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review 2014-05-21 09:40
The Emperor's Blades
The Emperor's Blades - Brian Staveley

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’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.

Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?

Isn’t that blurb sound epic? And that cover art is just awesome. I read that blurb last August and this book became one of my most awaited book for this year. Now that I’ve read it, that blurb feel somehow hollow. 

As the blurb said it is the story of three siblings Adare, Kaden and Valyn. And I’ll tell you how I felt about these three.

Adare: Her character don’t go with the blurb. I don’t know why she has been given so much space up there in the blurb. She has merely 4 or 5 chapters to herself where I felt she was trying desperately to punish the murderer of her father as well as trying to prove herself to other courtiers that she was the right candidate for the seat of “Minister of Finance.”

Valyn: First of all this name “Valyn” reminds me of Vaelin Al-Sorna from Blood Song. Alongwith the name story of this Valyn is very similar to that Vaelin. Kind of coming of age. But the similarity ends there. Valyn who was training to be an elite soldier got the most attention from the author. Most of the book was dedicated to his training enroute to his final test. During the last phase of his training mysterious events starts happening around him which he somehow rightfully connects to his father’s murder. Now it was upto him to solve these mysteries and save his brother Kaden from assassination. 

Kaden: The new emperor Kaden was sent to a far monastery at the age of ten where spend next eight years of his learning the disciplines of monks. And for most part of the book that was my biggest confusion that why the heir to the throne was not learning art of sword, fighting, or politics and spending his days at an isolated monastery. But the author took mercy on me and explained that. Whereas Valyn story was action right from the start, Kaden’s was slow and dull. But it really picks up after the first half of the book.

The world building was good in the book. There was not whole lot of magic and whatever was there was not explained well. Author could’ve tell us about "Leaches" and "mysterious creatures" in detail. Like what they’re or what they can do or where they come from. May be I’ll get to know about them in next book. 

And last point author was so much secretive about the villain. He did not tell us who he is or what he can do or why he did what he did. 

Well there are three things that I want to know more about in second book:
1) Magic System
2) Information about this bad man
3) I want more of Kaden

Regardless of my complaints I enjoyed it. With all the suspense and fun at some places it was a good read if not amazing.

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