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The Last Mortal Bond: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book III Kindle Edition
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The trilogy that began with The Emperor's Blades and continued in The Providence of Fire reaches its epic conclusion, as war engulfs the Annurian Empire in Brian Staveley's The Last Mortal Bond
The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuver on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; and capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.
But the three imperial siblings at the heart of it all--Valyn, Adare, and Kaden--come to understand that even if they survive the holocaust unleashed on their world, there may be no reconciling their conflicting visions of the future.
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
The Emperor's Blades
The Providence of Fire
The Last Mortal Bond
Other books in the world of the Unhewn Throne
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
“The culmination of Staveley’s trilogy succeeds in every possible way, delivering readers a truly epic tale full of memorable characters, clever politics, an intelligent magic system, brutal battle scenes, and witty dialogue.”—Fantasy Faction, 10/10 Stars
“Deeply satisfying.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Darker and fiercer than the other two books […] the way Staveley crafts the ending, bringing everything together, is just masterful.” —Speculative Herald
“The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne is a trilogy that’s gone from strength to strength as it’s gone on—that’s gotten not just bigger but measurably better with every increasingly vital volume—and it’s my pleasure to tell you that The Last Mortal Bond is, without question, Staveley’s most impressive and immersive effort yet […] What I didn’t expect was that it would take my breath away. But it did.”—Tor.com
“Staveley shows how to end a fantasy epic with The Last Mortal Bond.”—io9
“One of the most brutal, gut-wrenching, raw, emotional, masterfully told, brilliantly plotted, beautifully written series I have ever had the pleasure of reading.”—The Book Eaters
“A phenomenon like the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne comes along once in a lifetime.”—The Qwillery
“Epic does not even begin to describe this dramatic third and final installment in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne.”—Bibliosanctum
“The perfect ending to a fantastic trilogy.”—Beauty in Ruins
Additional Praise for the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne
“Brutal, intriguing and continuing to head toward exciting events and places unknown.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on The Providence of Fire
“A complex and richly detailed world filled with elite soldier-assassins, mystic warrior monks, serpentine politics, and ancient secrets. Readers of Sara Douglass's Wayfarer novels and George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series should enjoy this opener.” —Library Journal, starred review, on The Emperor's Blades
“An enchanting union of old and new, Staveley's debut will keep you turning pages late into the night.”—Pierce Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising, on The Emperor's Blades
“Intricate characters, complex relationships, and plots within plots... these are the hallmarks of great fantasy and Staveley succeeds across the board. A brilliant debut!” —Jason Hough, New York Times bestselling author of The Darwin Elevator, on The Emperor's Blades
“Loved every second of it … a full, immersive, magical, and exciting world, with characters to match.” —Fantasy Faction, 10/10 stars, on The Providence of Fire
“Reminiscent of the deadly plotting found in the popular Game of Thrones series.” —SFRevu on The Emperor's Blades
About the Author
- ASIN : B00WR9L08I
- Publisher : Tor Books (March 15, 2016)
- Publication date : March 15, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 4520 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 897 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #111,022 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Each book pushes deeper into this increasingly dark, introspective venture, and the third installment pushes the dark, bitter, and hopeless quest for realism even further--and, to me, with disappointing results. While the first book may have been guilty of engaging in some of fantasy's cliches, Staveley trades that for darkness and hopelessness that pits his characters against increasingly impossible situations and mutually-destructive ends. There seems to be no winning for them at times, and I found the slim strand of hope Staveley eventually tosses them is completely overwhelmed by the sheer bulk of the depressing theology he depicts.
After painting mankind's plight in hues of pain, suffering, and brutality on one side, or dispassionate bleak emotionlessness on the other, the tone of the entire book is drawn down the darkening path he began in the second book.
Are there highlights? Certainly. Deep, flawed, and interesting characters? Yes--in fact, I feel like his characterisation for the two brothers took a great step forward in this book. However, through their eyes we see the bleak hopelessness of Staveley's world of curiously impotent yet all-encompassing psychotic gods and their followers. Honestly, I would've been happier with Staveley's world had i stopped with the first book. Instead, I found myself depressed and finishing the third book on inertia--to a vaguely dissatisfying ending that leaves as many lose ends as real life frequently does.
The question is, do you want that kind of depressing ending for your fantasy / escapism reading? I'll say, "No."
I'm still giving the book 2 stars because I was sufficiently interested in learning how it ends that I read it all the way through, but it was a chore. I'm done with this author.
Finally, the language; I was impressed with Staveley as a prose stylist in the Emperor's Blades, but someone must have told him in the meantime that you're not a serious author if you don't use the f-word at least once on every page. Ok, it's a book for adults and I can actually take this once in a while, but it really doesn't add anything when used in the narrator's voice (as it is all the time in this book). What happened to good old English words such as "quite", "rather"? Instead, all we get is f******. That's f****** unnecessary.
but i won't lie to your and say i'll even read another book or series by Staveley any time soon. i got burned. you're probably getting burned right now as well. my heartfelt apologies. enjoy the escape, nonetheless!
Top reviews from other countries
I hadn't read books one and two for many years so thankfully the author does a good job of naturally reminding us where Kaden, Adare, Valyn and Gwenna are and what they're up to without being too exposition heavy.
It's a massive boo but it's engaging. The world and characters are great but I want to focus on Kaden's fantastic story arc especially.
If you read a lot of fantasy - as I do - so many worlds and characters are very similar so when you see a concept that's unique it deserves praise and analysis. I'm talking of course about the Vaniate. What a wonderful idea and makes you ask yourself some tough questions. Life is hard, but is completely checking out and living in the void of nothingness the answer? Is feeling nothing actually living? And of course this ties into the main story with the Csetriim perfectly because this is of course what they want from humans.
Gwenna's story is also fascinating - this is a new story to this book so no spoilers - but what I can say is that it makes you think about the idea of bravery. When you are just afraid and cannot fight; are you are coward or is this a perfectly natural reaction? Should you step up or try and be useful elsewhere. Is it fair to demand that people should fight? As you can see both Gwenna and Kaden's stories touch on mental wellbeing but it's done in a very refreshing and interesting way. Excellent stuff.
Now, it's also an epic fantasy novel so there's plenty of fighting, battles and tactics to get your teeth into so it has a nice balance.
Onto the negatives: other reviewers have mentioned this already but the plot ties itself up in knots and I don't know if it would stand up to major scrutiny.
Also, there's no new surprises - think about some of the reveals we witnessed in books one and two - we're just along for the ride as a reader in this novel.
But overall the series is well worth your time. There's a spin off book and the first book in a new trilogy (set in this world) has been published. I'll be picking both up in the future so that's a good sign.
In the first novel we learn that there has never been a female emperor. Yet when Adere usurps the throne, half the empire immediately stands behind her. Why? If it is because of her general and the way he can deal with the Urghul threat, why doesn’t he get the throne while she stays at his side? I get it that she’s the prophet as well but in a patriarchical, medieval/roman inspired society nobody would stand behind a female, especially one that has never been in line for the throne and who has killed the leader of the most powerful religious order in the empire. It would have been more believable if il Tornja had stepped up as protector of the empire with or without Adere at his side. That has happened in Roman society a few times.
What makes it even harder to believe is that the true heir (Kaden) reappears and suddenly starts making unprecedented political changes. Nobody informs him of the huge threat that the Urghul pose and that it may be better to wait a bit ? He might have held off declaring the revolution until he was securely on the throne and at least had a clue what was going on in his empire. Instead he makes enemies out of half of his own subjects while at the same time dealing with an apocalyptic invasion AND an even larger threat of half and full gods.
The core of all the problems seems to be with the fact that the royal family inspires no reverence whatsoever. Kaden, Valyn and Adere are not thought to be special in any way which makes me wonder how the imperial family held on the power in the first place. How does the emperor keep his most elite warriors in check if they have no respect whatsoever for him or his heir? What was keeping the Kestrel from simply flying down to the palace and taking the throne? It’s not their undying loyalty to the emperor as that went out the window the moment there were two contenders for the job.
The same goes for the religious orders. The largest one wants to turn the empire into a theocracy yet settles for a female emperor because she somehow turned divine even if she did murder their equivalent of the pope.
And then there’s Kaden. I understand that he needs to learn the Vaniate in order to use the Kentas. But does he really need to spend 10 years in the middle of nowhere, without learning anything about being emperor, in order to fast travel around his empire? Aren’t there more pressing matters like, say, governing millions? No wonder he wants to get rid of the job title and delegate the responsibility to other’s. I’m a big fan of modern democracy but it seems to me you can’t just plug that into a pre-medieval society. Somehow Kaden manages to hold on to at least half of the former empire even though officially he should have no idea what a republic is and how it is different from a autocratic empire.
That brings me to the most baffling plot hole. With the imperial armies off to do battle with the Urghul, how does the Republic even hold power? There’s no such thing as a republican army and even the Sons of Flame obey his sister, not him. A much more logical train of events, if you must hold on to the idea of a republic, would be that Kaden ascends the throne as emperor, thanking his sister for keeping his seat warm. He could have dealt with the reality that il Tornja may have murdered his father but is also indispensable as military leader. Only after the Urghul were destroyed he could have hailed il Tornja as military hero and then gotten rid of him at a later date. After peace returned he could have made gradual changes to give his subjects more power. Maybe Brian Staveley could have done a bit more research into how Alexander the Great, Kublai Khan and the Roman emperors dealt with threats and political opportunities. Anyway, despite these flaws, the world that the trilogy describes is compelling and I hope there will be many sequels to come.
By the way, am I the only one that gets the feeling that the whole Gwenna and her misfits story arch was supposed to be a separate book that has been mixed in because a deadline was looming?
With that said, some of the side character's were great as were some of the sub-plots and the forth point of view outside the main trio in this book was welcome.
In all, while I was disappointing by this final book, the series as a whole is solid and the standalone Skullsworn book was a blast to read.
The main point I would make is that all the characters seemed to make entirely rational decisions on limited information throughout the entire book. I had a hard time knowing how it was all going to end, or even whom I thought was right about their own view of the world, and it just kept me completely interested all along. Never was I just waiting for my opinion to be confirmed, even if it's just as simple as, "This person will prevail in the end."
I can't say any more without repeating myself: just an excellent series.