The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
I feel it’s necessary to comment on bias first. I wish I could read as much as I once did. It’s just not feasible. I do force myself to make sure I read at least one book a year from someone I’d never heard of, but I’m usually reading books I’m looking forward to reading from authors I already like for one reason or another. I invite any readers of this review to take that into consideration if they so desire.
Last year I voted to nominate McClellan for the John W. Campbell Award. Of all the new stuff I’ve read in the last few years, his was by far the most expansive, compelling and flat out fun to read. I believe that this is a new golden age for fantasy, and McClellan’s Powder Mage Trilogy, is evidence that this age is going to continue for a long time. I, for one, am grateful.
McClellan has wonderful characters and his world building is fantastic. I came into this book expecting a bit more to be explained. My one negative point is that some of the aspects of the world (particularly the magic system) felt rushed. There was one character (omitted because I hate spoilers) that I wish I had more from. The character felt a little like Gandalf, showing up at the nick of time. I didn’t mind as much except when that character stole the hero moment for one of the more compelling main characters. I feel compelled to mention that this disappointment does nothing to take away from how much I enjoyed this book.
What Autumn Republic does is conclude a great trilogy. I was happily lost in the world and never wanted to put the book down. His characters are sympathetic, compelling and memorable, which is all this reader ever asks of a story. The immersive world and backstory are just bonuses.
The Powder Mage Trilogy is an epic jolt of energy that delivers on its own while simultaneously promising great things from McClellan. His vision and creativity already have me eagerly awaiting his next project.