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.
Seemed like every other word was some variation of an expletive. It sounded like the book was written by a child who just got permission to use naughty words.
A great fantasy novel that doesn't feel like a kids book. I felt like I was literally the target audience (as an adult). Captivating and, immersive. This is one hell of a book if I do say so myself.
Great narration. Applies Tibetan Buddhism to a traditional fantasy world in an interesting way, and brings some fresh ideas to the "assassin school" trope. Also the magic system makes logical sense without losing its feeling of wonder - don't know how he pulled that off, but I liked it.
This genre of fantasy is not usually for the adult reader. It seems designed for fifteen year old boys whose experience of the world is restricted to Marvel comics and to yet more books like this one.
The basic premise is the old time-worn trope of coming of age and throne of naive boy surrounded by more of the same. The scenes move at an agonising pace in which time every conceivable emotion of the characters has to be teased out and described for an audience who has no experience of their own. Settings are tediously and minutely described to fill a book that, given a strict editor, could be rendered as a novella, or the whole tedious series turned into one passable novel.
Plot turns are guessable ten pages previous; the cliched dialogue could all be skipped in a book, less easy in a recording. Scenes where someone has to say, "But what I don't get is...." Then even more pedestrian explanations follow in the rare case that the reader missed something.
It is the role if a good editor to correct pace, cut description, hide the surprises and move the book along; this novel has had little editing - or if it has then the gods only know what a dreary and spun-out concoction it must have been! GIVE THIS ONE A WIDE BIRTH!
I liked this story. some parts dragged as the back story was developed but overall it kept my attention and I enjoyed the characters.
I am comparing here to the last two series I have listened to: Malazan and First Law. The writing in those series is considerably superior in my opinion. There is little "world building" as they call it here. At times the dialog is quite stilted or amateurish, the plot predictable and the characterization weak. The narration here is first rate - only one or two times where I was unsure in which character was speaking. I hear the books get better as they go which I suspect was a strategy by the author to get the series done (good enough first book allowing for speed and then followed by better sequels) but that is just a guess.
Honestly, this book just bored me to death. In the end, I could connect with the characters, and the plot line of inept main characters is one I'm tired of reading.
so long and seems so lacking in plot and action.
found myself restarting to figure out what was going on
"Enjoyable but flawed"
An enjoyable book but seems to take a long time to tell not much story, and one major character is strangely absent for most of the book whilst the others get a lot more time to be fleshed out.
Long book for so little happening. Cool last 3-4 hours but struggled to get there, very poor pace and interactions between characters is mundane at times.
"Formulaic and entirely predictable"
While it has its strengths this book is appallingly predictable. The plot twists are signaled in neon lights many chapters before they are revealed. Expert 'special forces' troops fail to draw obvious inferences and make ridiculous tactical decisions. Perhaps I'm good at guessing but the purpose and protagonist behind a grisly murder was obvious to me immediately but took the characters most of the book to resolve.
It's so entirely predictable that when one character praises another effusively and later turns out to be a traitor you know with absolute certainty the character being praised is a traitor too. So the 'shocking reveal' near the end of the book is more like boring confirmation.
It's not terrible, but neither is it very good, and there are very good fantasy novels out there.
great story..... loved the telling. .. Could picture it all. Can't wait for his other books
I wasn't sure what to expect when I bought this book as there had been mixed reviews. However, I picked this up on the daily deal and for the price of a cup of coffee 18 hours of listening time flew by. The characters and scene setting drew me in while keeping the fantasy setting believable and the narration was excellent. Can't wait to embark on the next instalment.
It was enjoyable. The first part of the story was slow. From the middle it became interesting. It was wonderful written and beautiful narrated.
I had no idea what to expect but am so glad I listened to this book. Everything is fantastic, the story, the twists the characterisation, the magic system. It's a simply outstanding fantasy piece. The only thing that threw me off a little was the head jumping in one of the chapters but it worked! Looking forward to reading more from this author and cant recommend this text enough!
"Fantastic, like a brutal Sanderson novel"
I cannot offer enough praise to this book. The plot changes course rapidly and without warning, the writing is incredible world beautiful my crafted.
The performance was great for the male characters and to be fair the female voices were good too, but unfortunately when one spoke after the other, lines start to blur a little. The accents were superb mind you.
"Absolutely loved it"
Absolutely loved it and will be starting the next one immediately. Brian Staveley has built a world that feels complete with its own history and lore while only hinting at it throughout. The narrative was rewarding and compelling with rich characters that were easy to invest in. While they were not all explored equally, I found myself equally gripped. For me it found the right balance between keeping the tension and switching between points of view to maintain the suspense but not torturing you with it and maintaining an exciting pace throughout. The narration was phenomenal too; Simon Vance does an amazing job of bringing so many characters from a plethora of backgrounds and regions within Brian Staveley's world to life. Fantastic dramatic performance and a must experience story for any fantasy fan.
"A Long Story"
A good tale, but overly descriptive and drawn out at times. Worth listening to as long as you have patience.
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