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Publisher's Summary

The first three novels in New York Times best-selling author Peter V. Brett's groundbreaking Demon Cycle series - The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, and The Daylight War - set a new standard for heroic fantasy. The powerful saga of humans winnowed to the brink of extinction by night-stalking demons, and the survivors who fight back, has kept listeners breathless. Now the thrilling fourth volume, The Skull Throne, raises the stakes as it carries the action in shocking new directions.

The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty. Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all. But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.

In the south, Inevera, Jardir's first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing each other and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne. In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late. Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton - rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest. All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared....

©2015 Peter V. Brett (P)2015 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 2 Stars
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Performance

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  • 2 Stars
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Story

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  • 2 Stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • MissRed
  • Aurora, Colorado, United States
  • 04-05-15

Hm

A little let down, thought this 4th installment would be such an epic...but I felt the over abundance of sexual situations a bit distracting. I also felt that the story didn't really grab me until about 3 hours until its conclusion. The previous three had my attention after a single chapter in. I'll still await the next installment, but am a bit disappointed with the lack of dramatic developments. Less bad ass more politics; and political fantasy novels have never been a favorite of mine. :( aw well. Performance was stellar as usual though!!!

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • Falls Church, VA, United States
  • 04-06-15

Does little to move the overall story along

Bottom Line: if you liked Robert Jordan’s meanderings, you will love this book. I however, was not a fan because this book did not move the overall story along. If some of the stories from this book were standalone novellas, they would be great. As a part of an overall series, however, there is little here of value.

I really liked the Warded Man. It was a great book. It was fast-paced and told an interesting story in an interesting setting. But the book created some false promises for the series—that the series would be fast-paced and focused on the survival of the human race. But instead of focusing on fulfilling the implicit promises of the Warded Man, we have a book focused on ancillary characters. As a result, there is little momentum and drive and little suspense. When it became clear that the main storyline wasn’t going anywhere, I ceased to care about the rest of the book because that part of the story didn't matter that much. Who cares if characters lived or died they will not have an impact on the larger story—the story I was invested in since the Warded Man?

This book didn’t need to exist as a standalone novel. Even though it is 700 pages long, very little happens in the overall story. It would have been much better as a couple ancillary novellas.

The narration of the story was quite good. I really like Pete Bradbury's work here.

39 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Filler book

What was most disappointing about Peter V. Brett’s story?

The story does not progress. It's like Brett read Game of Thrones and has tried to turn into Martin. This book is just an introduction of random new characters, weird sex depictions, and a political drama. Which, like Martin, has pointless death of a main character. I have listened to books 1-3 twice now but, will never listen to this again, and will recommended that other fans don't as well. Save your credit and your love of the series for the next book.

32 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Just pretend the series will be books 1,2,3 and 5

Would you try another book from Peter V. Brett and/or Pete Bradbury?

Sure: PVB's first three in the series were fantastic, and I'll certainly be on board for book 5. This one was just 10% good and 90% space-filler. That space filler wasn't necessarily bad, but it failed to build to much of anything, as though the author couldn't come up with satisfying sub-plots to climax in this book and the really interesting ones couldn't be resolved until further plot developments that really shouldn't be revealed until book 5.

What was most disappointing about Peter V. Brett’s story?

Lack of movement in the overall plot. The opening chapters show great promise, and then for most of the book it's like they didn't happen. **Spoilers** Ahman, Arlen & co. capture the mind demon, and then basically do nothing with it for weeks, with no explanation why Jardir doesn't either insist they sh*t (go to the core) or get off the pot (return to his people and stop what he acknowledged as likely civil war). Rojer get's killed for no real (plot-driven) reason, and his wive's, with their training previously showing them as nigh-unstoppable in physical or magical match-ups, are ineffective in both arenas. Thamos decided to fight a truly idiotic battle despite the fact that winning was based solely on the element of surprise, and before battle begins he knows the plan has been found out and traps set for his army. The overall lack of real movement in the story arch and these contradictions really made this an unsatisfying entry in the series.

Which character – as performed by Pete Bradbury – was your favorite?

Bradbury was fine, all of his voicings smooth and believable, but nothing really memorable about any particular character.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Almost skipped but glad I didn't

Would you listen to The Skull Throne again? Why?

Yes. I've enjoyed all books in this series and there was a lot that had happened in this book that I am sure I could get more out of a second time around.

Any additional comments?

After reading all of the negative reviews or this book being "filler" or a "let down" I had prepared myself for this story have little substance. However as the story progressed I found myself thinking that it was exactly what I would expect for the next installment of the series. This book has a lot more character development of people other than Arlin which I really enjoyed (although Arlin and Jardir definitely play their own role in this as well). I'm not sure if people were disappointed that the focus was spread from Arlin to other characters such as Leesha, Rojer (and his wives), and Inevera. I really don't see how anyone would expect an action series like this that has already introduced many key characters and set up two warring nations without expecting further development. There is a lot more political plots than in previous books, but once again I don't see how you could expect this not to be present. I also have seen a few complaints about too much romance in this book, but I rolled my eyes more at Leesha and Jardir's relationship in the last book than I did during this whole story. While I normally find romance in books unnecessary, I really didn't not find it distracting in this book.

All in all, I wish that I did not let the reviews dissuade me or else I would have read this book much sooner. I enjoyed this book as much as the previous in this series.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Filler and boredom.

This book does not deliver on any of the promise of the last book, skip it.
It feels like the author decided he needed to stretch the series and packed this books with chapter after chapter of unnecessary characters and dithering.

24 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • K
  • SAINT PETER, MN, United States
  • 05-10-15

A whole lot of filler

Not even sure if this was worth a credit. As many others have commented, not much happens to move along the story. The book easily could've been a quarter of the length and it wouldn't have sacrificed anything relevant. Not sure why Brett continues to drag out the story but it's a big deviation from the first two books and not in a good way.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Louis
  • Cincinnati OH
  • 04-04-15

Missed the mark

Would you try another book from Peter V. Brett and/or Pete Bradbury?

The other books in the series were good and moved the story forward. I didn't feel this book moved the overall story forward nor did it really fill in any gaps. The other books covered years where I believe this book covered several months. The narrator did a great job as always.

Would you be willing to try another book from Peter V. Brett? Why or why not?

I will read the next book because the overall story is good as along as the story isn't drawn out just to put more books in the series. Its one thing to have a long series with a good story line, its another to just ramble on to make the book long.

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

Yes. As I said before the narrator did a great job as always.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

I enjoy the back stories of the main characters and have enjoyed the previous books in this series. I just feel this book fell short of the mark compared to the other books in this series.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fun and frustrating

Any additional comments?

The book starts off great, his jumping from character to character can be agitating at best and infuriating at worst when the focus on characters that have never held a main part and are just thrown in so he has some one to kill off. As the book progressed it was like he felt the need to emulate how game of thrones reads with rampant death and chaos. Rather than following his own the progression of the main characters, he takes other characters that have been minor parts to the forefront. This would be fine except they are not there to carry over to other books but are filler. Half of the book could have been covered with minimal explanation for what happens with these characters and he could have focused more on the main characters. Then he puts in a nasty twist at the end. You won't be pleased. If you Like game of thrones then this might be a good filler book while waiting on that but it is a drastic change of focus and writing progression from his first 3 books.

I might not get any more of his books if this change in writing is going to be the new normal. I enjoy game of thrones but I don't like it when a writer feel the need to take up that style of story direction in the middle of an establish series.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Steve
  • Fletcher, NC, United States
  • 05-04-15

This Isn't Getting Better

So, I first got into The Warded Man because of an article about the book being written on the author's Blackberry--I'm starting to regret buying into the novelty. Brett just seems like he's running out of gas here. From the thinly veiled political opinions to the increasingly insulting analog for Islam to the even more thinly veiled truth that religion is a lie (not all things I disagree with, just things I don't need in a fantasy novel) the absolutely horribly written songs --I care less and less about these characters as the story goes on. Brett even tries his hand at GRRMing some characters onto the lonely path but does so only after making sure it's impossible to care about either one. The cheeseball cliffhanger ending didn't help things much either. It'll have to be a really slow month next year to make me pick up the next one of these. The one remote bright spot is Pete Bradbury's performance which is enthusiastic and not at all cloying or irritating for most of the novel. Bradbury's reading of the songs though is another story. Just ugh in genera.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful