Infernal Battalion concludes the excellent 5-part flintlock series, The Shadow Campaigns. But is it the epic conclusion we have been waiting for ? It sure tries…
It’s hard to talk about the story without getting into spoilers, but as The Guns of Empire ended with a major cliffhanger, I can say that it picks up a short while after that, with most of the dust settled. Not exactly the point I wanted it to pick up but then that rarely happens. Author’s freedom and everything.
The rest of the story is pretty uneventful with some (not many) battles and a lot of political intrigue. As a whole I felt it fell a bit flat. There’s 3 major plot lines going on, that eventually, inevitably meet up at the end.
Firstly there’s Winter’s journey back to civilisation, where she gets chased by the bad guys and has many adventures, then there’s Marcus who needs to find a way to hold of Janus by cleverly finding ways not to fight and lastly there’s a rehash of Raesinia’s political subterfuge that we’ve already seen when she was part of the revolution but now applied to the Borel court instead of the Vordan one.
As you can tell, I’m not really impressed with the story, as it seems to simply repeat some storylines we’ve seen before and it just seems to hurtle slowly to a conclusion to the series. There’s some suspense building towards the end, but not enough to get me worried in the slightest. I feel the story could have been done better.
All characters are well esablished by now, and seeing them again was pleasant, even though Raesinia is still as annoying (and boring) as ever. It was fun meeting some new characters, but most of those don’t get much screentime as the plot just used them to move forward and then discards them.
Nothing much new, still an excellent base to work off. The main additions being the deepening of the Borel culture and the Northern Tribes, which were done quite nicely.
Solid as ever in this series.
I don’t really know why this didn’t click with me as I’d hoped, but since it took me the better part of a month to write this review, it’s clear to say that it wasn’t a wholehearted success for me. There’s many good ingredients here to make a good book, but I was hoping for a more spectacular, compelling ending to an otherwise excellent series. I did enjoy reading this, but missed some of the elation I felt in, for instance, The Guns of Empire or The Price of Valour. 3.5 stars.