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The Emperor's Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #1)
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2014 Book Club Discussions > February 2014: The Emperor's Blades - Discussion 2 - Final Half and Closing Thoughts

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Joel (deliriumtrigger) | 312 comments Spoiler tags should not be necessary here, but let's keep the discussion open and fun.


Lisa (tenaciousreader) | 301 comments This book was a definite fun read. I enjoyed the story and look forward to seeing what happens in the next one. I think for a debut and a first in the series, it did well. Poor Ha Lin :( Really curious what the long term effects of the black egg will be for Valyn. Also looking forward to potentially getting a better picture of Adare in future books. She is set up to be potentially be a very interesting character, she just hasn't had her time in the spotlight yet to know for sure.

I did have a couple of things that prevented me from enjoying it as much as I could have. One, I found it quite predictable. I also felt there was a bit too much explanation and repetition, both of which likely contributed to the predictability.

My other complaint was the secondary characters in Valyn's chapters. I really enjoyed his chapters, but felt all the secondary characters were defined by their emotions (Gwenna is always angry and ready to blow something up, Annick is always isolated, mysterious and likely up to no good, Yurl is always arrogant and a bastard). They almost felt more like caricatures than real characters.

But, these are not major complaints. It was a fun and interesting read. Enjoyed the world and think the series has good potential.


message 3: by Kym (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kym (kymskiles) Finished this book this morning after a marathon reading session. I really enjoy the world building and I found myself invested in both Kaden and Valyn's characters and stories. Also looking forward to know more about Tan and Adare and the Csestriim.

My biggest issues are the simplification of parts of the plot making it fairly predictable at points.

Overall this is a great debut though and I look forward to the rest if the series. 4 stars.


Kyle (kyleomara) | 11 comments I haven't finished yet, just finished Chapter 31, with the discussion between Valyn and Talal regarding the leach's well. I really liked learning about the psychology of being and living as a leach. It's those types of encounters that add an extra level of enjoyment to novels for me.


Peter (peterkeep) Just finished. I will say that I'm a little disappointed - the first half was really enjoyable and I was getting pretty invested in the world and stuff, but it didn't really conclude well. Like others have said, the plot simplified and started feeling pretty watered-down. The characters kinda stopped developing. The introduction of Valyn's powers felt kinda cheesy.

Overall, it was a fun read and I didn't dislike it. I'm just disappointed that the second half of the book didn't really improve on the stuff that grabbed my attention at first.


Lisa (tenaciousreader) | 301 comments Peter wrote: "Overall, it was a fun read and I didn't dislike it. I'm just disappointed that the second half of the book didn't really improve on the stuff that grabbed my attention at first. "

I had a similar reaction. Early on I was convinced it would get a 4 star rating from me, but the second half of the book just didn't seem to work as well. Like you said, it's a fun read, a good debut, but just falls a bit short to earn a higher rating for me.

I do think it's set up for the series pretty well and I'm hoping that the next book has more of the strengths found in this one, and less of the weaknesses.


Kyle (kyleomara) | 11 comments Peter wrote: "...The introduction of Valyn's powers felt kinda cheesy..."

While I can agree that it might come off as cheesy, for me, I'm just glad that it didn't become a major deus ex machina. It was introduced over time, and didn't just pop up out of nowhere to save the day.

And while I agree that the plot did simplify, I think it may have been a result of the desire to wanting to resolve some of the story lines quickly and simply. I've seen critiques of books in series where they don't feel like finished stories, just a continuation of the plot or setting up future books. I think this book did a good job of resolution while allowing for progression.

A pretty good debut, and looking forward to the next book.


Lisa (tenaciousreader) | 301 comments Kyle wrote: "I think this book did a good job of resolution while allowing for progression."

I agree. There was enough closure/resolution to feel this book ended cleanly, but there is obvious set up and larger story arcs to carry through the series.


message 9: by Peter (last edited Feb 06, 2014 06:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peter (peterkeep) Kyle wrote: "While I can agree that it might come off as cheesy, for me, I'm just glad that it didn't become a major deus ex machina. It was introduced over time, and didn't just pop up out of nowhere to save the day."

True - that would have been so tough to read seriously! I think this book shows that it's obvious that Steveley has a lot of talent for creating stories and telling them, but with this being his first book, there were still a few weak parts.


Kyle wrote: "I think this book did a good job of resolution while allowing for progression."

Maybe it's just the way I am, but I think I prefer when there are more "cliff-hangers" I guess - I want to have more open/unfinished plot lines to drag me into the next book. When I finished this book, I didn't necessarily feel that I needed to continue the story - the ending of this could probably hold up on its own. I'll probably read the second one at least, but I don't feel like I NEED to.

I get that it's got to be tricky to write, though. On one hand, you don't want to tie everything up and turn your series into a group of unconnected stories, but you also want to have some resolution at the end, or else readers will just get frustrated. And there's not one perfect mix of the two that will satisfy everyone.


message 10: by Kyle (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kyle (kyleomara) | 11 comments Peter wrote: "Maybe it's just the way I am, but I think I prefer when there are more "cliff-hangers" I guess - I want to have more open/unfinished plot lines to drag me into the next book...."

I think there were some pretty big cliff-hangers actually, specifically with Adare. Kaden looks to be seeking the Ishien, an aggressive sect of monks that we're not sure of how they'll respond to these revelations. Valyn needs to make it to the capital and help solve this mystery, but he's currently an outlaw, which we have no idea how that will be corrected. Adare has the biggest cliff-hanger for me, because she's just found out that the man she just got involved with is likely the man who killed her father.

With those three plot lines, there's enough there to make me want the next book.


Peter (peterkeep) Kyle wrote: "With those three plot lines, there's enough there to make me want the next book."

Two things:

1. I didn't think the Adare cliff-hanger was much of a cliff-hanger. I was certain that il Tornja was at the very least involved in the plot. So that reveal wasn't too big when it happened for me.

2. The other two plot lines are brand new. They're a result of the climax of the book. So, yes, they're unresolved plot lines, but since they're so new, I'm not really as invested in them as all of the ones that resolved themselves.

Again, I'm not saying that this is bad or good or anything. I just thought that for me, it ended mostly tied up, and probably could be left as is. I'll probably read the second one when it comes out, but I don't feel the same "crushed-with-anticipation" feelings that I do about other series.


message 12: by Kyle (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kyle (kyleomara) | 11 comments Peter wrote: "Kyle wrote: "With those three plot lines, there's enough there to make me want the next book."

Two things:

1. I didn't think the Adare cliff-hanger was much of a cliff-hanger. I was certain that ..."


Yeah, I can definitely understand what you mean. The brand new plots lines don't have the same pull as one more drawn out and developed. But while I did see il Tornja being involved and it wasn't a huge shock, I'm at least interested in it, because that confrontation will play out through the entire book and allow for plenty of intrigue.

I'm in the same boat as you for the most part. Not one book I'll be dying for, but I do think I'll be excited when it does come out.


Peter (peterkeep) Yah, I think that the more I sit on it and wait until next January (when book 2 is planned to come out), it'll kind of fester for me. By then, I'll be ready to read the next one, so I'll be excited.


message 14: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Kapsar I was pretty pleased with the book. Sure there were some simple plot lines and some of the dialogue around the detective work wasn't the best. Overall, I found the book entertaining. I didn't buy the book because I thought it would be a super deep fantasy series or anything. It seemed like it would be a fairly light read and a page turner. Exceeded those expectations.


Justin  (junky8687) | 27 comments To me, this first book felt like a coming of age story for the three children of the emperor.

I'm hoping that, since that has concluded, that the story will expand and the plot will thicken in the next book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am definitely looking forward to the next one.


message 16: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Schmidt Going to agree with Justin on all counts. Adare is already an adult, and so has a smaller story to tell, although the level of naivety she displays is pretty childish.

4 attacks on the emperor. Why wait to kill his children? All of them are vulnerable, why wait to kill them until they have reason to expect treachery?

Still, it was an enjoyable book, and I've been drawn into speculating about the nature of the various peoples and powers that be. Looking forward to the next one.


Cephus Payne Thanks for the group, letting me be a part of it and the introduction to a new series of books to be read in the future.

It was a fun read, if anything.


Lucinda | 57 comments I finally finished the book(better late than never, I guess). I liked it far more at the end than I did when I started but, as a fan of the stand-alone narrative, I am disappointed to have yet another "book 1" that ends abruptly in media res.

I can't help but think how fantastic this would have been as three separate books - one for each of the emperor's heirs. Each could have taken the story meta-arc to the point of the next heir's involvement while truly developing the secondary characters who share the pages each heir.

I think it took me so long to finish because, after a whirlwind chapter or two with Valyn, I had very little interest in spending time with the political intrigue of Adare's arc or the zen mysticism of Kaden's. It became too easy to just put the book down and pick up the next heir's chapters later...

There are three very distinct stories here and I wanted all three to get the love and attention they deserved. It sort of felt like I was reading the "Readers' Digest Condensed Books" version of three really good books.


Justin | 0 comments I just finished this last night, I know I'm very late I was slowed down by the giant Words of Radiance. I'm glad I decided to read February's book because I really enjoyed it. Nothing much to add to the discussion, at least for me it really picked up after the first half and the two sons were a little more interesting so I could hardly set it down. Good pick, now I'm trying to catch up on the March book too heh.


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