The climactic third and final novel in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne.
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.
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.
A better writer than I could maybe do justice to the absolute magnificence that is this series – The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne. I sit here, having just finished the third (and final) book in the trilogy, and am at a loss.
The Emperor’s Blades made Brian Staveley one of my favorite authors ever, The Providence of Fire affirmed that, but The Last Mortal Bond has ensured that this series will always remain a favorite, one that I’ll read and re-read many times throughout my life, one that will always stick with me, always be in the back of my mind while reading other books, other journeys, and one that will forever haunt me. It’s ensured that I’ll always be first in line to buy anything by him. So rarely has a first book enamoured me so completely, the second book made that love even larger, and the third actually finished it out so beautifully that I turned the last page with a feeling of completeness and contentedness.
This series has given me equal parts joy and sorrow, pain and love – and that’s pretty fitting considering Meshkent, God of Pain, and Ciena, Goddess of Pleasure, are the parents of all gods in this world that Staveley has weaved effortlessly onto these pages.
This is a story to be experienced, so you can ride the plains, stand in Intarra’s Spear, smell the smoke, hear the cries, feel the determination, and feel the determination coursing through every action, word, and decision. My words, written here, can compare nothing to the simple act of picking up the book and joining the battle alongside Valyn, Kaden, Adare, and so many others that my heart hurts to hold them all.
It’s not just an epic story with everyone fighting for the throne, or their lives, it’s a million smaller stories tied together with bonds of family, friends, enemies, and millenia-old battles.
Something that I’ve really come to appreciate over the last several years is amazing female characters. All too often they are caricatures or prototypes, instead of fully fleshed out people. Not so here. Here, Brian Staveley, has created women who are just as real, fully complete and individual, as the male characters. They’re not token characters, they’re involved in the plot, the world, the story. They’re good and bad, indifferent and involved, just as much as anyone else in the world. Don’t let the fact that in the Malkeenian family there are two brothers and one sister fool you – women, here, are integral.
Brian Staveley weaves words and plots, stories and emotions, action and thought effortlessly, as I’ve come to expect. But he exceeded my expectations with a tale so involved and intricate that I couldn’t see how we could possibly survive. I fell in love with the prose in the first two books, but even here I was blown away. I have pages and pages and pages of notes on this book, not that it says much beyond a page number for me to reference with a quote that I love, a moment I want to relive, or a passage that deserves to be revisited every couple of hours.
Many times while reading this series, and this last book, I’ve stopped – arrested right in the middle of all the action, all the tension – and re-read a paragraph or scene so beautifully written that I had to read it again. I couldn’t go on without appreciating the prose there in front of me.
Considering the level of tension that is the ENTIRETY of this final book, that’s saying something. Every spare moment I had – and trust me, with three kids, three dogs, and a full-time job, it’s not much – I was reading this book. Staying up way past a reasonable bedtime, getting up early to read before I had to go to work, lunch, breaks, waiting in line for coffee, I had The Last Mortal Bond out and was reading. I needed to know how and why and where and when. And just when I thought that I couldn’t possibly take any more suspense, Brian Staveley ratcheted everything up, again, and I was left on the literal edge of my seat, biting my nails, devouring every word to the finish.
The only thing I want now? More.