Here’s the next installment in my, “Books Off the Shelf” series. These are some short book reviews on books quite literally off my book shelves—books I’ve read or listened to. (I do so love audio books.) There is a world of books out there. More than anyone could get to in a lifetime. As my favorite mug states so succinctly, “So Many Books, So Little Time”. I will attempt to give you an idea on some books you might enjoy or not enjoy quite as much without ruining it with too many spoilers.
The Emperor's Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne)
by Brian Staveley
Rating 8 out of 10
The emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.
Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it's too late.
An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test.
At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor's final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing--and risk everything--to see that justice is meted out.
The Emperor’s Blades is more than worth the read. Throughout the book, we follow the emperor’s three children (more young adults than children now) immediately following the emperor’s assassination. Siblings, Kaden, Valyn, and Adare have lived worlds apart for half their lives and are tossed into the mayhem of imperial responsibility before they are ready. At the same time they have to deal with the unknown threat that stole their father’s life and now threatens their own.
This is a fascinating story that seems to delve deeper with every passing chapter and a more ancient and more sinister threat is slowly brought to light as we read.
In The Emperor’s Blades, Staveley paints a delightfully deep, well-wrought fantasy world. He offers us a gritty tale reminiscent of Abercrombie’s writing, but, in my opinion, Staveley does it in a more fulfilling manner. The world of Annur is a dark, frightful place, but Kaden, Valyn, and Adare are characters one can pull for as they wade through the muck and grime.
I might take issue with how Valyn’s wing of Kettral can be pictured as the finest warriors in the world and at the same time be completely inept time after time. By the end, however, I was quite satisfied. This is another book that is definitely for an adult audience, but if you’re in that market, pick up a copy for sure.
I have the second book in the series, THE PROVIDENCE OF FIRE, and I’m excited to start in. I’ll let you know my thoughts once I’ve finished.
If you’ve read The Emperor’s Blades, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a message below. And as ever, if you have suggestions of books to review, please let me know. If it is Science Fiction or Fantasy, there is a good chance it is on my shelf or should be.
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Ryan J. Doughan