The Crimson Campaign

Brian McClellan
The Crimson Campaign Cover

The Crimson Campaign


Well, I can see why it's called the Crimson Campaign. If you took all the fights scenes out of this book you might be lucky to be left with fifty pages or so.

The Kez invasion has begun, and Field Marshal Tamas comes up with a daring strategy to smash the Kez Grand Army in a two pronged attack, eviscerating them. But when betrayal from his own ranks leaves him cut off in Kez and presumed dead by everyone in Andro, it becomes a desperate cross country flight as he attempts to get back into Andro, with the Kez Army hot on his heels. Back in Andro, Taniel returns to the battlefront after awakening from a coma, where the actions of the generals prove a reminder that there are still traitors in the Adran ranks. And in Adopest, Inspector Adamat continues the hunt for the mysterious Lord Vetas, hoping to rescue his kidnapped wife and son before Vetas decides they have outlived their usefulness.

Definitely a better book than Promise of Blood was. Maybe it's because the stage was already set from the first book, but I found almost no world building going on in here. Unlike most authors who decide to delve deeper into the trappings of their world over the course of their second book, McClellan focuses solely on the story he's telling, which is almost entirely a war tale. As the Kez unleash new terrors on the Adran army with their vicious Powder Wardens, things really escalate in. Also, we delve a little more into the politics both within the army, within Adopest itself and even between countries, as the nation of Deliv plays a part in the tale. Another great thing about this book is the developing relationships we see. Not only the dynamic between Taniel and Ka-poel, but also between Vlora and Tamas. I found Vlora and Tamas's relationship dynamic to be the most interesting of all, for some reason.

As far as entertainment goes, I felt pretty much the same toward this that I did Promise of Blood. It's clearly much better written than his last book, but as far as the charge, the emotions, the intensity it evoked, it was pretty much the same for me. In this book, I enjoyed Taniel's story most of all, I found the developments on the war front shown in his viewpoint to be the most interesting. A bit predictable, but McClellan nonetheless makes it work. Fast paced and action packed, I literally read the majority of this book over the course of an afternoon. It wasn't utterly impossible to put it down or anything, but definitely more than engaging enough for me to read until very late into the night.

The best way to peg this is as the perfect second book. As is McClellan's style, we see plot threads wrap up and new ones start over the course of the book. It also manages to escalate in terms of its sheer epicness, with not only powerful new magic wielders taking to the battle field, but new forces, from the political to the divine, becoming more actively involved in the war-torn nation of Adro. And it does so in a very organic way, that doesn't feel contrived but instead like a natural continuation of the story. It all flows together well.

All in all, another good book from Brian McClellan. I'm not as blown away with this series as most of my friends seem to be, but I am more than engaged enough to keep reading. And if Brian McClellan continues to take his writing up a notch with every instalment such as he did between Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign, then he'll definitely become one of those authors that I wait up at midnight for so I can start reading his new book right away. If you liked Promise of Blood, you'll only find better here.