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The Emperor's Blades

(Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  38,455 ratings  ·  2,714 reviews
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’ an
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Tor Books
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Nathan From the author: "Valyn [is older], by one year. It's a really common mistake. Kaden is heir to the throne for his eyes, not his age."…moreFrom the author: "Valyn [is older], by one year. It's a really common mistake. Kaden is heir to the throne for his eyes, not his age."(less)
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 fe…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

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  38,455 ratings  ·  2,714 reviews

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Julio Genao


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 la
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:
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 cover arts of the books in this trilogy!

To 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
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

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 more evil arseholes. Oh, and I want to have my own bird to ride 😄Just sayin'

Mel ❤️
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
Emily May
Dec 13, 2013 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
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁
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. *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 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
Feb 10, 2017 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
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
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: “5/5 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 fou ...more

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 i
Robin (Bridge Four)
Sale Alert 19May19 Kindle Deal $2.99

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 af
Dec 07, 2013 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
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: year-2018, 4-star
This was the good shit 👀🙌🏽
Sep 06, 2013 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 a
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
'Kent kissing awesome. ...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
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
“Obedience is a knife that cuts the cord of bondage.
Silence is a hammer that shatters the walls of speech.
Stillness is strength; pain a soft bed.
Put down your basin; emptiness is the only vessel.”

Four Stars: ✰✰✰✰

This book, shockingly, was actually better than I was expecting it to be, just from the blurbs and little snippets I've seen on Goodreads and Audible. I was expecting more or less just another typical modern fantasy book - that wasn't especially interesting or original; b
Feb 26, 2014 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
Nov 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommended to Hamad by: Michael Sliter
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me

“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.”

I have wanted to read Staveley’s series ever since I got into the adult fantasy world, the book cover definitely played a huge role in that and because it just sounded like something I would enjoy. My friend Mike recommended it for my 10 readers, 10 recommendations challenge which made me
Dec 03, 2013 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
Allen Walker
Mar 10, 2022 rated it liked it
Oof. This books starts 30 chapters too early for me. Straddling the edge between 2.5 and 3 considering how much I didn't enjoy the beginning and did enjoy the end. Full review to come. ...more
Jul 22, 2014 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
Jan 05, 2015 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
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, almost-great
4 Stars

“If we figure everyone might be a murderer, we’re less likely to be disappointed.”

Look at me, reading and enjoying adult fantasy! This one starts with the death of an Emperor and follows his three children attempt to navigate the dangerous empire form three separate ends of it. And also uncover the plot that killed their father. Overall, this world was a lot of fun, with a complex and interesting magic system. The world-building was gradual so everything made sense, without being too
Apr 14, 2014 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 this a
Mar 07, 2014 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
Will M.
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, fantasy
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
Feb 12, 2022 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, fantasy, shitlist
This review is dark and full of spoilers until chapter 11 of this travesty.

The Emperor's blades is a mashup of evil high school villains, sadistic monks, bad writing, and, I'm sorry, overly sexualized descriptions of female characters that have "supple and curvaceous bodies that they were trying to hide under their Kettral blacks". And yes, that last quote comes from one of the hero's POVs. Furthermore, almost every 'Kent-kissing name introduced in this thing comes from another book - one of th
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full Review

Fear is blindness, Calmness is sight

💕💕💕💕💕 Where has this book been all my life??? I loved every single moment of it!!

I started reading this awhile back but didn't even finish the prologue because I wasn't in the mood. Well, I was definitely in the mood this time.

What is this about? The emperor has been murdered and it looks like it was an inside job. Meaning that someone or some people are traitors. This book is told from 3 povs which are all from the Emperor's children.

We have Ka
Kevin Xu
Apr 04, 2015 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
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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 to the surface, drinking beers with friends out by the firepit, and sometimes trying t ...more

Other books in the series

Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne (4 books)
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