The Emperor's Blades Author: Brian Staveley Series: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 1 Publisher: Tor Books, January 14, 2014 Format: Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages Price: $27.99 (print) ISBN: 9780765336408 (print) Review Copy: Provided by the Publisher
Will be published in Trade Paperback on August 26, 2014
In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, 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.
Annur has been ruled by the golden-eyed descendants of the goddess, Intarra, for centuries. The current Emperor, Salintun has three children, Adare, his daughter, has put her clever wit to use studying the politics of the Imperial city. His heir, Kaden, at the age of ten, was sent far away to the austere Ashk’lan monastery set deep in the Bone Mountains to apprentice to the Shin monks. Living there for eight years has taught him discipline and brought about great clarity, however he has not yet mastered the vaniate; the emptying of the mind. The youngest, Valyn, was sent to the Kettral, an elite and brutal fighting squad that soar on their oversized birds of prey during their black-ops missions. Still a cadet, he has one more deadly obstacle to face before becoming full Kettral, Hull’s Trial. When the unthinkable occurs and their father is murdered, the empire is thrust into jeopardy. It falls on the three siblings to uncover the cunning and unscrupulous plot and most importantly stay alive in the process.
The Emperor’s Blades, book one in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, lays the groundwork for a grand epic fantasy. The world building is fascinating and is propelled by the three main characters’ points of view. This allows the story to progress rapidly while giving the reader unique POVs through which to digest the complicated workings, historic facts, and political machinations the siblings face. Added to the mix are some scary and awesome indigenous and non-indigenous creatures which insert another compelling layer of excitement into the story. I was sucked into the novel’s world from the very first chapter of The Emperor’s Blades. Much like quicksand, the story grabbed me and drew me in steadily. I didn’t struggle however; I willingly let the pages envelop me until I was totally immersed. I’ve dubbed this phenomenon the 'quicksand effect' and I urge fantasy lovers to buy The Emperor’s Blades and experience it for themselves.