I'll start off by saying it's been a while since I picked up a book and couldn't put it down. When I first heard of this book, I knew I wanted to read it. The idea of a Civil War setting combined with magic was intriguing. Plus, just look at that badass cover. It certainly didn't disappoint.
From the first page it catches your attention. It doesn't hamper your mind with backstory or infodumping, but plops you right in the center of the action and never lets up. Each corner promises adventure, mystery, magic, and yes, blood. The characters are colorful and real, each with their unique traits and human flaws. There's even a couple well-written female characters, though I would have liked to have seen more of their involvement.
The magic within the world is interesting to say the least. There's numerous "types" of magic, a couple considered better than the others, but each plays an integral part. Usually I hate systems where people are walking around throwing fireballs left and right, but in this case I like McClellan's fireballs. He took the cliched version of magic and created a different spin.
I'd recommend this book to fantasy lovers searching for a new author, and I can't wait for book two myself. It's an exciting ride.