The Emperor's Blades

The Emperor's Blades - Brian Staveley This story had a lot of very good elements, but for the life of me I couldn't get into it. I found it incredibly boring at moments, so much so, that it took me three days to read it.

It had all the makings of an epic fantasy, but the plot just didn't develop fast enough for me, and even that would be tolerable if the action that came was so intense that it required buildup. But it simply wasn't.

The plot developed on three different fronts in the same time, following three royal children after the assassination of their father the Emperor. The rumor spreads that the target wasn't simply the Emperor himself, but the entire royal line. Kaden, the heir to the throne is in a far away monastery devoted to the teachings of the Blank God on his fathers request. What i loved was the way the royal children were received by their teachers. There was no privilege, and i mean none because of their heritage. The next in line to the throne of the mightiest empire was being flogged almost every day, and made to head goats in a cold mountain. He lived with the barest necessities, learning to see the world for what it truly is and understanding the shortcomings of false pride. I could see how a father, an Emperor would wish his heir to know certain truths before he takes the throne, and the monastery was a very good way to share those ideas with the reader. Surprisingly, and in a very good way Kaden showed very little arrogance, both in action and thought. It made me like him so much more. He didn't dwell on the fact that he was a royal heir, or let it overshadow all his teachings.

His brother Valyn was fostered at the same time, but unlike Kaden he was learning how to kill with the most deadliest fighting force in the known world. The purpose for doing so was simple, he is to be his brother's keeper. One son learning to govern, the other to protect, and the royal daughter to navigate the treacherous waters of the imperial court.

On the surface it promises to be an amazing read, and honestly it should have been, but simply it lacked true depth. If you read Blood Song by Anthony Ryan, you will get my drift. In Blood Song you have an order that houses the most ruthless and deadliest, much like the Kettral, but unlike the Kettral you actually feel the training, and know for a fact why they are the best. The author here seemed to simply skim over the parts that could have pulled the reader in, and make a connection with the characters. For me, it simply isn't enough to say, "He is the best with the blades there is". I want to see the proof. I need to feel the sweat, the blood, the gore, and the burn in the muscles to appreciate the statement.

The writing simply failed to pull me in, and because of that i found it very hard to completely immerse myself in the story. The lack of depth made it hard to differentiate between the many supporting characters, as i simply didn't have enough information about the characters to tell them apart straight away. Sad really. I truly wanted to like this book, but it was just too boring.