to drugs. Fortunately it didn’t drag on for too long and he gets send to a part of the Adran army that is trying to keep the Kez army at bay.

Again, as in book 1, Taniel’s story was my favourite. I couldn’t believe how it was possible, but Taniel became even MORE likeable to me. He is more reckless, if that’s even possible and almost more awesome than Ka-poel. Taniel has no fear and fights with all his heart. He’s a perfect character to root for and got all the self-pity out of his system in the start of the novel. I hate it, when our heroes are whinging too much. (Hello, Mr. Erikson 🙂 ). His relationship with Ka-poel is still a great slow-burn and perfect, if you ask me. Not the center of attention, but enough to satisfy everyone who likes a bit of romance. She herself is getting more interesting by the second, as more of her powers are revealed while some things still remain a mystery.

It is even more gritty than the first book. There’s more violence and blood, more fighting, more action scenes and it felt so REAL. I was really pulled into the story – I was rooting for Tamas, who is in a lot of trouble, for Adamat, who could NEVER catch a break back in Adopest and of course for dear Taniel who is, apart from fighting the Kez, trying to get to the bottom of a conspiracy in his own camp. And also planning to kill Kresimir for good. You’ve got a lot on your plate, Taniel!

There’s so much in this book and it never gets boring. Every single one of the characters stays interesting and develops, there’s drama and conflict and heart-break and I want you all to read those awesome books!

I was happy to see that we catch up with Bo again as well. He’s one of the characters I like to read more about. Also, I was a big fan of how Kresimir was presented. He’s there, in the camp of the Kez, but not really active. There’s rumours about what he’s up to and it seems he’s slowly turning insane. He’s also a bit scared of Taniel, which makes it only more intriguing for me.

I am still not a fan of Nila though, she’s probably the only one I don’t care about and the revelation about her in the end did nothing for me. Hopefully she will become more interesting in the next book.

I started the third book already. No way I will stop now.

I give it 4,5/5 Stars. Nila, it’s your fault! And sometimes I felt that Tamas’ storyline was dragging a bit. Still, almost perfect and very enjoyable.



  1. Yes! Not only a superb book, but also a great middle part of the trilogy, and that is not always the case. McClellan is one of my favourite young epic fantasy writers, and the second book of his second trilogy will be published pretty soon 🙂 I also recommend his short stories, they flesh out some of the characters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This book marked my change of opinion about Taniel, from the whiny, big-chip-on-the-shoulder guy who needed to grow up of the first volume, to a more grounded, more definite personality. And I attribute most of this change to the presence of Ka-poel… 🙂
    With this book, McClellan became one of my favorite writers indeed, and I can’t wait to start on The Autumn Republic!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll side here with Maddalena – I didn’t like Taniel in the first book one whit, but the second installment much improved my opinion :). I’d even say the whole trilogy gets better with every next book – and the final installment formed a perfect resolution to the story.

    Liked by 2 people

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