Thursday, April 10, 2014
The Emperor's Blades
Back Cover Description:
"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?"
I got incredibly lucky to find a copy of The Emperor's Blades at my library several months before I expected to be able to read it. My pre-ordered copy won't arrive until August! I read the first 7 chapters as Tor.com released them on their site and buried my desire to read its entirety deep in the vaniate. I nearly missed the copy sitting on the shelves thinking it's existence to be impossible until emotions broke through and I have been unable to let the book go ever since. It will take all my strength to return it to the library...
The characters in The Emperor's Blades are some of the strongest, most well-developed characters I've read. The emperor's children have grown into adulthood still clinging to their past, their strict father, their buried mother, the unfairness of their duties to the empire. They force themselves to move past emotions and do what's best for the good of all. They're very real and raw yet strong and determined. This does not just apply to the three children of the emperor, the book is filled with lively and interesting characters that make this world exciting to read about. The Kettral are deadly, thought provoking, and pure emotion, the monks are contemplative, severe in their teaching methods, and forever seek the vaniate, a type of 'blankness' of the mind. Political minds of the empire plot and scheme and are twisted in a plot stretching further than those loyal to the Malkeenian line can possibly see or understand.
This being book 1 of the series, we follow the three children of the emperor through their harsh lives of training and the aftermath of their fathers death. The two sons, Kaden and Valyn, were sent away from the empire at a young age for training. Kaden trains as a monk to the Blank God as his father thought best for him as future emperor, while Valyn trains as a Kettral warrior. The reader gets a deep look into the ways of the monks and the Kettral giving an understanding of the two brothers personalities and influences. Their sister, Adare, remained all her life with their father learning of politics and has become the Minister of Finance for the empire. She awaits Kaden's return to save the empire, taking care of what she can in his absence.
Each chapter ends at a crucial point leaving you wanting to read more. It keeps the book well paced and exciting and though the reader only gets a glimpse into the fantastical beings of this world, book 1 builds up to revealing a powerful, and uniquely magical world in the books to come. In the fantasy world, I would consider this a must read.