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The Emperor's Blades Audiobook

The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book 1

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2014 Brian Stavely (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (3383 )
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Performance
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  •  
    David Wellesley, MA, United States 01-20-14
    David Wellesley, MA, United States 01-20-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    37
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "George R. R. Martin better write faster"

    If you are angrily waiting the next Game of Thrones book, than The Emperor's Blades is your book. The story is often stronger and more relatable that George R. R. Martin's stuff. Plus Simon Vance's narration is fantastic as always.

    20 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Windermere, FL, United States 01-20-14
    Stephen Windermere, FL, United States 01-20-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great Story like Joe Abecrombie/Brandon Sanderson!"
    If you could sum up The Emperor's Blades in three words, what would they be?

    Clever, fascinating and funny!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Flee - makes me laugh at his rude brash clever insults


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    Always a good job! Good voice and doesn't distract you from the plot


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I don't know..but I would love to see this in a movie!


    Any additional comments?

    If you like a story with twists, raw humor and believable characters, you'll very much enjoy this book. Looking forward to the next one! :-) Good job!

    20 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Corey Brookyln, NY, United States 07-11-14
    Corey Brookyln, NY, United States 07-11-14 Member Since 2009

    Hi, I'm an alumi of NYU and I'm also huge into MMA. I love books I read a lot and review the stand outs. I'll give you guys the goods.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    307
    ratings
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    260
    93
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    54
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    "Amazing"

    This is an amazing book. Its been awhile since I could get really excited about a series. The Emperor's Blades is outstanding in every way. Its very well written and is set in a sweeping and imaginative world. The characters are likable and surprisingly deep. The action in this book is both fantastic yet gritty and real. This book really grabbed me and got me swept up in the story. Overall, I think this is a must have.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shirley 02-01-14
    shirley 02-01-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    247
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    REVIEWS
    845
    49
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    FOLLOWING
    6
    7
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    Story
    "Depressing"

    I love scifi and fantasy. I've been reading the genre for over 35 years now. While this book is well written and fairly narrated, it was just depressing. I listened to the entire book and there isn't a single scene that is amusing or light. There are three main characters. One is learning at a monastery where extreme deprivation and even torture are used as teaching methods. An example is being buried standing up so that only your head is exposed and being left there for several days. Another character is learning to be a warrior but is being singled out for ridicule and deliberate belittling by the instructors, is trying to avoid being assassinated while he and his friends are being beaten up by the bullies. The third character is undermined in her political tasks by treachery and dismissal as a woman trying to do a man's job. Even though the three survive to the next novel there is no real feeling of celebration or joy...just constant setbacks and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Don't worry, I've not given away any spoilers - what I've written is what you find in just about every fantasy novel but in the good ones, you are given something to be happy about and hope that the protagonists will do more than just survive, that they will win in the end. That hope is not presented in this book.

    Simon Vance as always does a good job of narration.

    34 of 64 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Hayes 04-28-16
    Rob Hayes 04-28-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    "An excellent start to a new epic fantasy"

    Gotta say it. I loved this one. An excellent epic fantasy opener to a series. I have just picked up the 2nd book, The Providence of Fire, and I can't wait to get started.

    First off I'd have to say I 'read' this via audiobook. The narrator, Simon Vance, did an excellent job. He has a good range of voices and none of them sounded like he was stretching too far. He made most of the main players sound different enough that it was immediately obvious who's point of view we were in.

    So the tale starts just after the death of the Emperor. It follows his 3 children. Kaden as he trains to be a monk, learning how to zen. Adare as she tries to uncover the truth behind her father's murder. And Valyn as he struggles to complete his training to become... what is essentially an assassin-y soldiery... kind of thing.

    Most of the story centers around Valyn and that's a good thing because his is by far the most interesting. His portion has the most action and excitement. Kaden's part of the tale is largely exposition, setting the scene for the larger conflict that is to come. Adare's portion is... disjointed at best. It almost feels as though it didn't really need to be there at all, but she's being set up to have a much larger part to come.

    There in lies my biggest criticism of the book as a whole. It feels very much like setting up a much grander story. The stakes for the finale were high, but the book did a good job of pointing out that they were soon going to be much higher.

    Other criticism are the occasional bloating. At times it felt like chapters were bloated and could have been much shorter. It dragged the narrative down in places. I also feel that there were some large plot holes.

    What I loved most about the book was the world building. The characters, especially Valyn and his Kettral, were very detailed and individual. Some of the interactions with bit players were a joy, and Valyn's side of the story was both riveting and gut-wrenching in places. Well-paced and well told.

    The world building was fantastic. It's clear that Staveley has a good idea of the world he's created and how everyone and everything fits into it, both in the past and the present. He has an interesting depiction of magic, with defined boundaries and mysterious capabilities. He has created an interesting bestiary of creatures to populate the world. I don't usually say this, but I'd have liked a map to see where everything is located in relation to everything else. There might be a map in the book version, but they don't tend to come across too well in audio format.

    Overall I give The Emperor's Blades about a 4. A thoroughly enjoyable start to a fantasy epic and I can't wait to start the second book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tyler 04-28-16
    Tyler 04-28-16 Member Since 2011
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    3
    2
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    "Fantastic"

    I've been drawn in to a fantastic new series. I was hooked from the beginning and I can't wait to jump in to the next book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sharnsea 04-25-16
    sharnsea 04-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    "f****** loved it"

    I listed to this book in 3 day and will be doing the same for the other books in this series

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric 04-15-16
    Eric 04-15-16 Member Since 2013
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    18
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    "Great read!"

    The first book of this series was definitely worth the read. You really get into the mind of the characters (especially Kaden). It was dark but lined with hope. Just my kind of read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip 04-06-16
    Philip 04-06-16 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    11
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    "Fantastic, engaging thriller."

    I love how they progress through the siblings perspectives, will definitely reread in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian hittepole 04-06-16 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    2
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    "clichéd tale"

    Narrator was very good but the clichéd story and plot holes not so much. That sounds more negative then I intend but true nonetheless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Callum
    12/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An enjoyable setting of scene"

    Really enjoyed the story and performance. Characters well crafted and story is promising. Easy listen with good narration. I'm excited to see what else is in store.
    Only criticism is maybe that there was a whole lot of scene setting and not a great deal happened, having said that I was gripped by the story and like the direction it takes. There is some conclusion which makes the end satisfying but leaves enough doors open to make me want to read more.
    A really good start in my opinion.
    Bring on the providence of fire!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Diarmuid
    5/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Three different blades, one great story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely. The Emperor has three children, each of whom live distant from each other, in three distinct areas. The lore and background for each area is very interesting, and you discover more as the story progresses.
    There is plenty of battling, laughter, treachery and twists, all of which kept me listening. Really, you never know what is going to happen next, so its hard to put those earphones down.


    What other book might you compare The Emperor's Blades to, and why?

    None spring to mind.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The battle with the Skullsworn.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Kadens thought as he trained as a monk moved me to laughter several times. Simon Vance does a good job with some deadpan narrations which me laugh.
    A particular death was sad as well, but I don't wish to give away any spoilers.


    Any additional comments?

    Just finished book 1, buying book 2 right now. You can't give a much better recommendation than that!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dwiver
    London
    3/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant"

    I bought this book mainly because of the narrator. Who was, as expected, excellent. However the story was brilliant. The characters are really well written and brought to life. Can't praise this book enough.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Anton
    2/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Aggressively mediocre, but then so is my life."

    Though generic, Stavely's plotting and world-building are solid, but the novel is plagued by dull stock characters, anachronistic prose, and an unwillingness to commit to either Abercrombian grimdarkness or sanitized Hunger Games-style YA, instead trying and failing to strike a balance between the two. On top of that, much of the dialogue is so cringe-worthy that not even the delightful Simon Vance can salvage it, though you couldn't say he doesn't try.
    However if you're really craving something in which people hit each other with swords and an ancient evil may or may not awaken, this is a passable way to kill a bunch of hours, and the sequel, "The Providence of Fire," is a vast improvement, rewarding you for sticking with the series.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Matt
    11/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just not that good."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I found this book a real up hill struggle, I tried to enjoy it but i just couldn't, the pacing felt wrong and it's as though the author wanted you to be completely aware that this is only the first book in the series. At times the story started to get interesting as if it was building to something but for it to go nowhere. i was beginning to feel like i was Kaden getting punished in the Monastery.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Princess Adare by along way. Unfortunately she only gets a few chapters throughout the entire book but they added an intrigue and twist which makes you want to keep reading.


    What didn’t you like about Simon Vance’s performance?

    I didn't enjoy his performance. The book was tiresome enough without needing flat toned samey characterizations. It made the characters hard to differentiate from at times.


    Was The Emperor's Blades worth the listening time?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I personally didn't appreciate this book and i enjoy a lot of fantasy novels.I really don't mind the tried and tested story line of a murdered Emperor with his defencless young child or children in this case growing into heros/anti-heroes before taking on the bad guys for justice/revenge, but to start with the characters weren't that memorable and for all the talk about how good the world building is most of the book its spent in a desolate mountain and a small island with nothing of note that stands out. Hardly Steven Erikson, G.R.R Martin or Joe Abercrombie standard. Another point is the torturous pacing. Yes i know it's the first book but there are plenty of trilogies that have fantastic openers that keep you gripped .As an example look no further than 'The Blade itself' ''The Name of the wind' and 'Tower Lord' to name but a few.I could go on but if you've found this useful and have the same taste as i do you've probably made up your mind by now.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Hans-Åke
    12/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An epic tale worth every minute..."

    The story follows three children of an Emperor, all in their own settings being prepared to enter into the Empire's service. The oldest son lives in a monastery, preparing to be the new Emperor and learn secrets believed to be long forgotten. The younger son trains as an elite soldier and commander while the daughter works as a minister in the government. When the Emperor is killed and they are being persecuted by people wanting the dead too, they have to unravel the plot using their special abilities, independent of each other.

    The author has a good way of describing things, without tearing them to part with words. The plot is excellent and thrilling, not too fast paced but it gives an urge to want to know more! Really entertaining and yet no great wars or misery like most epic fantasy tales.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sam Brearley
    2/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Quality fantasy..."

    A well written, well thought through and well narrated romp. Avoids cliches and keeps you guessing...most of the time. Well worth it. I'm on to number two!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • drmr87
    1/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An excellent first book in a fantasy series"

    Original plot, with excellent narration. A gripping story that leaves you keen to crack on with the next book in the series. Highly recommended to fans of epic fantasy with a more mature twist such as books by Joe Abercrombie

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Steve Wren
    England
    6/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun and entertaining"

    Interesting story and set up. The three heroes all with different yet complimentary skills works well. The storyline ends well with enough unanswered questions to make me go and get the next book!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Peterhead, United Kingdom
    11/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A bit slow to get into but well worth the wait"

    Really enjoyed this book, found it a bit slow to start with, but following the three family members and there wildly different roles within the story kept the book interesting, unlike some books iv listened to the junctions between the three main characters was well timed and the narrator did a very good job of the voice acting. I enjoyed the different twists and turns the story took, and a few even caught me out which is always a bonus. really looking forward to the next instalment!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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