If anything, this had been one interesting ride. The story isn’t about fantasy, or anything like that. It is a very realistic story, derailing the records of battle and knowing how to leverage the fact that characters here are mortal and battle doesn’t always mean that it is an instant win.
The beginning starts off rather generic. It is only later on which it would define itself as something of a war story. With battles after battles, and the strategy behind them. Terrains, numbers and most importantly politics and how it influences warfare.
It is nice to have a main character who is aware and takes advantage of it. Which sets it apart from Kingdom, even though both happen to be stories set around a war. The main character Mahmut, is an intelligent boy who came to be Pasha at twelve. It is later where he grows into his own, ensuring that his country has the best circumstances they can wage war in.
It is something I greatly liked when compared to the other stories of mostly battles which decided everything. Here there are a ton of factors and the sides are rather balanced. The Balt-Rhein Empire has no lack of capable generals, a does Türkeye. The balance here makes battles exciting with plenty of times resulting in deaths.
And I liked that. The tension here is there because there is no certainty. And honestly I was surprised at how profound some of the deaths had hit me. And that it isn’t just Mahmut mostly hoarding the spotlight, since he can’t be in two places at once, allowing other characters to show their abilities and their strategies.
The setting to me was incredibly mesmerizing. I am somewhat curious about the Ottoman Empire, even as I was mostly interested in Europe. But here is a fully fledged world, with everything affecting each other. And the fact that it certainly helps by not portraying the Balt-Rhein as some absolutely evil Empire, but as one with flaws that came from how it was governed. And Türkeye isn’t a complete utopia either, with some of the arcs being focused on the political struggles they face. And what they would do from there.
If you feel as though you’re seeking for something that has more base in history, and is something that isn’t really about fantasy. But just a lot of political machinations, then this is for you.