• Of Kings and Killers

  • The Elder Empire: Sea, Book 3
  • By: Will Wight
  • Narrated by: Travis Baldree
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,932 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The stories of the Elder Empire are told in a unique way.  

If you’ve already listened to the other companion novels in the Elder Empire, then you know how this works. If not, you may wish to seek out those books for an explanation of how these parallel stories interact. Once you’re ready to proceed, here’s a glimpse of the road ahead....

Calder has been declared Imperial Steward, the official successor to the Emperor. He leads the Empire from the throne, just as he has always wanted.  

In their tombs, the Great Elders stir.  

The crack in the sky becomes more alarming by the day, so Calder and his loyal Imperialist Guilds seek a truce with their Independent opponents.  

Both sides know the Elders are the true enemy, but that does not make peace easy. Blood has been spilled already, trust is hard to come by, and the Guild Heads under Calder see him as little more than a figurehead.  

For civilization to survive, Calder must take the lead and prove himself to allies and enemies alike.  

But he is faced with an ancient Guild of spies and assassins led by the one woman who most wants him dead: Shera of the Gardeners.  

In the shadows, a woman plots to prolong a war. On the seas, a man works to end it.

©2020 Hidden Gnome Publishing (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Spectacular Vision, annoying execution

I can now say that I have read every will wight novel published this far, and his vision for this multiverse is really cool. That said, I think the experiment in the elder empire series was a mistake. while the world is fascinating, the plot and characters were a bit of a stretch for me, while the overlapping nature of the stories made many pivotal and interesting scenes in one trilogy boring and predictable in the next. rach series began as a kind of adventure story, about a swashbuckling sea captain and an assassin, these were stories I think worked very well, but as the characters were pulled into the political sphere of their world their actions and choices began to feel less justified. they seemed, for example, to care whether the common people followed the new emperor even though, from the audience's perspective, they contributed almost nothing to either the power of the emperor or the guilds. there was a guild war, but very little talk about what guilds wanted out of the whole deal outside of money, ora new Emperor. even the regents, who should have been major political pieces for every guild, were little more than particularly powerful warriors by the end of the books. this was a "political" story told the way you might tell an adventure story. less game of thrones and more full metal alchemist, if that makes sense. the political organization of the world lacked depth, mostly because there was little exploration of what any guild used to get, or to stay, in power, and while that has worked fine in Cradle, where power belonged to the most advanced sacred artist, so that all they needed to do to stay in power was flex their godlike powers, a world of guilds needed a more complex interplay of selfish and selfless motivations. the emperor is dead, every guild now has an opportunity, but also a risk, and the elders are coming. it would have been cool to see that.
the design of this series was its second, and far bigger flaw. shares side of the story was interesting, but not as good as cradle for the reasons mentioned above. (a high bar to hit). I've seen book series like this that explore events from another perspective, and I already know that two thirds of the book will be very boring, because I already know what happens. basically the only reason I read this is because will teased Ozriel and I had to hear more about that. having read it, I can say that I would have missed out on a very compelling story about calder and his wife, but because of the number of chapters I kept skipping through, I think this series would have been better served in a single "epic fantasy" multiple POV style like Sanderson or peter F Hamilton, than as two series about the same events.
all of that said, I did enjoy the series, both of them, and I loved the eldritch horror treatment of this part of the growing "cradle" multiverse. it was really quite fun, even as I skipped chapters. I dont regret buying or reading them at all, and cant wait for the next installment in calder's adventure, (though I'm way more excited about wintersteel) I just hope we get a more, normal, series out of the deal this time instead of this kind of dual series again. No matter how many authors do it, it just really doesnt work for me if I already know the ending.

11 people found this helpful

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Dear mr. Wight

Please write more... I don’t care if it’s about picking lint out of your bellybutton or whatever it will probably still be awesome. I never thought I’d read someone who could compete with Brandon Sanderson but I was very very wrong. Thanks for sharing your imagination with the rest of us and taking our money. Don’t shut up and do take my money.

Ps Yay Ozrielle

3 people found this helpful

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Pitstop or Jackpot

I know many fans of of the Cradle series have been annoyed at this pitstop on another world. But personally I find this series to be the perfect detour from Cradle. In fact it remains a great compliment to the whole universe and explores many of the same themes in a complete different style with all the action, drama and twists that Will Wight has been perfecting. I somehow feel when I go back to read book 10 in the Cradle series next, this journey with Calder and Shera will have only made things better. This pitstop is a jackpot that should refuel any fan of Cradle as Will moves in to his big finale.

2 people found this helpful

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Where’s the rest?

I had no idea I would become a Will Wight fan, but here I am powering through each collection with 1 left to go. I love the tie in, it makes the story feel so much deeper. But I’m left feeling like there was more story to tell. Im sincerely hoping this ending was just a cliffhanger to leave the door open for more. I have to know if Shuffles succeeded in awakening Calder & where Bliss’ attentiveness is going!

1 person found this helpful

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best of the 3

this was the best of the 3 books. if you compare this to cradle you will be disappointed. this is a good story but not the best from Will.
I love the narration. Travis does a great work. he is one of my favorite narrators.

1 person found this helpful

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Astounding!

While I know this story is over, I would love to see a continuation. There's just so much depth to this world, and the characters are so compelling, that I could easily imagine several more books. Perhaps about the founding of the empire? Or the origin of the other regents? Or perhaps... the origin of the world itself?

Wight is the most inspiring story teller I've encountered in quite some time, and his stories are pretty much made for Travis Baldree to read them.

Oh, and I want more Shuffles.

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  • H
  • 04-21-22

Interesting

I need to preface this by advising this was my first read in the series,, actually listened via audible. The story was well written but does contain familiar elements. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because I felt going from say 3 years ago to present day then to 3 years ago is a way of telling a good bit of history without having to do a full development of the past timeline. Even with that small detraction I would recommend giving it read.

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Slack-jawed.

I love this. Complex and intricate story telling that in no way looses sight of the emotional impact of the decisions being made. The early is so well built and the characters are an intimate part of that construction.
The narration is just brilliant.
I can't wait to read the final installment.

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Amazing

This whole series and it's partner series have been fantastic. they're well written and the narrator does a wonderful job.

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Fun, but not as good as the other books in the series

This book was a fun listen, but not as good as the other books in the series. It didn’t seem to quite link together well. Love the whole series in general though.