CHARACTERS ¿ The Emperor's Blades


10 thoughts on “The Emperor's Blades

  1. says:

    welp 1 hella anachronisms like concrete used as a metaphor for solid as though they have industrial chemical engineering in this universe? see the thoughtful comments for how i'm wrong and how i'm right for being annoyed about this but the funniest was the smart money like there's a las vegas betting line in this universe also2 repetition a book this big they're bound to miss some but sometimes it was the same hundred word thing explained in the exact same terms two chapters later because the chapter in between was in a different POV and what if we forget?3 how are you gonna write these fucking gigantic militarized birds that define this particular military order we spend most of the book following but not properly describe them until like 68 percent into the book? it's the beaky smudge in the misty background of the cover in case you were wondering4 this one's hardly a surprise given the recent history of the great american doorstopper—but man what a disappointingly het male gaze every woman's body is lavishly described unlike those bigassed birds also they're always either hysterical or cold as ice—from princesses to assassins to whores i shit you not if they are female they are either super upset or frigid—but either way an aaaaaaawful lot of words go into speculating about their bodies as a result i swear i know what every titty in this book looks like5 all three heroes spent the majority of the story as dumb as cows despite having things explained to them at length by people with a conversational grasp of three millennia of world history for pages and pages at a time this one scene a thing one of them had eight years to wonder about didn't even occur to him until right before it became a big ol' plot point6 there's a badass gay person in it but the way they're written sorry it reads like this author thought he was doing somebody a favor when other characters find out they're like WAIT WUT IDGI WHAT IS GAY OMG IS LIKE ANCIENT SORCERY??? also The Gay is female so of course i am exuisitely aware of her lovely slim girlish figure and COLD AS ICE demeanor and 'm telling you there's no way she doesn't totally still want the D—fistbump brah7 speaking of slim dude—whaaaaaaaaaat is with the fatphobia? why is every chubby fuck in the book a repulsive villain or gleeful apparatchik of corruption? well—to be fair—there was this one fat kid who seemed pretty nice and not that disgusting at all except we didn't get to know him very well on account of view spoilerHIS EXISTING ONLY TO BE INCONVENIENTLY OUT OF SHAPE DURING A GETAWAY AND THUS BRUTALLY MURDERED BY MEANS OF HAVING HIS FAT THROAT SLIT SO AS TO ALLOW THE SLIM KIDS TO ESCAPE UNENCUMBERED BY HIS DANGEROUS FATNESS hide spoiler


  2. says:

    Rabid Fangirl Mode ACTIVATEDHave you ever read a book that’s so far above all others that it makes you want to go change your ratings for everything else you’ve ever read in that genre? Yeah that I had a huge review for this written and ready to go I talked about the incredible characterization the complexity of the plot the gorgeous writing and the mind blowing way that they were all executed And you know what? I can’t post it It doesn’t do this book justice So for now I’ll say thisSome authors are simply writers; they take words and put them down on the page Some authors are poets; they take those words and twist them around into beautiful prose Then some authors like this author are weavers They take those words and that beautiful prose and work them into immensely complicated storylines These lines become the thread with which they knit their books into creation They stitch them to and fro as they weave a literary tapestry and while reading you get mere glimpses of the pattern they’re creating Only at the end is the grand design revealed and when it is you can do nothing but sit back and wonder at the beauty in front of you Thank you Mr Staveley for reminding me of ALL the reasons that I love to read This book kept me on the edge of my seat This book gave me actual adrenaline rushes This book was unputdownable This book blew my fucking mind Favorite Fantasy book of the yearmaybe even everMore to come if I can figure out some way to do this justiceBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


  3. says:

    Buddy read with The ueen of the Unhewn Throne Melanie Thank you Mel for such an amazing BR; you made my reading experience much better Before I start my review feast your eyes upon the gorgeous cover arts of the books in this trilogyTo be honest I knew next to nothing about the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne when I started reading it The series has gorgeous cover arts both US UK editions and I’ve heard some terrific praises from my trusted friends on Goodreads That was enough to make me enthusiastic about the trilogy and it suffices to say that The Emperor’s Blades Brian Staveley’s debut managed to meet my expectation superbly Staveley used to teach history religion and philosophy for ten years before writing this debut novel and it’s evident from the narrative that Staveley knows his material strongly before he implemented themThe story—like a place in the book called Hook—managed to hooked see what I did there? me into immediately from the first three chapters Written in multi third person limited narration the plot in this debut starts out simple; The Emperor’s Blades—the emperor’s three offsprings—are sent away to train in different areas of the world by the Emperor himself for the sake of securing the future of the Annurian Empire Of course an unforeseen event it’s written in the blurb if you want to know occurred and things spiraled out of control uickly from there This is where the story begins and I’ll leave the rest for you to find out for yourself The Emperor’s Blades is an adult military fantasy filled with philosophy faith politics conspiracies mystery and coming of age aspects depending on whose perspective you’re reading from and most importantly they’re all incredibly well writtenWhile it’s true that the plot for me was intriguing the pacing can be a bit too slow at times This didn’t bother me at all because I found the main character’s—especially Kaden and Valyn—storyline to be captivating The Emperor’s Blades do however reminded me of The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie in terms of pacing and structure; what I meant by this is that this first book felt like a buildup for the seuelsThe Emperor’s Blades as I mentioned earlier are The Emperor’s three offspring which is also the three main characters of the novel In my opinion the world building the characterizations and the writing were the most important points of this book and whether or not you’re going to enjoy reading this novel will be decided heavily based on how much you love them The Emperor’s Blades is a definitively character driven story; throughout the whole book we’ll be following the story exclusively from the POV of the three main characters Kaden Valyn AdareKaden—at 17 years old—is the youngest son and also the Heir to the Unhewn Throne of the Emperor sent away to train with the Shin monks in the mountains Frankly speaking this marked the first time I read a monk main character’s POV in a fantasy novel and I found it to be such a refreshing experience It’s often encountered in a high fantasy novel that the heir to the throne will either be someone well learned in politics or skillful in combats usually accompanied by a charismatic presence; Kaden is none of these Kaden’s POV is where most of the religious philosophical discussion shines The teaching of the monks seems to be inspired by Buddhism but Staveley added a few twists to it especially in their methods of training and punishments However above all the Shin monks value discipline calmness and vaniate— a state of emptiness—the most I highly enjoyed reading Kaden’s story in this volume and I have a feeling he will shine further in the seuel “Fear is blindness calmness is sight” Valyn—at 18 years old—is the second son of the Emperor who was sent away to train with the Kettral—the deadliest fighting force in the Annurian Empire Personally speaking Valyn was hands down my favorite POV character in the bookPicture The front cover to the Hungarian edition of The Emperor’s Blades featuring Valyn hui’Malkeenian and a kettral at the backI totally loved Valyn’s POV; he’s the best out of the three main characters His story was engaging full of mysteries wonderfully paced and the focus on his training to become a Kettral was thoroughly engrossing The military fantasy element of the novel was highlighted from Valyn’s POV chapters and there was also a huge amount of relatable philosophical passages Not only Valyn and his companions in Kettral rides a flying gigantic bird called kettral for war and transportation but the implementation of magic the realistic and believable military training the conspiracies the assassinations the forming a team called Wings and also the wonderfully well written side female characters—Gwenna Ha Lin Annick—to care for do exist in his chapters; everything in Valyn’s POV just worked for me Additionally Valyn also has the most spotlight and it understandably made his character developed comparatively “Leadership isn't just about giving orders A fool can give orders A leader listens He changes his mind He acknowledges mistakes” Finally we have Adare—at 21 years old—as the first daughter and the only one who remains in Annur to control the politics of the Empire Unfortunately I have to say that Adare’s POV fell short for me and it wasn’t because I didn’t care for her—after all the politics were thrilling— character but it was her lack of appearances—she has only five short chapters out of a total of fifty chapters—that bothered me Her lack of spotlight made her an underdeveloped character especially when she’s supposed to be one of the main characters The female side characters in Valyn’s POV actually have development and distinction compared to Adare Speaking of minor issues with the book and this is probably just a small pet peeve of mine I did find the naming choices of Kettral and kettral to be a bit odd and confusing at first I mentioned earlier that Valyn is training to become a Kettral the deadliest force of the Annurian Empire and yes Kettral is a memorable name but the fact that the giant bird the Kettral ride is called kettral—without the capital letter—as well took some time for me to get used toFortunately these were the only minor issues I had with the book and overall they didn’t diminish my enjoyment too much Brian Staveley’s prose—although there were a few repetitive phrases—was terrific and the world building felt immersive and vivid The world building has a flavor of Asian culture and I loved how the lore culture and setting of the world was implemented gradually together with the plot There’s no info dump; we learn about the world and characters with each chapter progressed The Emperor’s Blades is a ‘Kent kissing’ awesome debut I’m so excited to be diving into the seuel The Providence of Fire as soon as possible A lot of necessary foundation has been laid out for the seuel and it’s safe to say that the uality of the narrative lives up to the uality of the gorgeous cover artsYou can order the book from Book Depository Free shippingYou can find the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewingMy Patrons Alfred Alya Annabeth Devin Hamad Jimmy Nutts Joie Mike Miracle Nicholas Zoe


  4. says:

    I better love this because my dad bought it for me and girls of all ages want to love a book their dad bought ❤️Okay so it wasn't a 5 start review but I still liked the book I will admit the book is full of a lot of arseholes that are evil I really hope I will enjoy the next two books in the trilogy I want to see what's going to happen with this family And I'm sure the books will be full of evil arseholes Oh and I want to have my own bird to ride 😄Just sayin' Mel ❤️


  5. says:

    I'm sorry to my co blogger Brandi and all my other friends and non friends who gave this book five stars Which is basically everyone I won't play stupid I can see why fans of epic fantasy might like this book and I admit to being picky when it comes to the traditional fantasy genre And I'll also say that I can see on some level that this book is well written I say on some level because I judge uality of writing not only by the author's ability to spin a nice phrase but also by their ability to write a compelling and engaging plotThat was missing for meI suppose I should also mention that I didn't read the last uarter and I'd already started skim reading by the third uarter So maybe just maybe the last part of the story takes a turn for the epic and would have kicked my indifference for this book right where it hurts But I don't have the patience or the reading time to waste on finding out What I did read was and I'm sorry again to all the book's fans so so fucking boringActually no I'll give credit where it's due the prologue was fantastic It was a short brutal and horrifying opening that had me feeling glad I'd taken a chance on the book It was all downhill from there So as I said I am so so picky when it comes to “epic fantasy” my attention span isn’t a great partner for the generally slow pacing of these kinds of books But I've found ones to love like The Name of the Wind and Half a King so there's always some hope left for mePart of me wants to say this book is slow because hell did it feel like it But stuff was constantly happening Action scenes were freuent and bloody People died Others were betrayed Secret feelings of love are revealed Everything is at stake and I just didn't care The action scenes were so dry and lacking in suspense Sure they had gory descriptions; but there was zero investment in the story or characters on my partThe three protagonists all have their own stories to tell and despite the differences between their individual experiences and situations I could hardly tell them apart They never moved me never got me to care I'm already forgetting about them And even though the book is made up of constant scenes of action the actual main plotline had made hardly any progress by the halfway point of the novel The new emperor was still stuck in the same place he was at the beginning I felt like I was trying to wade through thick mud while reading this bookWith such a high average rating and a million dazzling reviews from my trusted friends it seems it must just be me But I couldn't stop my eyes from running ahead on the page and wanting it to just be overOh well shrugs


  6. says:

    Reviewed by Rabid ReadsApologies in advance for the length but it couldn't be helped I loved and hated parts of this book eually and that means long shrugs awkwardly Our story opens with a horrific prologue in which a bunch of immortal Vulcans on steroids meaning they don't respect other lifeforms are exterminating their diseased children bc they're1 Afflicted with the physical rot of age2 Brains are likewise rotting bc FEELINGSBasically bc they're humanFast forward a few thousand years far enough that the unaging race of logic monsters is nothing than a myth and our story is mostly told from the alternating perspectives of two brothers both the sons of the Emperor both sent away as boys to train but to different places for entirely different purposesKaden the heir is sent to live with a bunch of monks Presumably to learn discipline humility etcWhen we meet him he's on year eight of the ten assigned and bc I'm a fool of a Took I didn't immediately make the connection between the emptiness taught by the monks and the aforementioned logic monsters Suffice it to say I was than a little bit disturbed that our future leader was being groomed by a bunch of religious CRAZIES zealots whose main goal was to achieve a twisted version of Enlightenment As it turned out there was a good reason but I didn't know that thenAnd that was on top of the brain eating monster SPIDERS that had recently begun to plague the livestockNow would be a could time to discuss a couple of my PEEVES1 I hate structured religious orders in fantasy They're boring Warrior Priests Paladins etc are bad enough but these guys don't even fight It's like being stuck in some Buddhist monastery but without the childlike simplicity and joy of the Dalai Lama bc these monks are all about the corporeal punishment2 I HATE SPIDERS ALL spiders Even the ordinary teeny tiny brown ones How do I feel about giant maybe INTELLIGENT brain eating spiders? SO A lot of personal hurdles for me laterFortunately Valyn's POV seemed my style It started well enough I do love my assassins so being stuck on the Assassin Island of Training which just happens to be right next to OutlawPirate Island was an excellent break from the monotony monasteryAnd as frustrating as it was I appreciated that Valyn wasn't the BEST He's been beaten bloody dozens of times by Yurl the superior fighter and Bad Guy He was soundly defeated in his pre Trial match He's resigned to lose to Annick in his sniper test bc he recognizes that she's better than he is Such obstacles should allow his intelligence his ability to strategize the leadership potential we keep hearing about shine BUT Instead he seems emotional and prone to drawing rash conclusionsWhich brings me to my next peeve There are two main schools of thought in regard to character development1 Begin with flawed characters who make mistakes but learn from them thus developing through shared experiences2 Begin with competent characters and develop them by slowly revealing key details about their past so the reader feels like she's getting to know themI infinitely prefer the second option I have no patience for characters making stupid decisions and slooooooowly learning the hard way Give me insight into whatever made them who they currently are bc this kind of thing It is no slight to you Baxter Pane had argued staring at her with those rheumy eyes of his but women are not suited to the Ministry They are toofickle too easily transported by their emotions Adare swallowed a curse And here I am allowing myself to be transported by my emotions Oh hello Adare impulsive firstborn daughter of Emperor Nice to meet you Maybe we'll see you again in another dozen POV changes and you can do some other fool thing to make me not like you But as irritating as it was to watch Adare do the thing she knew she shouldn't be doing bc just couldn't help it? Valyn was who really made me lose my mind “Off the bird Laith” Valyn snapped “Now” He wasn’t angry at his Wing They were playing by the book playing it safe but there was no benefit to a pointless standoff with a dozen Aedolians Except there WAS Then he laments his reckless behavior In his eagerness to save his brother he had led his Wing directly into harm’s way had ignored the signs spurned sensible caution and now unless he figured some way to cut them all loose they were going to die here in the shadow of an unnamed mountain at the end of the world YEP He did all those things But did he learn his lesson?NOPE For as long as he could remember he’d tried to weigh his options to think before acting to make the wise choice It had all ended in ashes So you see Not only does he not learn his lesson he forgets there's a lesson to learn He even convinces himself that he's exercised caution in the past which I can assure you he hasn't And that last uote? It's from 91% Other problems1 50ish% of the plot twists were obvious as soon as the foundation was laid Of the remaining 50ish% most took the next most obvious path There were only one or two things I didn't guess by the second try2 Despite the obviousness of what was going on the characters kept right on scratching their heads At times these obvious things were even stated OUT LOUDview spoiler “So let’s get this straight” Gwenna said shaking her head “Some poor bastard on a ship tells you the Kettral are trying to kill you Then Manker’s collapses Then it seems like Annick tries to drown you Then Annick shoots you in the shoulder” “Annick shows up a lot in this story” Laith added Huh So she does I wonder if IT'S A SETUP hide spoiler


  7. says:

    This reading experience was something that I'll never forget This world truly is a uniue take on epic fantasy and uickly became one of my favorite immersions Among all the action twists and turns this book somehow became one of the most addicting things I've read in a long time I never wanted to put it down and I'm currently deciding if I'm going to ignore my TBR and pick up The Providence of Fire immediately after I post this review This is a story about the Emperor's three children all living very different lives and all having very different points of viewKaden The Emperor in waiting training with monks that are secluded in the far off mountains “Believe what you see with your eyes trust what you hear with your ears; know what you feel with your flesh The rest is dream and delusion” Adare Minister of Finance living in the capitol and not knowing who to trust “Men tend to die when you slide steel beneath their skin and wiggle it around Even priests” Valyn Cadet training to become a Kettral which is a very high rank and a very prestigious title in their military that flies with a group on a giant bird Yes you read that right “Put a man’s back to the wall and he’s got no choice but to fight; offer him a comfortable retirement before the age of twenty and you learn who’s committed to the cause” I'll admit I was a little biased towards Adare's point of view because her storyline has such a strong feministic undertone Unfortunately Adare also gets a considerably less amount of chapters than her brothers but I was enthralled each time we got a glimpse of her story in Annur I have very high hopes for her in The Providence of Fire especially with the impact of that cliffhanger Like I'm here for Adare and I'm rooting for whatever she has to do for her kingdom Kaden was my favorite of the two brothers but that was probably because I felt so bad for him all the time Not only was he the last to know important information he was also being abused constantly by Tan I mean obviously Tan ended up stepping up his game later on but it was giving me Severus Snape vibes throughout the entire first half; just because you do something good in the end doesn't erase all the bad shit you did earlier Valyn's chapters for sure grew on me At first I thought he was the reason the book felt a little slow but then once his story starting going his chapters ended up being the most addicting Even with Kaden being borderline tortured Valyn was the one that broke my heart and evoked so much emotion from me while I was reading Also he is sitting on a pretty big secret that is for sure showing the power of the side effects so I am probably most excited for his part in The Providence of FireThere is also an awesome mystery surrounding the Csestriim and the Nevariim both of which predate humans We find out very little about them in this book but you can easily tell that they will be the focal point moving forward and I'm so excited This world felt so magical and new the writing is suburb the side characters are battling the main characters for space in my heart the mystery is all consuming and makes this book impossible to put down and the story was just downright good Seriously I don't have anything negative to say about this book The only thing I can possibly think of is that Adare didn't get enough chapters Oh wait no I do have one major complaint about this book I hated kent kissing being used constantly Like I actually fucking despised it At first it was fine but it became so redundant I just couldn't deal In general 99% of the time I will dislike when authors make up their own swear words but this was even worse because kent kissing was used constantlyBut besides that this was such an amazing reading experience Mostly because I was able to personally buddy read this with three of my favorite people on Goodreads Please read Petrik King of the Unhewn Throne Gelisvb My favorite person to fangirl with on Goodreads and Cory's The best Holy Paladin in the entire world of Azeroth reviews if you have some spare time They are nothing short of perfect and I am so thankful to have been able to buddy read this beautiful story alongside them Plus they are all really great humans who will make your feed better in general Now is it time for me to ignore all my ARCs and responsibilities and read The Providence of Fire? I think so Seriously I need of this world I whole heartedly recommend you giving this series a shot because I think very few will walk away disappointed Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch


  8. says:

    Alright I want to get some minor uibbles out of the way before I go into a detailed analysis of the major problems I had with this book and a lot of grimdark in general Book is slow and boring One storyline dominates the others I dreaded picking it up Author hates fat people and small eyes It was a weird compulsive uirk He also had a serious case of Disney Eyes in regard to “good” characters Considering this is meant to be morally grey “grimdark” fantasy there are clearly drawn lines between the “good” and “bad” guysBut what I really want to speak about is the representations of women in Blades particularly and grimdark fantasy generally I’m also going to touch on how the book handles POC and LGBT characters Bitches and WhoresI had so many problems with the way this book handled female characters I’m going to highlight a few examples These aren’t meant to be all encompassing but they do provide textual evidence for my complaints I want to be really clear that I’m not just talking about characterization I’m talking about unconscious bias in the writing that routinely reveals itself in the way female characters relate to one another and the world and in how they are internally described by POV characters I’m also talking about the amount of time they get on the page and the way their character arcs are handled These are separate issues from just “the story” It was these aspects of the writing that rankled me the most Physical DescriptionsWomen are described by their breasts physical attractiveness and Disney eyes I wouldn’t mind this if men were likewise described but the only men who get detailed descriptions are the “fat disgusting” ones In Valyn’s first scene surrounded by blood gore and murder victims and in the middle of a training exercise Valyn spends time monologueing about how sexy Lin is A few chapters later here is how Valyn describes Gwenna “ tempted by the bright green eyes and flaming red hair by the supple curvaceous body that she did her best to hide” Argh It is gratuitous and constant Their personalities are also problematic Girls are either dangerous like Gwenna with her terrible temper or pathetic like Rianne or hopelessly inept like Lin and Adare Characterisation AdareAdare is one of the siblings but is only given about 6 chapters in the whole novel She is constantly compared to others and her difficultly as a women in a man’s world is obsessed over The author sets up a hyper sexist world “It is no slight to you Baxter Pane had argued staring at her with those rheumy eyes of his eye obsession strikes again but women are not suited to the Ministry They are too fickle too easily transported by their emotions” Ok I can understand that But then he unconsciously characterised her in sexist way that confirms the bias She bit into a fingernail then remembered her post the hundreds watching and returned the hand forcefully to her lap Adare let the words trail off retaking her seat with as much dignity as she could muster Adare swallowed a curse And here I am allowing myself to be transported by my emotions She pretty much confirms all the criticisms and concerns people have about her and I'm not even sure the author realises this LinI have a real issue with love interests who are sexually assaulted and then fridged to provide impetus for a male POV character It is so disrespectful Consider this scenario Your brave hero is a warrior She comes home to discover her loving husband has been raped and killed by her enemy Furious and grief stricken she swears to punish the people who did this to her husband And if she flirts with a few sexy young men along the way well that doesn’t diminish her cause a girl has needs you know Or how bout this one Your James Bond stand in is captured by the enemy He is ruthlessly tortured and raped until he manages to escape He swears vengeance He will bring forth unholy terror on the people who hurt him But to succeed he will need the help of a sexy female friend Can he learn to love again? Can he trust her to touch his body with kindness after suffering with this isolating trauma for so long? Do you find these laughable? Possibly offensive? How would you have felt if the scenario in Blades had looked like this “I should be focusing on my bladework and all I can think about is ripping the pants off this boy” Yurl had straddled Valyn and instead of ending the struggle with a blow to the back of the neck he was reaching down between his legs trying to force his thighs apart as he thrashed and writhed” Would you be defending “realism” and the need to “set the tone” if the male protagonist was casually sexually assaulted while everyone trainers friends and fellow students looked on jeering when Yurl managed to wrap a hand around Valyn’s limp dick or rub a few fingers along his crack?If you are uncomfortable with the image I’m painting you need to ask yourself why you were ok with Staveley doing it to Lin AmieAnd that brings me to another thing the murdered prostitute Amie When Lin criticizes another character for soliciting sex from a thirteen year old girl she is shamed I'm including the lot so no one can argue I've ignored context The smile froze on Laith’s face “She wasn’t my whore”“Of course not That’s the nice thing about borrowed gear—if it gets busted it’s no skin off your nose If Amie had been yours maybe you would have taken better care of her”Valyn raised a hand to stop the words but Laith stepped in close before he could speak The flier’s normal genial humor had burned off like the oil from the sputtering lamp“I don’t know how I became the villain in this little tale” he said eyes bright voice soft “but don’t drag me into your guilt”“My guilt?” Lin sputtered“Oh right” the flier shot back “I forgot You only bought fruit from her You never bought sex” He held up his palms in mock surrender “What’d you pay her? A few copper flames? Enough to put a decent meal on her table? Enough so she could stop whoring?”Lin refused to respond her face closed like a book“Before you come pointing your finger at me why don’t you ask yourself what you did to make Amie’s life any better” Laith demanded eyes ablaze Before Valyn could say anything to calm things down the flier turned on his heel and stalked out What is so strange about this is that the author seems to be making the suggestion that these two things are somehow euivalent Like fucking a 13 year old shows the same degree of concern as purchasing produce from said 13 year old Even if Lin had done nothing for Amie she still was dead to rights to call out another character for paying for sex with the 13 year old What most infuriated me about this was that Lin is left feeling guilty and no one ever uestions Laith's position Somehow he won that round? How???? It is accepted as fair and correct by all the characters and thus I can only conclude that it is also meant to be accepted as such by the reader What the fuck? POC and LGBT characters Balendin looked like a savage straight out of the Hannan jungles The feathers of seabirds hung among his long dark braids rings of ivory and iron pierced his ears and blue ink snaked up his arms“And you wonder why everyone wants to string you bastards up” Gent grumbled “No offense meant Talal but the whole thing is sick filthy” So just a regular POC by fantasy standards then He is “treacherous” and “frightening” He is a filthy savage He is also a magical savage who probably should have been lynched The POV characters also make much of his background He is from a colonized backwater possibly one of the ones “pressing back against the ‘foreign oppressors’ never mind that our oppression is what brings law courts and foreign trade military protection and technological advancement” I mean for fucks sake how many times do we have to keep talking about how shitty it is to constantly frame fantasy stories in terms of colonization and marginalization? The three POV characters are obviously from an extremely privelegded background so I’m not saying they should have better awareness of their own place in society but the novel never challenges these perspectives These sort of comments are just thrown out into the narrative to swim around unchallenged It makes it really hard to understand what Staveley’s intentions are because in his own words he seems to think it is really easy to break tropes and that he is interested in exploring traditional frameworks Consider his understanding of what fantasy tropes are “Within the fantasy genre however breakage is actually pretty easy See that nice wizard over there? He has a pointy hat and a white beard He mutters uerulously to himself He’s forgetful He likes to read He feeds nuts to an owl that perches on his shoulder Now let’s watch as he pries the eyeball from the skull of an innocent child while that child’s parents whom our wizard has nailed non fatally to a wall watch in horror Trope broken Honestly I’m always a little surprised when people describe my books as dark or violent” I mean what the hell? In that interview he seemed to be giving himself a pat on the back for his trope breaking plot points This suggests he isn’t aware of the tropes he is reinforcing which also means that even if he manages to redeem some aspects of his story in the next two books it will likely be as accidental and unconscious as his reinforcement of them was in this novel I’m not even going to deal with Annick the magical unicorn lesbian Suffice to say Staveley isn’t providing any nuance to that aspect of characterization eitherI can handle books that deal with difficult issues or exist in grimdark universes But if you are going to explore issues of gender sexual assault and colonization at least do it with conscious fucking awareness I was so angry reading this book The issues were so overt that it would have been impossible for me to enjoy this even if the story had been engaging better paced This is the end of the review The other stuff deals with grimdark fantasy generally Some criticisms I suspect this review will garner after my experience with a similar critiue I did of Axe and the Throne “This is grimdark if you can’t handle the genre don’t read it” Fuck you I’m not being raped every other day in real life so why the fuck should every god damn women in grimdark fantasy? If this is so fucking inevitable to the genre why does Best Served Cold manage to incorporate fully fleshed out female characters without constantly resorting to gendered violence Why is Joe Abercrombie able to have a character who is a loving single parent and a vicious torturer? Why is he able to have a female character that fucks and chucks a bloke and ends up better off for it? “Grimdark is just being honest This is reality” Grimdark is a subgenre that describes a particular the tone style or setting of speculative fiction especially fantasy that is depending on the definition used markedly dystopian or amoral or particularly violent or realisticHere’s the thing grimdark does not have to eual sexism NK Jemison’s Broken Earth series The Fifth Season is dystopian amoral violent and realistic However shockingly characters don’t suffer because they are women or because they are POC It is possible to write a grim dark novel and include harrowing realistic scenes without resorting automatically to gendered and racial violence When you say “well this is realistic” or “this is historically accurate” you are saying that realistic worldbuilding reuires the inclusion of certain specific ineualities in order to count as realistic – that a story cannot be honest or characters believably human if women and POC aren’t oppressed or villainous You are assuming that current expressions of bigotry sexism and racism are universal truths You are saying that there is no other possible reality that could be believable and then wonder why we get pissed off Novels like Blades reinforce specific ineualities as inevitable thereby further perpetuating those perspectives The thing is grimdark doesn’t accurately reflect the historical period it is trying to mimic or even current reality Where is the male rape? Where are the soldiers dying not in an epic battle but from infected scratches? Where are the people going insane from syphilis which hero has a dick full of pus as a result of his philandering? Why aren’t the sexually active women pregnant? Why can so many characters read? I think you understand what I am getting at The real problem is that grimdark as a genre has developed an aesthetic that readers have become familiar with As a result it feels realistic and right Hardboiled pulp noir mysteries felt realistic in the 1950’s but we look back on them now and see them as a product of the author's time period not as an accurate depiction of any sort of reality The same is true for grimdark It appeals to modern cynicism and we are so used to seeing gendered violence and oppressed POC that we think this is realistic But it isn’t And I strenuously reject any claims to the contrary “The real world is not the same as a fictional world authors shouldn’t have to be PC fuck you and all the other SJW’s out to ruin everything” Firstly why are you so invested in seeing women raped and POC victimised in your fiction? I think this says about you then me Secondly fiction has real world conseuences Negative and positive The Birth of a Nation inspired the formation of the second era of the Klu Klux Klan 12 Years a Slave and other true accounts were essential in the political fight against slavery Fiction is not created or read in a vacuum It is no coincidence that the MRA movement evolved out of the gaming community There is a reason women read and write “feminist” fiction On one level or another we all acknowledge the very real and important ways stories permeate and shape our experience of the world That said this is a subjective review No one is preventing Staveley from publishing his work or you from reading it I can say I don't like it and his fans can keep reading it My dislike for something does not prevent you from enjoying it I'm not lurking behind Staveley's writing desk with a butcher's knife telling him to write better fiction or else “Not every woman has to be a superhero who rescues kitties and knows karate” Yep I’m well aware of that thanks Women do not have to fall into a handful of archetypes They do not have to be the hero every time or to always succeed A Mary Sue is just as infuriating as a trophy vagina What is necessary is that female characters are as multi faceted and flawed as male characters They need to have their own motivations and goals If they suffer it should be part of their character arc not their love interests Lin was not a real person Every decision she made aimed at pushing Valyn along his path to character growth Consider that in one scene she ruthlessly kills a girl to teach Valyn the importance of recognizing the greater good A few scenes later she teaches him the importance of compassion Lin loses her temper which leads him to play the hero and also teaches him the lesson that he should not let his emotions rule him It also helps inspire sympathy in the reader for Valyn and increases our desire to see him succeed over the assholes I don’t think it is too much to ask of authors that they ensure their female characters are fully fleshed out “Later in the series xyz character does xyz which proves it’s not sexist at all” Firstly the other books don’t matter because I’m reviewing this book Secondly from some of the synopsis’ I’ve read of the other books I’m almost certain I would have similar complaints Thirdly in terms of literary merit I found the book boring and have no interest in reading the rest of the series


  9. says:

    This review has been a long time coming as Emperor’s Blades is still one of the best books I’ve read this year actual Goodreads update “55 stars And a new addition to my small shelf of favorites” But for some reason I’ve been stalling on writing the review Maybe because I know logically the book had a few problems and won’t work for everyone but I tell you every single aspect of the story worked for me So I’m going to proceed fangirling as if I was unaware of of the things others found fault in ;PTo start it off y’all know how much I love books that have training seuences and competition and Emperor’s Blades had both in abundance These Kettral warriors train endlessly in a really brutal regiment to become deadly strike force and I ate up every single moment What’s the giant birds badass mofos cover image background that for all intents and purposes are feathered dragons were the cherry on top of what was an already riveting segment I found this POV Valyn the most compelling through the series made even better by all the great side characters around himAnd then we move into another POV Kaden who is going through training for a religious order and brings with him a whole host of skill honing along the lines of mind over body and minor magic wielding While Valyn’s POV was fast paced action and excitement Kaden’s provided a slow burn to break it up Both were eually interesting to me at this point in the series this is the problem I get into with waiting too long to review – reading the rest of the series inevitably affects my overall impressionsAnd then we have the final POV Adare I really liked the political intrigue this perspective offered and spent most of the book fascinated with this character I sincerely couldn’t figure out if she was that painfully nieve or if there was a grander plan in place I’d yet to discover you’ll have to tell me what you think – I won’t spoil anything here What I saw in this first book was the potential for some really great character growth with Adare and that prospect enticed meThis book also contained a mini murder mystery that had me actively trying to narrow down “whodunnit” I absolutely love when a book gets me analyzing things about it when I’m not actively reading it so you can see why Emperor’s Blades was such a success for me I’m just going to try my hardest to forget that someone spilled the beans on whodunnit before I got that far I’m not bitterOverall Emperor’s Blades had all of the things that excite me about reading fantasy – in abundance I won’t endorse it as the perfect read but it was a perfect match for me and I loved every single gut wrenching momentSeries status I’ve since finished the entire series and enjoyed it as a whole The last two are perhaps not uite as good as this first book but they’re still very much worth reading mere 45 stars ;P I’ll definitely be picking up anything else Brian Staveley chooses to writeRecommendations if you glance at that cover and are even mildly interested in what you see – give the book a go It’s a well done trilogy that offers lots of action and excitement I would feel comfortable handing this to both seasoned fantasy readers and those new to the genre A great pick Via The Obsessive Bookseller at wwwNikiHawkescom Other books you might like


  10. says:

    375⭐️This is one of those books that I really liked but find it difficult to review I’ve very mixed feelings so bear with me here I'd also like to add that this is after all the first book in the series and when have I ever been blown away by first books save for some few exceptions here and there? Can’t win ‘em all now can we?Don’t get me wrong I loved it and I found the world and magic system to be especially thrilling and fascinating that invite reader investment but that's not to say it wasn’t without its problems CharactersThe book kicks off with the emperor assassinated and his heirs Kaden Valyn and their sister Adare are all scattered across the globe each set upon a path by their father Valyn is on a remote island training to become a Kettral the Empire’s specialelite forces Imperial heir Kaden is cloistered in a mountain abbey training in the secrets of mental discipline to clear the mind and protect from attack and seeking to understand the world from a different perspective And only the eldest daughter Adare who is suited to rule in all forms but her gender is the only one in Annur having assumed the role of Minister of Finance Although she cannot claim the throne she intently seeks the murderer of her fatherI think what I really loved most was the characters and their utter practicality rather than the plot at least in the first half of the book They're royal children who spent their lives taking orders and raised to understand that being a royal comes with a lot of burden expectations and complications Expectation vs realitySo here's what I expected An epic struggle for the throne after all the narrative starts out with the death of the emperor so you do the math some sibling rivalry of sorts a heavy dose of court and political intrigue and a boatload of conspiracies plot twists surrounding the mystery behind the death of the emperorHere's what I actually got A kind of coming of age story of the siblings each going through their own struggles and inner conflicts as they try to deal and come to terms with their new realityThe fact that they are related didn’t really play much of a part until the last few pages and even then it felt somewhat contrived and forced plotAll in all the overarching plot was or had the potential to be a brilliant one – separate the three leads but have them be intrinsically linked and in danger in a world that’s both intriguing and interesting with mythology and mystery Sounds great right? Well yes except for the issues that played a big part in hindering me from fully enjoying the storyAnd though I genuinely liked all three of the protagonists I had a problem with each and every one of their perspective storylinesIssue #1For starters Adare was given only a fraction of the page time that her brothers received and I would’ve loved to have seen of her particularly given the fact that among the three points of view her story arc is arguably the one that holds the entire story together and is the most significant in relation to the coming of epic confrontationIt is also through her story that we get a greater sense of the world in which they inhabit and where we discover that the plot that took down her and her brother's father was much greater and far complicated So I fail to see the reason behind the decision in only giving her the most important protagonist less page time than say the one whose POV contributes nothing to the story until the very end on that below The other problem I had with her was that she’s supposed to be highly trained in the intricacies of politics but not much of it was evident in here and there were lots of inconsistencies in her actions Her capability was often impeached by committing impetuous and occasionally stupid acts for I'm presuming no other reason than furthering Staveley’s plotIssue #2For the first three uarters of the book Kaden’s storyline contributed little to nothing to the overarching plot and was simply unnecessary Him getting tested on series of metal endurances by the elder monks or him simply running around with his buddy and getting beat up took up the bulk of his page time until that is the very last few chapters when things finally started to get wild Issue #3Out of the three it was of course Valyn’s storyline that I was continuously captivated by However not so fast there because his arc too isn’t without its problems Given his background and the length of time he’d spent training in the elite forces I expected so much competency from him Further for someone who's also supposed to have been training for years as a team leader there was not firmness nor toughness in him and his abilities in making executive decisions and leading a team or understanding teamwork for that matter left a lot to be desired I still loved him despite his shortcomings and he was my favourite of the three That being said I will definitely continue on with the series and something tells me book #2 will knock my socks right off It may not sound like I enjoyed it but that couldn't be further from the truth Putting aside the unnecessary storyline misshapen characters and mediocre inconsistent pacing there's so much promise and a huge potential in this series and I'm very much looking forward to seeing where the story will go next⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗⤗Got a feeling about this one folks 😎So an Empire on a brink of collapse I think? treachery deceit a conspiracy and siblings right in the centre I don’t know about you but to me that sounds like a recipe for a badass narrative 🤞 Well it’s also a recipe for half the fantasy books out there but we’re not gonna dwell on that Girl’s tryin’ to make a point here Also I’ve been putting it off for far too long until I was in the right state of mind to read it and it’s only fair that I get compensated for my hard exercised patience


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


READ & DOWNLOAD ☆ TOBERMOREDRIVEWAYS.CO.UK â Brian Staveley

The Emperor's Blades

The circle is closing The stakes are high And old truths will live againThe Emperor has been murdered leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracyHis son Valyn training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force hears the news an ocean away He expected a challenge b welp 1 hella anachronisms like concrete used as a metaphor for solid as though they have industrial chemical engineering in this universe? see the thoughtful comments for how i'm wrong and how i'm right for being annoyed about this but the funniest was the smart money like there's a las vegas betting line in this universe also2 repetition a book this big they're bound to miss some but sometimes it was the same hundred word thing explained in the exact same terms two chapters later because the chapter in between was in a different POV and what if we forget?3 how are you gonna write these fucking gigantic militarized birds that define this particular military order we spend most of the book following but not properly describe them until like 68 percent into the book? it's the beaky smudge in the misty background of the cover in case you were wondering4 this one's hardly a surprise given the recent history of the great american doorstopper—but man what a disappointingly het male gaze every woman's body is lavishly described unlike those bigassed birds also they're always either hysterical or cold as ice—from princesses to assassins to whores i shit you not if they are female they are either super upset or frigid—but either way an aaaaaaawful lot of words go into speculating about their bodies as a result i swear i know what every titty in this book looks like5 all three heroes spent the majority of the story as dumb as cows despite having things explained to them at length by people with a conversational grasp of three millennia of world history for pages and pages at a time this one scene a thing one of them had eight years to wonder about didn't even occur to him until right before it became a big ol' plot point6 there's a badass gay person in it but the way they're written sorry it reads like this author thought he was doing somebody a favor when other characters find out they're like WAIT WUT IDGI WHAT IS GAY OMG IS LIKE ANCIENT SORCERY??? also The Gay is female so of course i am exuisitely aware of her lovely slim girlish figure and COLD AS ICE demeanor and 'm telling you there's no way she doesn't totally still want the D—fistbump brah7 speaking of slim dude—whaaaaaaaaaat is with the fatphobia? why is every chubby fuck in the book a repulsive villain or gleeful apparatchik of corruption? well—to be fair—there was this one fat kid who seemed pretty nice and not that disgusting at all except we didn't get to know him very well on account of view spoilerHIS EXISTING ONLY TO BE INCONVENIENTLY OUT OF SHAPE DURING A GETAWAY AND THUS BRUTALLY MURDERED BY MEANS OF HAVING HIS FAT THROAT SLIT SO AS TO ALLOW THE SLIM KIDS TO ESCAPE UNENCUMBERED BY HIS DANGEROUS FATNESS hide spoiler

CHARACTERS The Emperor's Blades

Ut after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning he realizes his life is also in danger Yet before Valyn can take action he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiationMeanwhile the Emperor’s daughter Minister Adare hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself Court politics can be fatal but she n I'm sorry to my co blogger Brandi and all my other friends and non friends who gave this book five stars Which is basically everyone I won't play stupid I can see why fans of epic fantasy might like this book and I admit to being picky when it comes to the traditional fantasy genre And I'll also say that I can see on some level that this book is well written I say on some level because I judge uality of writing not only by the author's ability to spin a nice phrase but also by their ability to write a compelling and engaging plotThat was missing for meI suppose I should also mention that I didn't read the last uarter and I'd already started skim reading by the third uarter So maybe just maybe the last part of the story takes a turn for the epic and would have kicked my indifference for this book right where it hurts But I don't have the patience or the reading time to waste on finding out What I did read was and I'm sorry again to all the book's fans so so fucking boringActually no I'll give credit where it's due the prologue was fantastic It was a short brutal and horrifying opening that had me feeling glad I'd taken a chance on the book It was all downhill from there So as I said I am so so picky when it comes to “epic fantasy” my attention span isn’t a great partner for the generally slow pacing of these kinds of books But I've found ones to love like The Name of the Wind and Half a King so there's always some hope left for mePart of me wants to say this book is slow because hell did it feel like it But stuff was constantly happening Action scenes were freuent and bloody People died Others were betrayed Secret feelings of love are revealed Everything is at stake and I just didn't care The action scenes were so dry and lacking in suspense Sure they had gory descriptions; but there was zero investment in the story or characters on my partThe three protagonists all have their own stories to tell and despite the differences between their individual experiences and situations I could hardly tell them apart They never moved me never got me to care I'm already forgetting about them And even though the book is made up of constant scenes of action the actual main plotline had made hardly any progress by the halfway point of the novel The new emperor was still stuck in the same place he was at the beginning I felt like I was trying to wade through thick mud while reading this bookWith such a high average rating and a million dazzling reviews from my trusted friends it seems it must just be me But I couldn't stop my eyes from running ahead on the page and wanting it to just be overOh well shrugs

READ & DOWNLOAD ☆ TOBERMOREDRIVEWAYS.CO.UK â Brian Staveley

Eeds justice And Kaden heir to an empire studies in a remote monastery Here the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers When an imperial delegation arrives he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent But will this keep him alive as long hidden powers make their move? This reading experience was something that I'll never forget This world truly is a uniue take on epic fantasy and uickly became one of my favorite immersions Among all the action twists and turns this book somehow became one of the most addicting things I've read in a long time I never wanted to put it down and I'm currently deciding if I'm going to ignore my TBR and pick up The Providence of Fire immediately after I post this review This is a story about the Emperor's three children all living very different lives and all having very different points of viewKaden The Emperor in waiting training with monks that are secluded in the far off mountains “Believe what you see with your eyes trust what you hear with your ears; know what you feel with your flesh The rest is dream and delusion” Adare Minister of Finance living in the capitol and not knowing who to trust “Men tend to die when you slide steel beneath their skin and wiggle it around Even priests” Valyn Cadet training to become a Kettral which is a very high rank and a very prestigious title in their military that flies with a group on a giant bird Yes you read that right “Put a man’s back to the wall and he’s got no choice but to fight; offer him a comfortable retirement before the age of twenty and you learn who’s committed to the cause” I'll admit I was a little biased towards Adare's point of view because her storyline has such a strong feministic undertone Unfortunately Adare also gets a considerably less amount of chapters than her brothers but I was enthralled each time we got a glimpse of her story in Annur I have very high hopes for her in The Providence of Fire especially with the impact of that cliffhanger Like I'm here for Adare and I'm rooting for whatever she has to do for her kingdom Kaden was my favorite of the two brothers but that was probably because I felt so bad for him all the time Not only was he the last to know important information he was also being abused constantly by Tan I mean obviously Tan ended up stepping up his game later on but it was giving me Severus Snape vibes throughout the entire first half; just because you do something good in the end doesn't erase all the bad shit you did earlier Valyn's chapters for sure grew on me At first I thought he was the reason the book felt a little slow but then once his story starting going his chapters ended up being the most addicting Even with Kaden being borderline tortured Valyn was the one that broke my heart and evoked so much emotion from me while I was reading Also he is sitting on a pretty big secret that is for sure showing the power of the side effects so I am probably most excited for his part in The Providence of FireThere is also an awesome mystery surrounding the Csestriim and the Nevariim both of which predate humans We find out very little about them in this book but you can easily tell that they will be the focal point moving forward and I'm so excited This world felt so magical and new the writing is suburb the side characters are battling the main characters for space in my heart the mystery is all consuming and makes this book impossible to put down and the story was just downright good Seriously I don't have anything negative to say about this book The only thing I can possibly think of is that Adare didn't get enough chapters Oh wait no I do have one major complaint about this book I hated kent kissing being used constantly Like I actually fucking despised it At first it was fine but it became so redundant I just couldn't deal In general 99% of the time I will dislike when authors make up their own swear words but this was even worse because kent kissing was used constantlyBut besides that this was such an amazing reading experience Mostly because I was able to personally buddy read this with three of my favorite people on Goodreads Please read Petrik King of the Unhewn Throne Gelisvb My favorite person to fangirl with on Goodreads and Cory's The best Holy Paladin in the entire world of Azeroth reviews if you have some spare time They are nothing short of perfect and I am so thankful to have been able to buddy read this beautiful story alongside them Plus they are all really great humans who will make your feed better in general Now is it time for me to ignore all my ARCs and responsibilities and read The Providence of Fire? I think so Seriously I need of this world I whole heartedly recommend you giving this series a shot because I think very few will walk away disappointed Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch

  • Hardcover
  • 480
  • The Emperor's Blades
  • Brian Staveley
  • English
  • 04 March 2017
  • 9780765336408

About the Author: Brian Staveley

I live on a long dirt road in rural Vermont where I divide my time between mountain biking with my son trying to play piano music that is far too difficult for me running trails doing laundry splitting wood thinking I really ought to wash the kitchen floor and then not cursing at the pie crust for sticking The Emperor's PDF/EPUB or to the surface drinking beers with friends out by the firepit and sometimes trying t.