Hi, my name is Dragana, and I’m a book-o-holic. My goal in life is to read all the speculative fiction novels in the world. (or at least try) :)
You can also find me on: Bookworm Dreams Blog
When 2013 was at the end and various websites published the lists of most anticipated fantasy books in 2014, The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley was on every one of them. I dare you to find the one without it! :) Also, those lucky bloggers who got early review copies sang praises and showered it with 5 star rating. So when the moment came for me to read The Emperor’s Blades, I must admit I was afraid: “Will I like it? Please, God, I don’t want to be a black sheep again..”
The Emperor’s Blades follows the lives of three main characters, scattered across the empire of Annur. The one thing they have in common is that they are the children of the current emperor. The event that creates the big turmoil in their lives and starts the plot is that the emperor is murdered.
Princes Kaden and Valyn I loved from the start, although it was not clear to me in the beginning why heirs to the royal throne are educated by secluded monks or assassins. Princess Adare, who lived at the capital, had the usual problems of girl in power – men not taking her seriously. Adare was much less developed and it took a lot of time until she wormed her way into my heart (practically at the very end of the book).
While writing about universal subject like grief for lost parent and self-doubt if we are fit for the tough job that await us, Brian Staveley creates for us a thrilling tale about revenge, conspiracies, magic and even a bit of romance. Our heroes will have to learn more about themselves and how to be a good leader, either the hard way or listening to their father’s advice .
From some forgotten corner of his mind, his father’s words came back to him, firm and uncompromising: “You and Kaden will both be leaders someday, and when you are, remember this: Leadership isn’t just about giving orders. A fool can give orders. A leader listens. He changes his mind. He acknowledges mistakes.”
I especially liked the moment when the heirs to the throne start to realize all the flaws in the current political structure of the empire. And that although you try to do what’s good for the people, if you do not give them free choice, you are still a despot. With all big revelations that happened in the end, I can not wait to read the sequel and see if they will continue down the old, known path or if they will choose the new one.
The Emperor’s Blades maybe didn’t bring anything new to the fantasy genre, but it definitely used all the good elements and had an interesting story, easy-to-read writing style and realistic, complex characters. Fans of epic fantasy novels featuring conspiracies and fighting for the throne will enjoy reading it.
Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.