An Imperial Gambit by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

An Imperial Gambit by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

Series: The Wardens of Issalia #3Rating: 4/5
Date of Publishing: December 26th 2018Genre: fantasy, young adult
Publisher: Fallbrandt PressAvailable: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Number of pages: xAuthor’s website:


Quote of the Book

“His goal was simple, yet daunting- build a better future as defined by his past. For his father, he would see the end of Chaos.”



A conflict of ideals: magic versus fire-powered weapons. The fate of Issalia hangs in the balance.

A new Empire has risen to power. Already in control of the east coast, the Imperial Army sets its sights on Issalia’s western kingdoms. Tensions rise as both sides prepare for war.

What deadly weapon will the Empire develop next?

Brandt and Quinn are espions – part spy, part thief, part assassin. Under false identities, these spies find themselves deeply entrenched within Empire headquarters. There, they gather information, seeking a means to foil the Empire’s plans for conquest.

One misstep by either warden could result in death – their own and thousands of others.

They are joined by a small squad of fellow wardens:
Wildcats – warriors trained to fight while powered by magic  Rangers – experts in nature, these archers scout enemy forces  Gadgeteers – engineers who invent magic-powered machines and weapons  Arcanists – those who can wield Chaos – a destructive, rune-based magic  Driven by the core belief that Chaos magic is evil, the Empire seeks to stamp out this scourge. If victorious, Chaos will be outlawed. Those who can wield it…will be executed.

The wardens must stop this Imperial gambit.

Personal notes

TBRinder Request

Read reviews of the first two books: A Warden’s Purpose and The Arcane Ward


Song of the Book

Uprising by Muse (what a crazy video)



This is the third book in The Wardens of Issalia series, dealing with the organisation known as ICON and their struggles against the rising Empire. The aftermath of the last book leaves the Tantari kingdom in a precarious position, with the Empire starting to gain more of a foothold in the country – endangering our friends at Icon and all Chaos-based magic users.

Like the first two books, we follow multiple POVs.

We find Quinn and Brandt still on mission in Sol Polis. Curan, whom we met in the last book, arrives at the Academy. Everson is still back at the academy/Fallbrandt creating cool stuff. And Cassie is dealing with the loss of her family members, and trying not to let Brandt find out because she is afraid he will do something rash if he finds out while on mission.

We also have appearances from quite a few others as the cast in this series has grown a lot as the world gets larger, but the focus in this book has narrowed down to the important players –  and I liked that it did.

Unfortunately, that means less screen time for Everson and Rena and few others, but their time on screen though smaller, was important time, and not just filling. I was ok with the sacrifice. I think the story was a lot smoother for it, and it helped to keep the pacing up.

Also, sacrificing some of the ICON characters onscreen time meant that we got some backstory for my favorite bad guy, Ikonis.
Iko is a big part of the reason I keep coming back to this series so I was really happy about getting some of his side of the story. He has always felt like he didn’t really want to be doing what he’s doing, and now we have some insight into what’s motivating him when it seems like what he is doing is eating away at his soul.

Each book has opened this world up a little more, as we learn more of the world and the people, it gets harder to tell whose side is right and whose is wrong. The series itself is just a whole lot of fun and has been a nice little breather between dark and grim. I think this is the strongest one so far.  

Other thoughts:

  • That was a nicely placed/timed reminder of Quinn’s and Iko’s past relationship. Far enough in that when it did remind us of the circumstances it didn’t take a way from the tension build of worrying about their meeting.
  • The conversations and shared/remembered stories were so much smoother in this book.
  •  I am not sure how I felt about a certain revelation…hmm still debating.

This review was written by Jennifer (BunnyReads)