Published: January 14, 2014
Publisher: Tor Books
Book one in an epic fantasy of intrigue and empire, for fans of George R. R. Martin and Douglas Hulick.
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 bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.
His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but 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 initiation.
Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs 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?
I’ve been thinking about reading this book for AGES, so I finally stopped thinking and read it. After about 50 pages I was asking myself why I hadn’t read it sooner, midway through I was thinking that it’s awesome, and by the end I was kicking myself for not buying the next one too. This has got to be one of the best fantasy books that I’ve read all year- special ops that air drop from birds, mysterious assassination plots, monks achieving incredible zen-like states- this book has so much awesome! I was on the edge of my seat throughout much of the story, and I was totally invested in each character’s journey. This story was like a literary pick me up after reading a couple books that I just wasn’t very excited about, but weren’t always bad enough to put down.
Brian Staveley wrote a phenomenal story and I and I’m probably going to go buy all his books now. I’m just sayin’. Valyn and the Kettral were incredible- I enjoyed those chapters so much that I’m beginning to desperately need a novella or something focused entirely on them. And can I also throw in that Hull’s Trial was brutal and heartbreaking? Out of all the military-fantasy books I’ve read, the Kettral rival only the Bridgeburners from the Malazan Book of the Fallen as my favorite fighting unit.
Each character, Adare, Kaden, and Valyn, is distinct but share the traits of determination, passion, and dedication. The three siblings are each fighting for their lives and the continuation of the Malkeenian line on the Unhewn Throne after the assassination of their father, the Emperor. Unlike many rulers in literature, Sanlitun is just and fair, rather than being a cruel despot. The true reason behind his murder is unknown, though there are hints of a dark and ancient evil returning to the world.
The Emperor’s Blades is a book that I definitely recommend to my fellow readers and bookworms! The worldbuilding thus far is great though I’m sure it will be expanded even more as the series progresses. Currently, the second book, titled the Providence of Fire is out, and you can preorder the third book, The Last Mortal Bond. Also, the covers are pretty cool so they’ll look nice on your bookshelf and in all your book haul pictures!