It is a with a little sadness I’m writing this review of the book “Autumn Republic”. Oh no, not that, the story was fine. I enjoyed it. No, the series is over, and I have been enjoying getting the email from my local library saying, “Your book in in”. I don’t know about you, getting a positive email is rather nice with everyone else telling me about what I won and how I need a spouse. Let’s get to it shall we?
Spoilers, Spoilers, Spoilers. If you have read my other reviews, you know I can’t seem to help myself, so I will stop here to say; “Go read this book”, make sure you read the other two first. You are doing yourself and the author a serious disservice if you don’t read the other two books in the Powder Mage Trilogy. In case you need the names of the books, they are; “Promise of Blood
” and “The Crimson Campaign
”. Links to the reviews can be found by clicking on the titles.
The author, Brian McClellan wraps up almost all the loose ends in this final installment of the trilogy. The characters are back in the same country, the questions raised about “Will Adamat get his son back? Ka-Poel who is kidnapped at the end of “The Crimson Campaign” will she be rescued? Will Tamas be able to get back with his army to save his country?” These questions are wrapped up.
It is how the questions get wrapped up is what I take a little exception with? That might be too strong of a word, how about, I didn’t like it. That sounds better. The mythos is there are gods, nine, each look over a country. In the last book it reveals they aren’t gods, they are mages more powerful than any of the others. That they aren’t related at all they are “Brothers in Sorcery.”
One of the sticking points for me was something Adom, one of the non-gods reveal. He mentions he has died before and had to wait to be reborn into a baby. We also find out one of these sorcerers/gods can take over a human body. My first question is then; “If Adom came back in the body of a baby, did he push the baby’s soul out, so he could be reborn?” That got creepy for me. Next, we have one of the other sorcerer/gods has been killing the other sorcerer/gods. Why can’t they be reborn into an infant? Or like Adom did, find a soulless body to inhabit?
My other question on this is; “If the sorcerer/gods have died, shouldn’t the country they have been watching over have some sort of ill effects? This didn’t just happen, it has been going on for some time now.”
Moving on. Adamat finally gets back to his family, his son turned into a Black Warden. What the bad guys used to fight against the Powder Mages. We also find out that once someone is turned into a Black Warden, they can’t be turned back into a human. I do want to point out, Ka-Poel can tether a sorcerer/god, really? So, Black Warden’s can’t be switched back, but it is possible to more or less hamstring a sorcerer/god? Yeah.
Tamas saves his country, regrettably, but long foreshadowed from the first book, he dies. In his last breath he tells Taniel that he loves him, that his mother Erika loves him too, which leaves us to believe that he is reunited with his dead wife in heaven. Nice.
Nila is coming along as a Privileged. How the author handles magic and a Privileged must wear gloves to use/do magic. All except Nila. Now is this foreshadowing that she is going to be something different? I’m thinking so, yes. She can perform magic that is powerful enough to burn 100s of enemy soldiers on the field. Pretty different, scary, with a bit of awe too. It was nice to see that it effected and affected her both. She did not suddenly understand how to use her powers, she was disgusted by what she had done, and couldn’t do everything. It is admittedly nice to see someone not become a superhero or super-villain overnight.
My largest disappointment, as in the previous book, was the amount of air time that Taniel and Ka-Poel have in the story. I still find them to be the two most compelling characters, their relationship, her powers, his ability to shoot people almost a mile away it seems and his addiction to gunpowder. I mentioned that Ka-Poel had tethered a sorcerer/god. She does it with her blood and wax. Awesome right?
Taniel in the last book asked her to marry him, her facial expression, she is mute by the way, was a big foreshadowing. It was something he said in an off handed way. This book? Nothing. There is a scene where after chasing after Ka-Poel, to rescue her from kidnappers, Taniel breaks down and hugs her. Is she happy with the hug? Nope, wiggles away and looks annoyed that Taniel is hugging her. What the heck? I found this subplot to be interesting but unresolved.
The secondary characters resolve most of their issues. Ricard elected as First Minister, defeating a sorcerer/god. Eye blink. I mean I like the idea the good guy wins, the kind of good guy, anyway. The sorcerer/god could not influence the election, so he would win? All the gods except for Adom, the ladle wielding chef/sorcerer/god murdered by Adom’s brother. I am sorry, I am looking all over the internet for the names of the gods and I can’t find them. If someone does? Please let me know and I will update this post with their names as well as give credit to who is a better searcher than I am.
Vlora, doesn’t find love, but does find acceptance. She and Taniel make peace, promoted to general and given command of the army. She is also one of the heirs to Tamas’ estate, along with Borbador, the last of the original Privileged under the old king, as well as Taniel’s best friend. Borbador and Nila are set with the task of setting up the mages to protect and support the throne.
So, all in all? I liked the series and this book. During my research I found out that there a new book of short stories, including one that tells how Taniel and Ka-Poel met. Guess who requested it from the library? “Sins of Empire”. Alright go read.