The Emperor’s Blades
Book 1 of the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne
By Brian Staveley
A friend posted on Facebook a few weeks ago about how amazing his wife was to have gotten him the third book in the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne series. I hadn’t heard of the series, let alone the author, but it looked interesting, so I pinged our library to acquire the ebook (have I mentioned before how much I love my library?). A few days later, it was loaded onto my phone and I was quickly immersed.
What initially seemed like a typical intrigue plot (the Emperor has been slain and now his progeny are at risk; will they survive and keep the throne?), The Emperor’s Blades quickly set the tone of being much more. The Emperor had three children, two of which bore the flaming eyes required to rule, yet of those two, only one was male – he was thus the only one fit to take his father’s place.
Eight years prior, both boys were sent off for training. The heir, Kaden, was sent to a monastery to learn what his father could not teach him. Valyn was sent to train with the elite military group, the Kettral. Both are near to completing their training, but it is their sister, Adare, who has been thrust into the political turmoil surrounding the Emperor’s death. Both Kaden and Valyn are so immersed in their training that they aren’t allowed to grieve the passing of their father, and Adare is consumed by her rage at the murderer. Even still, all three of them uncover hints of a bigger threat – one that puts the entire human race at risk!
I really enjoyed this book. It’s obviously the first in an epic series, and the characters are both likable and flawed. I thought I had known the characters well enough to predict their actions, but for each of them, I was surprised at the choices they made. Those little twists really deepened the characters for me. I also liked both the Kettral (elite military group who command giant birds) and the Shin (a group secretly protecting humanity) and I think both of those groups are pretty well fleshed out in who they are and their importance in the world of Annur.
The part that struck a bad chord with me was the large pantheon of gods – there’s a lot of them, both young and old, and while the names are thrown around quite a bit, only a few are explained well enough for me to have understood who they are. But there’s ample room in later books to remedy this minor complaint.
In conclusion, I’m eagerly waiting for the library to pick up the next two ebooks so I can find out what happens next.
( ) definitely won’t read again
( ) might read again
(x) definitely would read again
( ) wouldn’t recommend
( ) might recommend
(x) definitely would recommend
(My review of Book 2, The Providence of Fire)