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The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne: Book One [Format Kindle]

Brian Staveley

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Présentation de l'éditeur

The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . .

The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must prepare to unmask a conspiracy. His son Valyn, training for the empire's deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. And after several 'accidents' and a dying soldier's warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can act, he must survive the mercenaries' brutal final initiation.

The Emperor's daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father's murderer in the capital. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. Lastly Kaden, heir to the empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God's disciples teach their harsh ways, which Kaden must master to unlock ancient powers. But when an imperial delegation arrives, has he learnt enough to keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1913 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 593 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1447235827
  • Editeur : Tor; Édition : Main Market Ed. (16 janvier 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  486 commentaires
69 internautes sur 73 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Superb beginning 4 décembre 2013
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Spoiler Free Review from the advanced reading copy.

I read the free first seven chapters. I was hooked and luckily was able to acquire the ARC to read.

The story alternates chapters between the 3 children of the recently murdered Emperor who have been separated for about 8 years. Adare is the daughter who stayed near her father and learned the finance and political roles in the Empire. Valyn, a younger son, was sent away on the to join the elite military wing that ride giant black hawks. And the heir to the throne Kaden was sent far away to the edge of the empire to a monastery where he learns self-discipline.

Sounds like your typical fantasy novel -- The grown children are prematurely forced into difficult situations and have to succeed or fail. However, the execution of weaving between the 3 story lines while covering the larger story line of who killed the Emperor was brilliantly done.

While exploring the story lines, the world building (history, religions, creatures, surrounding cultures, "magic") is also intertwined in small increments that does not make it overwhelming. It seems the author has created an interesting world that this book explores pieces of. I'm hoping to see it expanded in the following books.

Interesting Characters
Well paced world building
Detailed action sequences that aren't confusing
A page turning ending where I should have gone to sleep but needed to finish
40 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Favorite fantasy novel in years 14 janvier 2014
Par Gamer123 - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This book reminded me why I love fantasy novels so much. “The Emperor’s Blades” is a fantastic debut from Brian Staveley that I believe is likely to be the best fantasy debut of the year and is inline with other recent favorites of mine like Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name of the Wind” and Joe Abercrombie’s “The Blade Itself.” That isn’t to compare it to either novel - it is a highly original take on all the themes that make a fantasy novel great and will be welcome to long time fantasy readers who have grown tired of more formulaic epic fantasies. Moral ambiguity, complex characters, difficult decisions, intrigue and a vividly imagined world make this fresh and unique. Fast pacing and a truly great prose style made the book go down easy and left me eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. This is a book that I will read several times as I plan to restart the entire series upon the release of each new book in the “Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne,” which is something I have only done for Robert Jordan (painful as it was for books 6-9) and George RR Martin.

The three children of the Emperor Sanlitun, Kaden, Valyn and Adare, all have to find their way in very different corners of the world after the death of their father. Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, is training at a remote, mysterious monastery where he is learning skills that seemingly have nothing to do with ruling an empire but are shaping his mind in powerful ways. Valyn is far away in the Kirin islands, training to be in the Kettral - the Navy Seals of the Annurian Empire. Adare has remained in Annur, living in the Dawn Palace, moving up the political ladder, trying to find her Father’s killer and engaging in a dangerous conflict with a powerful religious figure. The plots all slowly converge as each character has to overcome forces intent on destroying the Malkeenian line.

The arc of Valyn’s character and plotline is my favorite as his idealism is slowly burned away, but the character development for the 3 main plotlines are all good. Great supporting characters like Pyrre, a female assassin in the service of Ananshael, the God of Death, and villains like Balendin, one of Valyn’s fellow Kettral trainees who is a mage - a “leach” who wears an array of jewelry and clothing to conceal the “well” from which he draws his power, make for a richly textured book with a wide variety of well drawn characters. Above and beyond great character development; Staveley has created a compelling world reminiscent of the Eastern Roman Empire with a well thought out history where mysterious events from thousands of years ago increasingly impinge upon the present and begin to drive the multilayered plot. By the end of the book, it is becoming clear that the political intrigue surrounding the death of Sanlitun may soon become a sideshow. Great plotting, interesting characters, good development, phenomenal writing and a fascinating world make this a fantastic read. I read it in two days – it is a page turner. Highly, highly recommended.
64 internautes sur 74 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Decent but marred by several issues. Will still pick up book two. 22 février 2014
Par B. Capossere - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Have you ever noticed how sometimes your reading seems to fall into a recognizable pattern? Sometimes it’s an obvious similarity of plot, sometimes it’s one of character (I still fondly recall my Pre-20th Century Whore run of The Dress Lodger, The Crimson Petal and The White, Slammerkin—you should read all three if not in a row), sometimes it’s theme or mood. Lately, I seem to have been on a run of books-that-don’t-meet-potential. The newest member of the club is Brian Staveley’s The Emperor’s Blades, which though employing a lot of the same old same old genre tropes, had an intriguing premise and an interesting if relatively common structure. Being a fan of the genre, I don’t have any particular issue when an author chooses to work with the same elements so many others are, but once that choice is made, you really need to nail the execution, and unfortunately, The Emperor’s Blades felt as if it fell short of what it could have been.

It opens, as many such epics have, with “trouble in the Empire.” In this case, the Emperor has been murdered as part of what appears to be a larger conspiracy and in a few quick pages we’re introduced to his three children in their separate settings/roles. His heir, Kaden, has been sent away to study in a far-off, hidden mountain monastery (is there any other kind?) with a sect of discipline-crazed and koan-spouting monks (are there any other kinds?). The monastery is so far away, in fact, that Kaden will not learn of his father’s death until near the very end of the novel, so instead we’re focused on a mysterious creature killing animals in the vicinity, Kaden’s studies, and the eventual revelation of the real reasons the monks exist and why Kaden was sent there almost a decade ago. His brother Valyn, meanwhile, is in his final year of training to become a member of an elite fighting force (think Navy Seals or Rangers, save they fly missions on giant Roc-like birds). The training itself is brutal and even fatal at times, but the risk is even greater now as it appears someone is trying to kill Valyn as they did his father. Even amongst his small cadre of cadets, Valyn is unsure of whom to trust. Last, and in this case definitely least as she takes up far fewer pages, is the Emperor’s daughter Adare, the only one still in the capital city. Thanks to her father’s will, she is now a minister of the government, which is temporarily headed by a regent until her brother Kaden can be returned. Adare must try to deal with the apparent killer of her father, overcome the obvious lack of faith in her abilities from the other ministers (who look down upon her as a woman), and learn to deal with the regent, an up-and-coming general chosen by the ministers for his relative inexperience in politics.

Let’s start with the positives. I thought the premise—Emperor killed, plot against the children, did a nice job of lending a sense of urgency and suspense to the entire novel. It plays out most fully with Valyn on his island training setting, but does lend a background concern to Kadan’s scenes as well. Adare, meanwhile, seems not to be a target, which I thought was a bad choice in that it a) robbed her storyline of a lot of suspense beyond the political and b) seemed to make it a little too clear who was not, and perhaps who was, the villain in town.

Characterization was mixed. Valyn was the most fully rounded of the siblings, and many of the side characters in his section, save for the villains, were well formed, feeling like actual people. Many of them had secrets or are a bit gray, which helped maintain a level of suspense. Kaden was likable and I enjoyed his scenes, but he was a pretty typical young-and-rash-boy-who-doesn’t-understand-the-wisdom-of-his-elders sort of fantasy character. Adare is also likable, but similar to Kaden falls into a typical fantasy sort—bookish female of inner strength but lacking some confidence trying to prove herself in a world of men. Her relative lack of page time didn’t help her in this regard, and though I assume we will see a lot more of her in book two, she never came alive for me in The Emperor’s Blades.

The stock nature of characters continues with many of the side-characters in the non-Valyn strands, such as a taciturn stern monk with a quick disciplinary hand or a young impetuously disobedient thief. I could have lived happily with this (see my above re genre tropes), but it really became a detriment to the novel when it came to our villains, where we get a smarmy power-hungry priest and a smarmy arrogant and sadistic son of a powerful noble. This may be a personal quirk, but while I can get along with a blandly stock good character, I really want my villains to have some original oomph to them. Granted, our villains, in good epic form, have larger villains behind them, but still. My favorite character in the entire novel actually, was an assassin who only appears at the very end. Ironically enough, for an assassin pledged to the God of Death, she adds a welcome heaping of life to the book.

While on the topic of character, I have to add that I found myself a little disappointed in the portrayal of the female characters, with one exception. Adare, as mentioned, is a bit too stock and is so far at least given short shrift with regard to plot. Other women are either whores, victims of brutality (often both), or serve as a means to an end for the male characters (don’t want to give too much away here). I’m hoping for a broader portrayal in the sequel.

The plot, as mentioned, has a nice drumbeat of urgency and suspense to it, especially in Valyn’s section, often in and especially at the end of Kaden’s, and far less so in Adare’s. Unfortunately, the pleasure I mostly took in Valyn’s section was diluted at times by some implausible moments, and really undermined by a major segment involving the last and most dangerous part of his training. I won’t go into details so as to avoid spoilers, but none of it made any sense to me, from the training “session” itself to the characters’ choices to how it played out to the end result. I just kept thinking “but” or “C’mon!” or “Why would . . .? or “Why wouldn’t . . . “ It was one of the near-book-slamming moments of frustration that sometimes arises in reading. And I have to admit, I’m generally not a fan of the we-want-to-be-so-elite-we’ll-kill-our-trainees concept—I just don’t ever buy it. I had the same level of frustration toward the end in some of the climactic moments, but again, won’t expand on them.

The world building was solid, mostly done with side references to the larger world, save for some scenes in the capital. I liked that it isn’t the usual European medieval setting and we’re clearly going to see more of this world and I look forward to that. The prose is smooth and fluid and often sharply vivid (some might think too much so at times of violence). And I like the whole villain-behind-the-villain set-up, especially as I would imagine they’ll start to come into play much more in the sequel.

Despite the frustrations (which were high at times), I never considered not finishing. The two male characters were engaging, I enjoyed the level of suspense, and the writing was pretty strong. Which means I’ll pick up the second book, on the assumption that Staveley will improve on the issues that prevented The Emperor’s Blades from meeting its potential.
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Killer debut ranks among the best 23 janvier 2014
Par knehrke - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
What's not to like? The prose is great, the characters are intricately conceived and the plotting is tight. The Emperor's Blades ranks right up there with debuts from Sanderson, Weeks, and Brett, three of my favorite "new" authors, and should satisfy their legions of fans who are looking for something new. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Sharp...very sharp. 16 janvier 2014
Par C.E. - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Staveley has done a great job at crafting a world that roils in unrest. The titular Emperor has been murdered and his nation is pulling apart at the seams before his body is even cold. Who murdered him? Who wants the royal line to come to a brutal and quick end?

3 children of the emperor are all that stands between a sinister plot to destroy an entire nation and finding answers to questions that are almost impossible to ask. Valyn, the angry soldier sent away to join an elite fighting force and be a ruthless and efficient killer. His brother, next in line to the throne- Kaden has been sent to a far remote monastery to master the endless void and see what cannot be seen. And lastly, we have their sister- a mere woman who cannot sit on the throne, but has been perfectly placed by her father to one of the most powerful offices in the kingdom- Adare. She wants answers and will stop at nothing to get them. But are they the correct ones?

Staveley weaves the 3 narratives together deftly and creates a tapestry that holds itself together quite well. The stories are each unique and work well to tell the entire story. Friends are revealed in unlikely places and foes turn up when least expected. Through it all, I was excited and interested in the ending- how would it all wrap up? Where do we go from here? Who are the conspirators and the shadowy cabal intent on destroying the Annurian empire?

Epic fantasy has been done well with this book and I am very excited to see where Staveley will take these characters next. The ending was fitting and will serve as a great launching point for the future story, and I am sure he will handle it quite well with masterful touches. I enjoyed the book and the world created. It felt real and vibrant and unique. I will agree with some of the other reviewers that a listing of characters would be helpful as there are many introduced and sometimes keeping them all correct was a bit of a challenge. All in all, very well done and sure to be the start of a wonderful new fantasy epic.
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