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on 18 May 2017
A well written, gripping and entertaining series which was introduced beautifully by 'The Emperor's Blades'.
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on 5 April 2017
this completered my set
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on 25 November 2016
(Spoilers)

This was a fantastic read. I'm not surprised it has such a high rating.

The book focuses on three siblings; all living in different parts of this fantastic fantasy world and all with their own struggles. Adare - the eldest - cannot sit on the throne due to her gender, but has been appointed Minister of Finance and has set about trying to prove who murdered her father: the Emperor.

Kaden, the eldest male, will now be Emperor. But he's been sent to a Monastery - just like his father - to learn inner discipline that will one day enable him to rule.

Finally, there's Valyn. Sent away whilst very young to train as an elite soldier. He has to survive gruelling trials as a cadet in order to lead his own 'wing' - a small select group of soldiers loyal to him.

This is just the outline, the book itself is full of incredible world building, intrigue and conspiracies. Looking back, the main reason I loved this book and will definitely read the next is due to the care taken by the author. He has created a fully realised and deep world. Each sibling and the characters they interact with feel fully fleshed out.

The journey throughout the book is very enjoyable; Valyn's trials (really original scene setting and scenarios from the author here) and life as a cadet are fascinating, as is Kaden's inner journey, trying to find the ability to 'empty yourself' and achieve a deeper understanding of his true purpose as Emperor. There's clever mysteries throughout that need to be unravelled.

The writing is straight forward in a positive way but rich at the same time. Events happen, pushing the overall plot forward, but the stories and events themselves are fantastic outright. I was happy to inhabit the world as opposed to being eager for it to hurry itself along which is always a good sign.

One slight disappointment was that the three stories were given around a 45/45/10 percent split, with Adare's story being given the least time. Hopefully the distribution is a little more balanced for the next book. Also, the bad guys were a little thinly sketched but it's implied that there is something grander awaiting the protagonists in the next book.

Excellent stuff.

9/10.
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on 23 December 2015
This is a very poor attempt at a grand long winded saga. Unfortunately it does not come up to the mark. I am no prude but this is crude when there was no reason for it in the story and it's done so badly, also what's with the use of 'Kent' as part of an expletive, it a famous county name in the UK! I would not have minded if the story was good it's not.
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on 24 January 2017
I had high hopes due to the reviews but after a promising start the pacing went out the door, the characters were annoyingly slow witted, the story hardly moved and was extremely predictable. Overall I felt no emotional evolvement and very little excitement. It wasn't terrible, but I won't be continuing.
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on 30 April 2015
good
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on 4 June 2017
Bought it for the wife as she like like her fantasy stuff, Game of Thrones etc. She loved it so I bought her the following two books. She's happy, I'm happy.
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on 18 May 2017
“The circle is closing, the stakes are high, and old truths will live again.”
A classic epic fantasy with a twist, this is an exciting, fast-paced and immersive read. If the story continues on this level, this is going to be an excellent series and I cannot wait to get my sweaty hands on book two.
This story follows three siblings, two boys and a girl, the children of an Emperor. On the Emperor’s murder, these three must find out who is behind the murder and survive attacks on their own lives.
Brian Staveley has created a vivid story filled with action, treachery, and conspiracy, based in a complex world filled with religions, mythology, and history. In those histories are tales of ancient powers scoffed at by most but believed in by a few.
It begins with a prologue providing a window onto an ancient time, long before the events in the main narrative begin, and where the protagonist’s point of view proves to be quite alien.
“’When you know nothing about a creature,’ the monk ground out, his voice hard as a rockslide, ‘expect it has come to kill you.’”
Then we are thrown into Kaden’s POV, the eldest of the siblings and heir to the Empire. He lives a severe life in a monastery until the outside world barges in on the death of his father. He is frustrated by his lack of learning, and wonders why he is there at all, so far from the court and all he feels he should be learning about the Empire. He is mentored by the harshest of all the monks, who seems intent to make him learn something or die trying. As a reader I was becoming as frustrated as Kaden in trying to figure out what it was the monks truly wanted of him.
Next, we meet Valyn, the middle child. He trains at a college for assassins. An odd choice for a prince, but by now we realise these youngsters have no choices of their own in this world. Valyn is good, but not the best, loyal but impetuous. He quickly discovers he’s next on the hit list and tries to discover who is out to kill him at the same time as train for his ‘finals’. An even which could easily lead to his death.
Lastly, we meet Adare, the daughter, a princess and the Minister of Finance. With the poisonous environment of the court and the religious orders of Annur all about her, she walks a fine line between what she wishes to do and what she may do. She is clever but anger makes her react in uncontrolled bursts when she must be very controlled to survive. I’m hoping Brian develops the character of Adare more as she is only touched upon throughout the book. Having said that, her last chapter is very promising indeed, and its twist is something to relish.
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on 14 February 2017
What a lucky find! There's nothing like sinking one's reading teeth into a good fantasy epic. To save me the trouble of repeating what has already been written, do go read the first three reviewers's detailed views on page one. I mean I can have a go but those 3 did such a good job expressing views similar to mine…… Instead, I'm just going to get started on book 2.
I hope it is as good a gem as book one.
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VINE VOICEon 16 February 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Don't get me wrong - this is a very good debut. The story begins with the death of an emperor and focuses on his 3 children.

Kaden is the oldest, and his story is like an R rated Harry Potter as he lives in a monastery fully of seemingly sadistic monks who strive to feel an absence of emotion. This is an interesting concept and reminded me at times of the earlier Scott Bakker books.

Valyn, the younger son, has been sent off to join an elite fighting corps. His segments reminded me of the Battle School in Ender's Game. It is here that we get the best characterization from the various members of his team and the intrigue surroing a series of murders is also handled well.

My main quibble comes with the third stand, which is about the Emperor's daughter, Adare. This receives much less attention and in some ways feels like an afterthought. And you'll never guess who the silly girl goes and falls for - women. eh?

So, because the Emperor's Blades is well written, tightly paced and builds to a very nice conclusion, with an interesting unfolding secret history, the atrocious handling of Adare only loses one star. But the whole novel (almost 500 pages) manages to fail the Bechdel test, which was barely acceptable for the Lord of the Rings but unforgivable nowadays. Hopefully this will improve in subsequent novels.
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