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The Emperor's Blades Audiobook

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

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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 (4423 )
5 star
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3 star
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4.4 (4074 )
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Story
4.6 (4078 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (23)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Brandon Canup 07-22-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really engaging story and well told."

    I immediately became enraptured in the story. As a stand alone it was excellent but now I'm dying to get the next in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wewagator 07-21-16
    Wewagator 07-21-16 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Had potential but blew it."

    The writer came up with an original story and interesting characters but was incapable of having them develop at all. Every time you thought they might grow, they didn't. Instead, they spent their time accidentally thinking in their heads for too long while people waited on them to respond to a basic question. They've all been training for years to be the best at their field and yet it's like they are complete novices that have learned nothing. I wanted to love this book and managed to stick around to the end but it just never improved and I left feeling like I'd wasted my time completely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    raymond springer 07-14-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best fantasy writer."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Emperor's Blades to be better than the print version?

    The reader is great. His skills engaged me throughout the entire novel. Very Happy.


    Any additional comments?

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I feel that anyone who gave under 4 stars was unfair. I have listened and read hundreds of fantasy novels. Brian Staveley is a professional. The characters are developed. The story and pros are spot on. The entire novel is engaging and without fluff. My new favorite writer for sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kent 07-08-16
    Kent 07-08-16 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Don't be fooled by this book like I was!"

    The story seemed shallow, the characters predictable and the plot simple.

    WRONG

    Hang in there - treat this book like an intro. I wanted to like the characters, but I ended up LOVING everything about this series. The story gets richer and richer, the characters are complicated, surprising and deep. The plot thickens, twists, thickens again.

    As a stand alone book, this is Average +. I rated it a "meh". However, books 2 and 3 of the trilogy take this introduction and weave a truly great story with tension, heartache, fear, triumph, hope and journey. This is one of my favorite series this year, and I constantly listen to audiobooks. Well worth the investment of credits and (most importantly) time.

    The narration is top notch. Couldn't ask for better voices for the characters and the story. Stellar performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kent Springfield, VA, United States 06-27-16
    Kent Springfield, VA, United States 06-27-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    164
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    88
    51
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    FOLLOWING
    14
    2
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    Story
    "Admirable start to a new trilogy"

    I listened to the audiobook - narrated impeccably by Simon Vance - and really enjoyed this book. Okay, I hate that it is clearly a bridge to the next story in the trilogy, but it ended well enough. Sure, there could have been more closure and finality...because just about every loose end stayed loose...but, that's the nature of a trilogy, I guess. There were some pretty interesting characters, and the interactions were mostly credible. My only real complaint was that, right at the end, a few things happened that were just not very satisfying for the reader. The buildup of some of the major conflicts were not really concluded (when at ALL!) with must satisfaction for the reader - with one semi-major storyline being concluded completely off-screen. Oh, and (naturally - it's book 1 of a trilogy!) an entire new can of WTF was opened in the final moments of the book. I may continue on with this series, but I've read some pretty feeble reviews about book 2. We'll see. But, if I do move forward, it will almost certainly be with the audiobook, which is also narrated by Simon Vance! All in all, it was certainly worth my time - it was an interesting story, with some fairly unique elements, and was told pretty well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Harms South Dakota 06-27-16
    T. Harms South Dakota 06-27-16 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    19
    2
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    0
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    Story
    "Slow start but still interesting"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This book is time well spent. It is very well written, and it was pretty evident that the author was attempting to set up a bigger story than a single book could hold. I would have appreciated more action in the the first three-quarters of the book, however. Also, the narrator tends to use the same voice for all the supervisory characters, which was annoying.


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

    The closes book I could place next to The Emperor's Blades is Blood Song, by Anthony Ryan. There is swordplay, light magic, and a sinister plot to be uncovered in both books.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Simon Vance?

    I thought Steven Brand did a fantastic job with Blood Song. I believe he would have done a better job with The Emperor's Blades.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MikeH 06-21-16
    MikeH 06-21-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story; a bit wordy and overly dramatic"

    It's a long story, and takes a while to reveal itself, but very unusual and intricate. I'm on to the second book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Laskowski 06-19-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    6
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good reading, decent writing, poor story."

    I had high expectations going into this after seeing the high ratings, but I was not a fan of the plot nor the lack of character development, and Valyn's story started alright, but as it nears the trial, it falls apart. It's hard to say exactly why it crumbles without including spoilers, but suffice it to say that while I don't mind HOW the story plays out, the way it is written and the general affect on Valyn's story going forward is very poor. Adare's story could have been completely omitted with almost no impact to the plot, and the meat of Kaden's story felt like it could have been told in half the time, but the length needed for Valyn's story would have unbalanced the story telling, so it was drawn out.

    I did enjoy parts of the book quite a bit, but the overall experience left me wanting. I just finished the Reckoners series, so maybe the change in story telling style and pace played a part, but if I compare the character development in this first book to the first book in the Reckoners or Mistborn series, it feels lacking.

    Lastly, I don't agree with the comparison to Song of Fire and Ice. They feel like entirely different books to me. Martin does a good job of weaving the treachery and misdirection, but too much of this book was predictable by comparison, and the characters less likeable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cliff 06-17-16
    Cliff 06-17-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great listen"
    Would you listen to The Emperor's Blades again? Why?

    I find a good book is easy to relisten in a year or two


    Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If possible.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John A. Adams 06-11-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Average fantasy story"

    the narrator was good, but the story was too predictable, and characters not all that interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • 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!

    13 of 13 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.

    9 of 9 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!

    5 of 7 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.

    16 of 18 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

    10 of 11 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!

    8 of 9 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
  • 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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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