Monday, January 3, 2022

Review: Engines of Empire (The Age of Uprising #1) by R.S. Ford

Engines of Empire (The Age of Uprising #1) by R.S. Ford
Publication Date: January 18th, 2021
Paperback. 624 pages.

About Engines of Empire:

"This epic fantasy tells the tales of clashing Guilds, magic-fueled machines, intrigue and revolution—and the one family that stands between an empire's salvation or destruction. 

The nation of Torwyn is run on the power of industry, and industry is run by the Guilds. Chief among them are the Hawkspurs, and their responsibility is to keep the gears of the empire turning. It’s exactly why matriarch Rosomon Hawkspur sends each of her heirs to the far reaches of the nation. 

Conall, the eldest son, is sent to the distant frontier to earn his stripes in the military. It is here that he faces a threat he could have never seen coming: the first rumblings of revolution. 

Tyreta’s sorcerous connection to the magical resource of pyrstone that fuels the empire’s machines makes her a perfect heir–in theory. While Tyreta hopes that she might shirk her responsibilities during her journey one of Torwyn’s most important pyrestone mines, she instead finds the dark horrors of industry that the empire would prefer to keep hidden. 

The youngest, Fulren, is a talented artificer, and finds himself acting as consort to a foreign emissary. Soon after, he is framed for a crime he never committed. A crime that could start a war. 

As each of the Hawkspurs grapple with the many threats that face the nation within and without, they must finally prove themselves worthy–or their empire will fall apart."

If you're looking to start off your new year by jumping into a brand new, action-packed epic fantasy, then Engines of Empire is a great place to start. This adventurous new fantasy has a wide variety of settings and elements that should provide a little something for just about everybody.

Engines of Empire follows various members of the Hawkspurs Guild (plus one extra!) through clashes of power, revolutions, and some really unique, compelling new magic. I've seen this described as steampunk because of the magic and pyrestone that fuels the entire world, and I think 'epic steampunk fantasy' is really a pretty accurate general idea of the feel of this book. The world is essentially dominated by different Guilds, of which the Hawkspurs are one of the most powerful. This leads to constant threats against them, as well as plenty of room for treachery and plots that must be constantly assessed. 

This story switches between a total of five POVs, which sounds like a lot but actually works really well for the story. I had no real issues distinguishing between any of the characters, as they were all really well defined and I appreciated how well Ford managed to tell each of their storylines. We follow: Tyreta, whose interest in magic takes her to far-reaching places; Conall, who is shipped out to the brutal desert to carry out his military duties and gain experience; Fulren, framed for a crime he didn't commit and who is sent off to a new land as a result; Rosomon, mother to Tyreta, Conall, and Fulren and who must fight for her safety after grave betrayals; and lastly is Lancelin, a man hated by the Hawkspur children who ends up with a much larger role than I expected–and who I really came to appreciate. 

The world of Engines of Empire is huge, and I loved how much of it we got to explore in this first book alone. It makes me that much more excited to see what will be explored in future books. We get to explore a jungle-based island setting, a desert called the Desolation, the impressive nation of Torwyn, and more. Ford has created a world bursting with detail and world-building, and I think he did a great job of introducing a lot without ever overwhelming the reader with too much at any time. This book also plays with a lot of themes and ideas, including those such as revolutions based around an indigenous/colonizer dynamic, as well as conflicts that span from personal to empire-sized, and I appreciated the care and detail given to these topics and discussions.

The pacing of Engines of Empire is on the faster side, which I appreciated in how it kept the plot moving and made it easy to sort of follow along on the characters' journeys. If an epic fantasy this big and with this many characters has pacing that is too slow, I sometimes find it harder to stay connected with the characters if it takes too long to return to their POVs, an issue that I'm happy to say was not an issue with this book. I sometimes felt as though I wanted to slow down and take a breath away from the events of this book, but I also can't really fault a pace that allowed me to speed through this book in enjoyment and eagerness to see how it would all work out. 

Overall, I've given Engines of Empire 4.25 stars! I'm very much looking forward to the next installment in this new epic fantasy series, and if you are looking for an exciting, adventurous new epic fantasy then I would absolutely recommend you pick this one up.

*I received a copy of Engines of Empire courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon |

1 comment:

  1. I'm excited to start this now! I'm glad to see your high rating😁