My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
Includes: The Emperor’s Blades, The Providence of Fire, The Last Mortal Bond, and an excerpt from the forthcoming Skullsworn
“An enchanting union of old and new, Staveley’s debut will keep you turning pages late into the night.” —Pierce Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising
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.
The Emperor’s Blades — Three siblings: Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery. An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral. At the heart of the empire, Adare hunts those who murdered her father.
The Providence of Fire — Kaden infiltrates the Annurian capital, while Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion compels the rival forces to unite. Unknown to Adare, Valyn has allied with the invading nomads.
The Last Mortal Bond — The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; capricious gods walk the earth in human guise, but the imperial siblings at the heart of it all soon understand that there may be no reconciling their conflicting visions of the future.
This review is for all three books, the story as a whole. First, I am regretful that I didn’t finish The Emperor’s Blades the first time I started it. While I didn’t give up because I hated it, I just simply couldn’t get into it. However, I am forever grateful that I picked up Book One a second time and finished the trilogy last night.
I’m still in awe after finishing and maybe that is why I’m of the opinion that right now, I would probably read anything Brian Staveley writes.
The story follows three children of an Emperor who are all separated and being raised in very different circumstances. The chapters throughout all three books are mostly from the POV’s of each child. While the three siblings are the main characters and the drivers of the story, there are so many characters that each of them have in their lives that contributed so much to the story as well. In fact, Valyn’s Wing, they were a really huge part of the story and what a different story it would have been without them.
Kaden: Being raised in a monastery with monks. He didn’t have it easy and my heart hurt for him. I liked Kaden a lot. I liked his umial, Rampuri Tan a lot. Even though he beat the shit out of Kaden, both mentally and physically, he was loyal to him until the end. Kaden is the oldest (which I didn’t realize until some time into first book) and is in line as heir to the Emperor. I guess his father sent him to this awful place to learn…something. Certainly not enough about being an Emperor. When Kaden’s father is killed a mission is set from both the good and the bad to retrieve Kaden from Ashklan and bring him back to take his rightful place on the Unhewn Throne. Doesn’t really work out that way. If I say much more it will ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read it. I hated the end because Kaden had been through SO MUCH SHIT and then to end it the way it ended…I was too mad to cry.
Adare: Ugh. I tried to like her and in the beginning I guess I did. I’ll be honest and say when her chapters came I was always ready to take a break or found myself begrudgingly tackling it. Thankfully it wasn’t all Adare all the time and that helped in keeping me engaged in her chapters. She was the child that got to stay home in the palace and be raised as a Princess. She made some really poor decisions and overall was just so stupid in her thinking that I wanted her to just get killed (I know I’m an awful person). I feel like she was the pivot point for why a lot of the shit happened the way it did. She had so many opportunities to kill Il’ Tornja (the bastard) and she didn’t. When it came to her child, I became more understanding of her idiocy but really…and what really pissed me off is the way it ended for her. All roses. All the time. No consequences for her actions. *stabs knife in air*
Valyn: My favorite. I loved him and he really had it the hardest, I think, out of all three. He got a little fucked up towards the end, but can you blame him? He was so strong and didn’t take shit from anyone. He knew what he wanted and at the end, I think he got it. He was where he belonged. The mere thought of him staying at the palace with Adare made me want to poke my eyeballs out with a spoon. Valyn’s chapters were my favorite and they did not disappoint. So much action and so much bloody violence. I was rooting him on the entire way. Kill Adare, kill Adare!!! He wanted to. He should have.
So the other characters that made this story. Valyn’s Wing, especially Gwenna, Annick and Talal. Those three never stopped and they just kept kicking ass through the entire book. There were so many times I held my breath thinking one of them was going to die. So many times. I may have closed the book at that point. Haha – just kidding. Just thought I should give these three a recognition award cause they freaking deserve it.
There were a lot of characters, as I said above, that really were an integral part of the story. I just don’t want to run through each of them or this review will get to wordy and too full of spoilers.
I will mention that motherfucker Balendin, the leach. I LOATHED HIM! He was a sick bastard. His end however, fell a little flat for me. All this work up to his death and then, well, to be honest he didn’t suffer enough. Adare could have redeemed herself if she had killed him.
While some of the reviews found the third book a disappointment, I really didn’t. I really loved all three books. Until the very end. The end just fell flat for me on a number of things. I expected more. I expected more justice, more redemption for the losses and certainly more punishment. I expected more happiness and a better outcome for the three (two) siblings. 😀 I don’t know where Gwenna, Annick and Talal ended up. Did they go back to the island? Did they get medals? They should have. 🙂 I don’t know if the Flea and his Wing died or what. They carried them the infirmary but did they live? Were they already dead? Did the Spear collapse? Were the Gods grateful for what Kaden and Triste sacrificed for them? SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS! I kinda got the impression that Mr. Staveley was tired by the last chapter and just ended it quick to get it over with. I’m sure that wasn’t the case and I don’t hold it against him because the trilogy as a whole was absolutely amazing and I truly loved it. Bought all three so I can have them to reread upon demand. I don’t buy them unless I love them (well most of the time).
Seriously though, Brian Staveley, why couldn’t you have switched the fates of Kaden and Adare?? Yes…I’m still grieving.