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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 (5607 )
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4.6 (5183 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Patrick Ontario, Canada 03-05-14
    Patrick Ontario, Canada 03-05-14 Member Since 2016

    I'd rather listen to a good fantasy over again than waste time with bad fantasy.

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    "Doesn't deserve 4.5 stars"

    The book is fine but like most ratings on audible is definitely overrated. Book feels disjoint and through most of the book I did not care about any of the characters.

    15 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin Silver Spring, MD, United States 02-24-14
    Benjamin Silver Spring, MD, United States 02-24-14 Member Since 2010

    Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Quickly Addictive. Great First Novel!"

    This novel starts a little slow and pretty conventional, but heats up quickly. It wasn't long before I was listening to it every free moment I had.

    The early plot involves two royal brothers, each sent away as youths for training, one to a monastery and the other to Air Assault Ninja School. That in itself seems like a pretty derivative beginning, but the brothers are quickly dunked in intrigue when their father dies. The action, plotting and mystery remain pretty thick for the rest of the story. The main characters are put into many different challenging and life-threatening situations which move the story along. Also, since you keep switching back from one brother to the other at suspenseful points in the narrative, it is really difficult to find a good place to put the book down.

    Staveley does an excellent job of keeping you on your toes. You are never allowed to get comfortable in your expectations. There are twists in this book, but the artful part of the twists are that some of them aren't twists at all.

    The supporting characters are very well described. But for a few character traits, the main characters are written a little bit blank. Vance does an excellent job bringing them all to life. He is so good I will make special point of seeking out his narrations in the future.

    I would recommend this book to any fantasy fan. The foibles of being conventional disappear quickly and are easy to forgive when you realize your being drawn into an exciting fantasy mystery.

    16 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 02-01-14
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 02-01-14 Member Since 2010

    MTF

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    "Fun and riveting fantasy novel!!!"

    A friend steered me to this novel, knowing that I rarely read fantasy (The Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings is about it). I was skeptical about it, but gave it a shot. The plot follows the two son's of the emperor who have been sent away from home, one to train as a monk and one as a soldier. The rebellion against the emperor touches both. From the start, I was in awe of the great writing. Descriptive scenes that might be boring in other books were impressive and entertaining here. The similes and metaphors made me smile throughout the story and helped make this fantasy world come alive. I have listened to the first three books in the Game of Thrones series, and I liked The Emperor's Blades even more. Why? Better writing, tighter plot, and more action. I liked the mystery element to this novel, too. It is equal to Game of Thrones in imagination. Staveley's characters are not as memorable as the best in The Games of Thrones, but that is the only area he fell short. That said, by the end of The Emperor's Blades, a number of characters had begun to come alive to me. I liked that there was just a touch of magic in this, making success rely mostly on human ingenuity. I finished this novel about three hours ago, and still feel a part of me remains in that fantasy world. My biggest disappointment is that I have to wait until the sequel is published!

    25 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JPaladin 11-07-14
    JPaladin 11-07-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Childish, but fun (said with some guilt)"

    While not fully YA, it is heading in that direction. It is an action romp that tries to break free of the tried and true fantasy story-line, but doesn't really succeed.

    If you are looking for great fiction, look on. If you are looking for escapist fantasy fiction, you've found one.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Windermere, FL, United States 01-20-14
    Stephen Windermere, FL, United States 01-20-14 Member Since 2010
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    "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!

    22 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Wellesley, MA, United States 01-20-14
    David Wellesley, MA, United States 01-20-14
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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.

    23 of 38 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 a cop, 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
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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
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    "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.

    38 of 72 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Fredrick 07-03-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Great Story!"

    All around very enjoyable audiobook! The main characters are well done, believable, and you quickly find yourself engrossed in their stories. The main plot of the story's universe isn't exactly super original, but it has enough tweaks that it is still interesting and brimming with potential. Going to start the next book immediately!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 06-26-17
    David 06-26-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Kent Kissing Great!"
    What did you love best about The Emperor's Blades?

    Simon Vance brings this story to life with such passion and brilliance, he makes this unusual and captivating story so alive! I'm listening to it for the second time and loving it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters' believability, their exchanges, and the easy way they were able to be visualized in my mind.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    Hard to say... Each sibling had their own depths of heroic qualities. They all used them in their fullest. It's like asking which kind of blade you like the most when they are all honed to their own unique perfections... Triste too is amazing, as well as the Skulls Worn woman. And then I also loved Kaden's warrior monk.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh more than cry, but I did feel the loss of lynn. I also learned to hate the evil ones with a lots of gusto.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the vivid dialog between the Ketrel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Mark
    Sittingbourne, Kent, United Kingdom
    2/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very entertaining"
    What made the experience of listening to The Emperor's Blades the most enjoyable?

    The narrator


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Emperor's Blades?

    When one of the main characters died


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    The differing voices


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    An Empire in turmoil, three siblings battle to save.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Hans-Åke
    12/20/15
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    "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 5 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    12/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a good start"

    Start of a series so dont expect much closure but a good start all the same

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Chef
    7/2/17
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    "Simon Vance one of the best to listen to. ."

    good story read by one of my favourite readers.
    can't wait to listen to the next 2 books

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss Lorraine Ezra
    6/30/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great narration"

    Overall I really liked this book. It was a little slow in places but was great.
    Also the narrator was amazing!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Derfel C
    5/30/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic!"

    This was an excellent and a most original story and I recommend it most highly!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jay
    4/28/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good book"

    I enjoyed the book it was a little slow to start for my taste but the intrigue in the story line is enough to keep you going till it kicks off big time

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Craig
    4/26/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good"

    It was a good listen and a good story I will be getting the next on .I do recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Magnus
    3/4/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Solid story with a straight forward plot"

    I liked the pace of the story and the characters where good and varied. A good solid story but I must say that the plot, however much I actually liked it, weren't the deepest I have come across. But overall a fine tale and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bookworm
    Dorset in England
    2/28/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Tale Of Empire, blood, faith & skill"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. I hadn't read this author before but would now recommend him.


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

    not initially, but after a while, I couldn't turn it off.


    Any additional comments?

    If you've read The Sword of Truth, Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones etc this series will seem familiar to you. It's part of the Sword wealding fantasy line that seem so popular. <br/>But, while familiar, there's enough of a difference to keep you reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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