Published: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 640 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
The climactic third and final novel in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
The trilogy that began with The Emperor’s Blades and continued in The Providence of Fire reaches its epic conclusion, as war engulfs the Annurian Empire.
The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuver on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; and capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.
But the three imperial siblings at the heart of it all–Valyn, Adare, and Kaden–come to understand that even if they survive the holocaust unleashed on their world, there may be no reconciling their conflicting visions of the future
The Last Mortal Bond was a stunningly satisfying conclusion to The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne trilogy by Brian Staveley. After reading The Providence of Fire with its stunning close, I was practically ravenous with literary hunger waiting to get my hands on the conclusion.
Each character continues their personal journey, or rather I should probably say struggle because no character has an easy road. Valyn, Adare, Kaden, Gwenna, and the rest fight one battle after another both literally and figuratively throughout the course of the story, which keeps things really moving along quite nicely. Valyn and the Kettral have been my favorites in every book, continuing to astound with their top-notch fighting skills and the devil-may-care attitudes. I was really excited to see that Gwenna had her own chapters and she went from a just a mouthy bravo to a more defined mouthy bravo. I mean, really though, she can back up that attitude with skills but she begins to develop as a Wing leader in The Last Mortal Bond. Adare and Kaden were really fantastic in this installment, and they rank pretty highly in terms of awesome, well-developed characters. While both can really work the political aspect of their roles, Adare is shrewd and has an impressive coterie of acquaintances (Nira and Kegellen) whilst Kaden leaned more towards the role of a travelling diplomat.
The all important storyline was on point, managing to be both triumphant and crushing in fairly equal parts. There were several parts where winning was losing and vice versa. Staveley managed to come up with some really great stuff without being cliché and as a reader I appreciate the fact that I didn’t know what would happen next or how the story would turn out. Some stories are predictable from the very first sentence and this is certainly not one of those stories. The ending was satisfying, if a little odd (I have some questions…) but apparently there are going to be more books set in this same world. YAY!
I’m really pleased with how the trilogy wrapped up and I can safely say that its one of my favorites. The quality is excellent and its entertaining while still retaining a deep and complex plot. I will throw out there that Balendin is one of the most disturbing and gruesome characters that has come across my radar in quite some time. The cultures described in the book are pretty incredible- the Urghul and the Shin, Kettral and Ishien. This story has a little bit of something for everyone and I highly recommend reading this series- it’s awesome!