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The Ember Blade

(The Darkwater Legacy #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,769 ratings  ·  287 reviews
A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man’s journey to find his destiny.

Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He’s never questioned it; that’s just the way things are. But then his father is executed for treason, and he and his best friend Cade are thrown into a prison mine, doomed to work until they drop. Unless they can somehow break free . . .

But what
Paperback, 824 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by Gollancz (first published September 20th 2018)
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Shane Duquette It isn't grimdark. There's some death and sadness, there's a child dying of illness, a failing marriage, betrayals, and torture is alluded to. But the…moreIt isn't grimdark. There's some death and sadness, there's a child dying of illness, a failing marriage, betrayals, and torture is alluded to. But the tone isn't that dark, the book isn't that grim, and the main characters are truly trying to be moral.

It reads kind of like Lord of the Rings, Eye of the World, and those other classic fantasy tales. Very similar amount of darkness.(less)

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  1,769 ratings  ·  287 reviews

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Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every fantasy readers
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ARC provided by the publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.

4.5/5 stars

Wooding strikes a magnificently fine balance between classic epic fantasy and grimdark fantasy, making this an amazing start to a new trilogy.

To be honest, I feel like the love for classic fantasy has started to dwindle these days and has been replaced with a thirst for grimdark or fantasy with darker tones; most likely due to the fam
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
UPDATE: $1.99 Kindle US 12/15/19

Read this amazing book with some wonderful friends over at "Fantasy Buddy Reads"

I am absolutely in love with this book! I was not bored one time. I was on the edge of my seat a few times. I laughed and I cried.

Some of my favorite characters:

and there are some more. The book isn't bogged down with lots of people to remember or things like that.

Aren's father is killed for treason or so they say. Aren and his best friend Cade are sent
Sean Barrs
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I read a lot of fantasy, though I’ve never read a fantasy book that somehow manages to incorporate elements from so many other books and make them original and unrepetitive. It’s a triumph of writing, and I dare say one of the best in the genre for a very long time. I gave it five stars because it is a masterful balancing of new and old.

Please listen to what I have to say about it!

The plot picks up real quickly. Aren’s father is executed on jumped up charges of treason. Aren has no idea why, to
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
773 pages. 2 days to read. 1 review to write.

On a day that changes his life forever, Aren sees his father knifed to death in the dining room of their own home by a watchman of the Iron Hand, inquisitors who deal with only the gravest threats to the Krodan Empire. Removed to a prison mine with his best friend, Cade, his conviction that somehow the vaunted Krodan justice he was raised to have total faith in will soon remedy their situation is chipped away by the brutal indifference he finds there.
Charlotte May
Jul 19, 2019 marked it as library-loans

This one is also massively overdue so I’m going to return it to the library - hopefully I will be able to read it again another time.

800 pages - big commitment, but it's been highly recommended so i'm gonna give it a go.

James Tivendale
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
One of the best fantasy books I've read in years. An instant classic!
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ll cut to the quick: Chris Wooding’s The Ember Blade is one of the best starts to an epic fantasy series that I’ve ever read. This book is a massive 800-page tome, yet it stays economical in its scope. It is a story filled with thoughtful insights, rousing battles, tense chase scenes, richly drawn characters, and tender moments of friendship and loss. It is a coming of age story, a desperate act of revolution, a struggling morality play, and a meditation on family and loyalty. And above all, i ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-sff-faves
I absolutely loved this book. Honestly, I though I would because I have read previous books by this author and not been disappointed, but as this was a return to the classic fantasy genre and it's a little different than the books I have ready by Wooding before I wasn't sure what to expect. I am happy to say this book had absolutely everything I love about the fantasy genre and more, and it was filled with great world building, magic, characters and more. I found this to be a delight to read and ...more
Deborah Obida
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Deborah by: Petrik
Shelves: adult, fantasy
Buddy read with Ruthie my August tbr twin.

Right and wrong were just a matter of perspective. Stories and histories changed depending on the teller. Justice was an illusion. All that mattered was what you believed.

That turned out way better than I imagined. I was a bit sceptical because the plot isn't original but the potrayal changed everything, the author made normal mundane fantasy troupe into something extraordinary. The book has a great world, good camaraderie, amazing friendship.

To o
Ed McDonald
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
When I was in my teens, I loved fat books. I don't think I'd even have bothered with a book that came in at under 500 pages. I wanted heavy, long epics - and I had the time to read them. Then, as adult life and career and relationships and writing all ate into my time, I switched onto lighter books. 400 pages or fewer. So I am not sure why it was that one night, wondering what to read, having already begun another novel 3 days before, that made me pick up Chris Wooding's 800 page beast.

But I am
David Zampa
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book was a sheer and utter delight. I don't know where to begin, there's so much to say. It's long. Think Wheel of Time installment long. The audiobook was 30 hours of well-paced storytelling, and Simon Bubb's narration was absolutely exceptional. I've only fallen in love with audio this year, but out of the 20 or so narrations I've listened to, Bubb's ranks second, barely edging out Christian Rodska's Powder Mage reading, and second only to Tim Gerard Reynolds, who is some sort of wit ...more
Scott  Hitchcock

Part of me wants to give this 4*'s based on a great ending and some unforeseen events in the last 15 or so percent of the book. But for the majority of the book it was just a good story. There weren't epic scenes. I didn't love any of the characters. It just meandered along.

I do think fans of old school fantasy will really like this in terms of storytelling and writing. However there is a distinct grimdark flavor to the book which is a bit of contraction to an extent. I think that's what k
Adam Whitehead
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Two great empires have dominated the east of Embria, the fall of the great subterranean empire of the urds heralding the rise of Ossia, protected by the Ember Blade and the sacred order of Dawnwardens. But thirty years ago Ossia was invaded in turn by Kroda, a kingdom of order, logic and science. Declaring itself the Third Empire, Kroda sees its destiny is to unite the continent through the Sword and the Word.

Although it is a land under occupation, life is good for many Ossians. The Krodans keep
Nils | nilsreviewsit
‘Right or wrong were just a matter of perspective. Stories and histories changed depending on the teller. Justice was an illusion. All that mattered was what you believed in.
His hand went to The Ember Blade at his hip, I believe in this, he thought to himself.’
The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding is the first part in The Darkwater Legacy series, and weighs in at around 825 pages. Now it’s no secret that I love a chunky book, but if you’re intimidated by them then rest assured you needn’t be here,
Iryna *Book and Sword*
Jul 26, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: adult-fantasy
Alright, this beast is 778 pages (yikessss) but look at that cover (I don’t judge ALL books just by their covers, I promise).
The premise sounds great and it was recommended to me by Petrik whom I trust, so on the never ending TBR it goes!

Kitvaria Sarene
This was great!
Felt like one of the old traditional epics - but avoided to be a walking/talking trope!

I really enjoyed the characters. It's definitely a strong point! The mix held a perfect balance. Two young men, one young female soldier, a couple of older male soldiers, a wise bard and her bodyguard, a female inventor, a brute who's outcast from his own society, and a druid plus hound!
They all had their own agendas and storylines, and no one was just decoration. Especially liked how there we
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-own
I quite enjoyed this book but it has to pay the price for the brilliant books I've been (re)reading this year so far...
Liked the story but it felt a bit too traditional for me and it was a bit too long... Somehow I didn't really connect to the characters, this too may be the result of rereading some of my favorites this year.
A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man's journey to find his destiny.

Having previously read Chris Wooding's Ketty Jay series and finding it quite the fun read, I was looking forward to reading this. I'll start by saying that this book is completely different from the Ketty Jay series, but that's not a bad thing at all. This is more in the vein of classic fantasy with the sword, the quest to find it, and the champion who will wield it in order to save his people. Those ar
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 While the plot is kind of classic and old school, I actually devoured this thanks to the interesting world building, nice twists, complex characters and great writing.
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
‘The Ember Blade’ by Chris Wooding was a recommendation by fellow Grimdark Magazine reviewer, James Tivendale, for which I’m very grateful. Just so you’re left in no doubt as to which way this review is going to go, I’ll kick things off with this opening declaration: stand aside JRR Tolkien, GRR Martin and Joe Abercrombie, for Chris Wooding.
Yes, you read that right. Ember Blade is hands down the best fantasy novel I’ve ever read. I can only think of two things that suck about it: 1. The sequel i
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
An absolute classic!

The Ember Blade brings to mind some of the foremost names in High Fantasy, stories that constitute the very foundations of the genre itself. It's actually more of a coming-of-age tale, but it's told from more than one viewpoint, with an ensemble rather than just one major hero. The world-building is rather well done as the author borrows themes from Roman social structure and organizion, British society as well as a host of other cultures. The themes feel very familiar as a
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Ember Blade was a really good book. It follows the story of Aren and his friend Cade as their lives are turned upside down and inside out. Thrown in prison for treason and then tangled up in a revolution, everything changes rapidly. One of the best things about this book was how the characters developed and changed over the course of the book. Minds, opinions, and beliefs all altered as the characters experienced the world.

It does start off with a somewhat standard epic fantasy plotline, a b
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Ossia is a land under occupation, and has been so for thirty years. The Krodan Empire maintains a huge presence there, largely by co-opting the Ossian nobility as collaborators and by maintaining oppressive laws that control the movement and freedoms of Ossians within their own country.

Aren is a teenage son of an Ossian noble, but he and his best friend Kade end up in a Krodan work camp/prison after his father is arrested and killed. Eventually they get out of the camp and find themselves part o
Adah Udechukwu
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The novel was good but it was long for no reason at all. Its length was unjustifiable and there were too many unnecessary stuff.
Its only standalone novels that should be this long.
I enjoyed the novel. I really enjoyed the novel but its length was ridiculous.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, read-in-2019
The Ember Blade is the first in The Darkwater Legacy series by Chris Wooding. This was my first time reading anything by this author though I've had his Ketty Jay books in my TBR for a while now. I have to say I was impressed by this book's blend of classic epic fantasy and modern grimdark tones. There is a lot of the familiar for old school fantasy fans like myself with enough modern touches that I think the story could appeal to a broad audience.

Ossia is a land under occupation. 30 years ago
Rob Hayes
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Look, I've been a Chris Wooding fan for years now ever since I unwittingly stumbled across Retribution Falls. It was a fast paced, swashbuckling adventure with a gallery of rogues brought to life by truly excellent characterisation. So I quickly read everything else Chris had written and eagerly awaited more. The Ember Blade was a long time coming, and worth the wait.

We follow Aren and Cade, a couple of boys from the town of Shoal Point. They do usual boy things in a fantasy world; they chase gi
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: epic
I've never been a huge epic fantasy fan. I prefer imaginative minimalism to detailed world-building. Chris Wooding likes the opposite - he follows the "more is more" approach to, well, everything.

As a result, I found the book epically boring. It took me more than a month to finish it and I had to force myself to do it.

That said, I totally understand why other readers love it. Wooding is a skilled writer with a knack for characterisation and showing grand-scale events. Many readers will find the
Cameron Johnston
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is old-school epic fantasy done right, and written for a modern audience. It feels like a familiar sort of tale at first, with two country boys forced out onto a quest, but Chris Wooding masterfully plays on and subverts that familiar epic fantasy feel, so expect the unexpected, and be aware that bad things can and do happen. It's a real love-letter to the genre.

It's a beast of a tome, but it doesn't feel like it - packed full of adventure, hair-raising scrapes, ancient ruins, magic and mon
I fell in love with Chris Wooding's writing because of his extremely fun steampunky series, Tales of the Ketty Jay. I love all the main characters, their quirks, their badassery, their shortcomings, warts and all. And most of all, I like the camaraderie of these misfits. The sad parts also shook me to the core. Hell, I even had one of my favorite fantasy 'ships in it.

Ergo, I had such high expectation when I started reading The Ember Blade, thinking I'd get the same quirky, memorable, fun, gut-wr
Tom Lloyd
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Immensely readable, classic epic fantasy.

The Ember Blade is a big book, there’s no getting around that, but like the Name of the Wind you’ll be surprised just how fast the chapters fly past. There’s nothing startling about the setup, but if like me you often want a fix of classic fantasy elements done very well, this fits the bill beautifully. And of course this wasn’t written in the 80s so it’s got the more shades-of-grey side that characterises most modern fantasy. This isn’t grimdark but it’
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Goodreads Librari...: The Ember Blade - missing cover 2 15 Nov 20, 2018 01:13PM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Wooding - The Ember Blade [Nov 1, 2018] 159 47 Nov 14, 2018 02:47PM  
Book length 2 13 Sep 12, 2018 02:16AM  

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Chris Wooding grew up in a small town in Leicestershire, where not much of anything happened. So he started to write novels. He was sixteen when he completed his first. He had an agent by eighteen. By nineteen he had signed his first book deal. When he left university he began to write full-time, and he has been doing it professionally all his adult life.

Now thirty-nine, Chris has written over twe

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