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The Emperor's Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  21,277 Ratings  ·  1,732 Reviews
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 deadlie
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Tor Books
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vivek The prologue is but a small slice of the pie, this book is amazing with a intriguing plot , tons of action and amazing character buildup. Its has a…moreThe prologue is but a small slice of the pie, this book is amazing with a intriguing plot , tons of action and amazing character buildup. Its has a few similarities with Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. Finally , Yes there are people like Tan'is in this book.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Rabid Fangirl Mode: ACTIVATED

Have 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 this:
Nov 26, 2013 julio rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition


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 also.

2. 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 lat
Feb 03, 2017 Petrik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-physical
Buddy read with The Queen 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 books cover of this trilogy!

To be honest, when starting this book, I knew next to nothing about ‘The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne’ trilogy other than the gorgeous covers it have and some great praises from my trusted friends on Goodreads. That’s enough to made me enthusiastic about reading the t
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

Apologies in advance for the length, but it couldn't be helped. I LOVED and HATED parts of this book equally . . . and that means long.

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 b/c they're:

1. Afflicted with the physical "rot" of age.
2. Brains are likewise rotting b/c FEELINGS.

Basically, b/c they're HUMAN.

Fast forward a few thousand years
Feb 10, 2017 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Melanie by: Navessa
This reading experience was something that I'll never forget. This world truly is a unique take on epic fantasy, and quickly 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
Emily May
Dec 13, 2013 Emily May rated it it was ok
Recommended to Emily May by: Brandi
Shelves: fantasy, 2014
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 quality of writing not only by the author's ability to spin a nice phrase, but also by their a
Cait (Paper Fury)
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY ENTIRELY ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I'VE EVER READ IN ALL MY BORN DAYS. I just...I cannot...I'VE GOT NO WORDS. It was just such a me book. Omg. Just = OMG. It had everything: maximum stabbiness, torture, bleeding, complex plot, treachery, plot twists, everything I love being murdered, epic stabby royal siblings, psychopaths, assassins, and EVEN A BIT OF SASS NOW AND THEN.

Honestly this is the kind of book I aspire to write.

Robin (Bridge Four)
Reread January 2015 Dropped 1 star from 5 to 4

Last year was a big fantasy year for me and my well of experience is bigger now. I still enjoyed this book, it well written with an engaging story, but not quite as much the second time through and I blame my love for Brandon Sanderson's high fantasy for this. There is also Patrick Rothfuss and Joe Abercrombie to blame a little but mostly Sanderson.

See I found Sanderson, Rothfuss and Abercrombie books not long after reading The Emperor's Blades thi
Dec 07, 2013 Jill rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
Here is a (not really) spoiler summary for the first 75% of The Emperor’s Blades: An emperor, dead; a plot to kill his three children, underway; breakneck action to match those high-stakes…completely missing.

We start the book with the death of an emperor—as auspicious a premise as there ever was—but until the final quarter, nothing of importance happens. It’s quite shocking actually: a book that is going to be published could stand to lose its first 300 pages. All that happens in those 300 page
Sep 06, 2013 Bookwraiths rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

After reading fantasy for most of my life, I’ve seen more than a few “Next Big Thing” come along. Some of those hyped novels and series have lived up to the tile, but more than a few have crumbled under the expectations. At least, in my eyes they did. And so when I kept seeing people rave about Brian Staveley’s The Emperor’s Blades, I was a bit skeptical, fearing another letdown if I let myself get sucked into the frenzy. Well, after finally breaking down and
Feb 26, 2014 Monica rated it it was amazing
I have read a lot of mediocre reviews on this book. In fact, many of the review sites that I respect the most posited that this book was highly overrated, and they had no idea why Tor had pushed the book so hard. So, I went into this book thinking that it would be an enjoyable read, but nothing too special. Perhaps because of this bias it took me a few chapters to get into the rhythm of the novel, but once I did I was blown away. This is a wonderful debut novel and the start to a new series that ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
● They Deceived Me Again and Failed to Mention this was YA in Disguise Buddy Read (TDMAaFtMtwYiDBR™) with my Duplicitous MacHalos

DNF at 18%.

✘ Because the last thing I need right now is to read about a bunch of boring teenagers, their undoubtedly fascinating journey into adulthood, and their juvenile struggles/conflicts/trials/whatever.

✘ Because I don't give a damn about this story and the characters in it. They could all die for all I care.

✘ And because, no matter how violent this book is su
Dec 03, 2013 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angela by: Navessa
6 January 2016: $4.99 on Kindle

17 November 2015: $4.99 on Kindle
25 September 2014: $2.99 on Kindle - What a fantastic deal!! Highly, highly recommended.

1/6/2014 Edit: This book comes out next week (I'm ridiculously excited to get my hardcover of it) and I read this interesting blog by Brian Staveley about the inspiration for the Kettral training scenes here

There’s a scene near the middle of The Emperor’s Blades in which a class of Kettral cadets, ultra-elite warriors who fly massive hawks into b
Jan 05, 2015 Gavin rated it really liked it
This was a fairly standard fantasy story. It was decent without being anything special.

The Emperor has just been assassinated and this book follows the story of his three children as they seek to avoid the same fate. All three of the siblings are in different locations. The eldest, Adare, remained at court with her father and learned the ways of government. The youngest sibling, Kaden, is the heir to the throne and is training in a far flung monastery. The middle sibling, Valyn, is training to
Mar 07, 2014 Hershey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Lovers
This is a great fantasy book. It surprised me a lot because I did not expect to fall for this book. Initially, I gave this book 5 stars but after my January 2015 re-read, I'm dropping a star because well, to be honest, certain parts bored me a little.

The story is adventurous and extremely twisty. You cannot trust anyone. The world building was complex and so were the characters. I find it hard to believe that this was Staveley's debut novel because the writing style, the intricate world we're i
Jul 22, 2014 Alexa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Buddy read with Athena, Lee and Michael.

I HATE being the only one that doesn't like a book everyone loves.

But I'm not going to lie: I didn't like this book. In the strict sense of goodreads rating I should have given it 1 single lonely star, I'm giving it that second one because the last 15% of the book was actually pretty good.

So, let's tally what I thought were this book's sins:

BOOK SIN #1. So from the blurb we know that"Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered
Will M.
Jun 15, 2014 Will M. rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, 2014
When the goodreads choice award nominees were finally presented last Nov.3, I checked out the Fantasy section right away. I realized then that I haven't read a single Fantasy novel that was published in 2014. I decided to read at least 2, and The Emperor's Blade caught my attention the most. It had an interesting blurb and I was really expecting to love this. I even saw that most of my friends rated this 5 stars. All I want to ask now is, why?

I really didn't like this novel as a whole. The writi
Aug 18, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Fantasy fans take note: The Emperor's Blades should be number one on your to-read list for 2014. I've been waiting to find my next great fantasy love, and this is most definitely it. I'm so excited for the rest of this series!

If I had to describe it in terms of other series in the genre, I'd call The Emperor's Blades a cross between A Song of Ice and Fire and Tamora Pierce's The Lioness Quartet (and to a lesser extent Protector of the Small) with a healthy dash of Harry Potter thrown in for good
Dec 03, 2013 Armina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Armina by: Navessa


My faith and my love for this read has been tested. It didn't WOW me from the beginning and I had my doubts and suspicions. There are flaws of course but the read never failed me! And I'm so grateful for that. There is so much more behind the ideas and the concepts in this book. You need a keen eye to see and to feel its depth. You can only start to grasp the whole scale of the read towards the end when you realize there is so much more ahead of our beloved three protagonists, behind
Apr 14, 2014 Choko rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fantasy-grim
*** 4.25 ***

A buddy read with my assassins at BB&B!

I think I have had the greatest luck in choosing books this new year! I feel lucky:) How can I not? The book I read just before this one was the first book of the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima and I was enchanted, now I read this one and I am in love all over again with what I consider to be the King of all genres, Fantasy!!! (In my opinion, the Queen is Historical Romance, but this is just me:):):)

So, I had never heard of th
Lindsey Rey
Sep 15, 2014 Lindsey Rey rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2015
[4.5 Stars]
That was great! Can't wait to read the sequel!
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 28, 2014 Mike (the Paladin) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
This book had languished on my "to be read" list for a fairly long time, as a LOT of books still are. They set there staring at me accusingly as I read other books. The reason is often that I bought the book and now it waits as I read library books. That said in the midst of a sort of reading slump, wishing for an involving read that I could sink into yes a book I could escape into I decided to read this book, relieve it's waiting.

Lo and behold, this is an excellent read. I'm assuming you have r
Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky)
Alright I want to get some minor quibbles 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 quirk! 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 line
Bob Milne
Nov 13, 2013 Bob Milne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-heroic
While we may only be a month into 2014, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Brian Staveley may just have the debut of the year with The Emperor's Blades. This was a book that reminded me, in different ways, of my first encounters with the likes of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. It managed to feel fresh and original, yet familiar at the same time. I knew, before the first chapter was over, that I'd be reading this one cover to cover.

Why? Well, for me, a really great fantasy no
Kevin Xu
Apr 04, 2015 Kevin Xu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason I picked up and started this book was because I was send a free copy from my friend as he really wanted to see what everybody thought of the book was. This book is not what I expected.

Not knowing anything about the book, and just judging from the cover and the friends I knew who had read the book I expected this to more epic fantasy like Brent Weeks or Sanderson, but was I wrong. This was in part maybe because Epic Fantasy all has to be huge door stoppers, which this one is cert
Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨

Okay, so I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. :) At one point, I was getting kind of ragey and almost DNF'd this! I'm glad I didn't, although this wasn't an easy read at times.

It centers on the three offspring of a murdered Emperor. The Emperor has sent them on very different paths: the heir, Kaden, has spent 8 years in a monastery. Another son, Valyn, has been sent to train as a warrior with the Kettral, and his daughter, Adare, he raised in the palace to become a politician.

Most o
Dec 05, 2013 Brandi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who love adventures; Fantasy fans; Book lovers
Recommended to Brandi by: Navessa
Shelves: favorites, male-lead

Stayed up till 2:45 reading this bad boi.

I'm not sorry.

But I do have a lot of packing I have to do since I blew everything off to read all day yesterday. Not sorry about that either, lol.

Super duper quick though, this book was really fabulous. Great prose (toed the purple line once in a while, and it's like the author caught that and reeled it back in - loved that), outstanding characters, completely engrossing storyline, and TOTALLY AWESOME world. I am on the edge of my seat waiting to see w
The Emperor's Blades follows 3 main protagonists, all of them children of the slain emperor who sat the unhewn throne.

Kaden, the eldest and heir, trains in a far off monastery to learn concentration techniques and a zen attitude.

His brother Valyn trains to be a Kettral, an elite fighter who rides into battle onto a giant bird in groups of five.

Their sister Adare remains in the capital as the minister of finance and has to deal with political intrigue and an upstart priest, who is the murderer of
Stefan S. Krstic
Jan 28, 2017 Stefan S. Krstic rated it it was amazing
Postoji razlog zašto knjigama ne dajem jednu, dve ili tri zvezde. Zapravo, više je razloga.

Pre svega, mislim kako nema te knjige koja zaslužuje jednu zvezdu.
Drugo – meni to ružno izgleda.
Treće – ako neka knjiga i zaslužuje tako nisku ocenu, sigurno nećete mene naći kako je čitam.

Zato sam rešio da prilično uprostim stvar i ograničim broj zvezda na četiri i pet.
Četiri ne dopada mi se i pet... kapirate.

I za ovih nekoliko godina koliko sam ovde prilično sam jasno mogao da kažem (sebi, pre svega
Nov 09, 2016 Ryan rated it liked it
The Good:
There are some very cool ideas in the setting and the various storylines were fun. And this is so well written I almost didn’t notice. I really like Staveley’s style – I think it’s difficult to be descriptive while still being easy to read.

The Bad:
The characters are all a bit flat, and suffer from the whole modern-high-schoolers-transplanted-into-speculative-fiction-setting vibe that plagues these books intended for wide appeal.

'Friends' character the protagonist is most like:
Kaden is l
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I live on a long dirt road in rural Vermont, where I divide my time between writing, baby-wrangling, running trails, trying to play the banjo, and various home repairs that multiply at a truly astounding rate.
More about Brian Staveley...

Other Books in the Series

Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne (3 books)
  • The Providence of Fire (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #2)
  • The Last Mortal Bond (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #3)

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“Resist faith. Resist trust. Believe only in what you touch with your hands. The rest is error and air.” 14 likes
“Assume nothing,’” he said. The first chapter of the Tactics. “If we figure everyone might be a murderer, we’re less likely to be disappointed.” 10 likes
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