C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Emperor's Blades

The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, adult, best-of-2016, epic-fantasy, read-2016, audio-books

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.


(Yes, oh shush, I'll review sensibly in a second. Just let me have this wild rabid moment.)

NOTE: I listened to the audiobook! Best audiobook ever. Although I listened to it on 2x the speed because who has time for slow voices? Not me. And everything is better in fast-forward (except cake, mate, I like that to last). But the narrator put in a few accents and was just amazing at telling and had an incredible melodic speaking style. So. #win

What I particularly loved was how it's a story about three royal siblings. It's actually narrated by all three, although Adare (the only girl) has about 1 chapter to the others' like...10 chapters. HMMMM. But she also had the least interesting storyline so I suppose I'll forgive it. #BenevolentMe But I love love looooved Valyn and Kaden SO VERY MUCH. I can't actually figure out what their ages are?? I think Kaden said he was 17, which I then suppose Valyn was 16? IDEK. LET ME KNOW IF YOU DO KNOW. But Kaden is being trained as a monk at the monstary for his position as Emperor (he's the heir) and Valyn is becoming a Super Awesome Assassin. So like their story lines don't intersect until the end -- BUT IT WAS FREAKISHLY AWESOME WHEN THEY DID. And I just have a huge weakness for brotherly stories. Yayyy the brothers. (I'm actually suffocating I love this so much omg help me.)

Plus Valyn was downright AWESOME. He is my favourite. He was badass, but he also failed a lot. He made mistakes, but he also owned them. He is a bundle of stabby rage. BLESS HIS DARK HEART. (view spoiler)

There's only like 2% romance. Which is like amazing. I'm really tired of books where there's unnecessary romance flung everywhere, BUT THIS WAS PERFECT.

Also someone needs to tell the author to chill with the whole "kill your darlings" thing. Granted, he didn't always kill them. He just HURT THEM MAXIMUM AMOUNT. The things these characters went through?!? Particularly Valyn?!? LIKE HOLY KELP. IT WAS INTENSE AND BRUTAL. THe book is everything brutal and gritty. Valyn's assassin/soldier training is insane, and Kaden gets beaten around the monastery super bad in the attempt to teach him how to clear his mind (for a purpose but I won't share because #spoilers).

Did I want to kidnap them once or twice to save them? Yes. Did I enjoy that the book knew no chill? Yes.

The plot was also majestic. Mostly because it had a bit of a mystery aspect. There were a ton of loose plot threads that didn't seem to connect at all (like random murders, and royalty assassination attempts, and collapsing buildings) and then -- they DID and it was most glorious. The book was constantly exciting and engaging. It packed a ton in and I never wanted to na. In fact, I read this in like a week. Which is absurd and insane for an audibook because I usually take a month. IT WAS SO SO ADDICTIVE, OKAY?!?!

• the fact my feels got smashed
• magic
• evil that does not sleep
• giant birds that you can fly on like Gandalf's eagles
• royal children fighting for their lives
• super gritty battle training
• a super sassy assassin
• female characters who absolutely KICKED ASS AND TOOK NAMES AND WERE GENERALLY EPIC
• intelligent and clever characters
• stabbtastic stabbage at all times
• misfit bands of warriors who don't like taking orders

Although a quiet word about the female characters... Okay, adult epic fantasy is basically always sexist. (In my experience, which is limited so far, I admit.) Even if the women characters are written complex and awesome, they're constantly put in sexist words. Because apparently we can have eagles the size of elephants but we can't have a society not built on a patriarchy. OKAY THEN. But at least this book really promoted the epicness of the women!!

And I wanted to cry. LIKE A LOT. Because it liked to stab at everything I loved. So nice, so kind, thanks for nothing. BUT DON'T LET THIS FOOL YOU: THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANT IN A BOOK. I want to never believe my favourites are safe. I want to be in a constant state of desperation to find out what happens next. The book is insufferably well written.

To summarise: I FREAKING LOVED IT. (In case you couldn't tell?!) I loved the characters so so much, because they were complex, dynamic, and amazing. It had a HUGE cast and yet everyone seemed so dimensional. And it effortlessly mixed in dark evil on the horizon, and assassination plots, and gritty and dark princeling training. It was equal parts exciting and heartbreaking. IT SMASHED ME. I'VE NOT FELT THIS ADDICTED TO A BOOK IN A LONG TIME.
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Reading Progress

September 24, 2015 – Shelved
September 24, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
November 19, 2016 – Started Reading
November 19, 2016 –
10.0% "Three very stabby royal children???? WAS THIS BOOK MADE FOR ME BECAUSE I AM PLEASED."
November 20, 2016 –
25.0% "Valyn: I think there's a plot to kill me.\nHis father: *IS MURDERED*\nHis brother: *IS ATTACKED*\nHe goes into an inn: *IT COLLAPSES ON HIS HEAD*\nHe does training exercise: *NEARLY DIES*\nValyn: But maybe I am just overreacting."
November 21, 2016 –
November 22, 2016 –
45.0% "Me: omg I love this book!!!\nBook: *KILLS EVERYTHING I LOVE*\nMe: omg I hate this book!!!"
November 24, 2016 –
89.0% "What's that strange sound you hear? \noh. \noh it's just me SCREAMING."
November 24, 2016 –
93.0% "Sleep? Why would I ever sleep again when I can just obsess over this book for 24hrs a day?"
November 25, 2016 – Shelved as: 5-star
November 25, 2016 – Shelved as: adult
November 25, 2016 – Shelved as: best-of-2016
November 25, 2016 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
November 25, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
November 25, 2016 – Shelved as: audio-books
November 25, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks to you NOW I WANT TO READ IT.

message 2: by Brianna (new) - added it

Brianna Silva WELL THEN I guess I'll just casually add this to my TBR...


@Brianna: *chases you with a paperback and waves it in your face until you read it*

Carol (bookish_notes) Ooooh I love this review! It's been on my TBR for awhile, but *slyly pushes book to the top of the stack*

Melanie I've had this on my TBR forever, but you seriously just convinced me to pick it up! <3 Great review!

message 6: by Brianna (new) - added it

Brianna Silva O.O This is violent fandom here! AH! *ducks paperback in mild terror*

Nancy I felt similarly and then was really disappointed by the next one in the series. Will be interested to see what you think.

Katherine dude I love ur enthusiasm I swear! I feel the same way about cake and gandalfs eagles so naturally you leave me no choice but to add this to my TBR list and order it from the nearest bookstore like ASAP!

C.G. Drews @Katherine: EXCELLENT. This book is the best.

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