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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2016 Brian Staveley (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    201
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    91
  • 3 Stars
    22
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    5
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    0

Performance

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    59
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    9
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    3
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    84
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    28
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    5
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

100% recomend this series

Really enjoyed this series. It had me on the edge of my seat, wondering how it would turn out!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Few pacing issues but good story

Posts were a bit slow, followed by a rush at the end. It felt like the author might have struggled on how to bring about the conclusion, or was under pressure to meet a deadline. which is a shame. But despite that a great read and glad I stick with it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Get the first book and leave it at that.

I truly enjoyed the first book - gave it a full 5 stars across the board. While it was slow to get moving and at times inconsistent regarding motives, it rolled along at a steady pace - peppered by action and dialogue, mystery and dark humour.

When you get into book two that stops almost completely. The writer chooses to bog the plot down in interminable minor issues. Ones that largely lack real passion and dehumanise the characters, and transform the previously decisive "good guys", into two dimensional indecisive pawns, whom as a reader you'd deride - if you could only bring yourself to care about them enough to do so.

At the same time (as if this wasn't enough), the scope of the book expands - without any need - to include a whole lot of unnecessary overarching complications and motives; further distancing you from the characters and their real needs.

As a side-note: Brian Staveley's need to break into poetic metaphors over unrelated details (often in the middle of an action sequence) becomes more pronounced and exponentially more irritating.

Simon Vance's narration does an admirable job of trying to carry the plot, but you can only guild a turd so far.

Out of sheer stupid hope I slogged my way through the second book hoping that the medication the writer was on would wear off (or kick back in, as may be the case) in time for the third book - but alas, it only gets worse. I gritted my teeth and got through the last book - resisting the temptation to fast-forward - but it was a punishing experience.

It is truly a shame that Brian couldn't carry the sequels forward using the original concepts and assets he created in book one, and instead had to ruin everything after the first book.

Listen to the first book. Enjoy it. Then live with the suspense of what the latter books might have contained - you'll be better off.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great finish to the series

It was a great book to finish the series on. I hope there is another trilogy to come

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

ok but a bit dissapointing

it was a long series, extremely well written but but the end I was wishing for the characters to have less terrible lives than when they started. I felt empty by the end, maybe that was what he was trying to achieve, but you know we have real life for that.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Simon Vance

An excellent series this. Mr Stavely has created a world totally believable. The characters strong and storyline that has you wanting more and more. This should be considered a mini series or take up where Game Of Thrones leaves us.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

yeah it was good. story good. all the things good.

yeah it was a good lissen. I wpuld like to lissen to more stories like this

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

awesome this book is a great finalchapter to this

i loved it i fell asleep with it for the past week i am very happy with it

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome book.

Third book in The Unhewn Throne trilogy.
Another excellent read. I love this world and all the characters.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

So sad

After following the author on his lengthy journey to the peak of his construction .....
Only to be confronted with nothing that can bear the smallest weight......
What a shame

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Steven Merrick
  • 25-04-2016

I so wanted to love this book!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Last Mortal Bond to be better than the print version?

Yes, the narrator - Simon Vance - is exceptional with a great speaking voice and a good range of voices for the cast of characters and just the right emotional touch, Mr. Vance makes the book come alive.

Any additional comments?

The imperial brothers, Valyn and Kaden, were both heroic in their struggles to overcome a never ending series of nearly insurmountable obstacles, while the snotty know-it-all pampered little bitchy sister, Adare, foolishly undermines every bit of their progress made at such great cost, while she continually pats herself on the back from her cushy throne for being the only one who truly cares while moaning about how difficult her life is.

I kept hoping for the brothers to finally triumph against the overwhelming odds, but would have been equally satisfied if the sister had been stripped naked, shaved and paraded through the streets of Kings Landing, while the town folk threw dung at her... oops, wrong book. I despised Adare through the entire trilogy, more than any other character in the book including the villains, yet she still managed to come up with all of the prizes at the end. The writing, the story and the action were all compelling, but the conclusion left me frustrated and unsatisfied.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Benjamin
  • 27-04-2016

Less Awful than Predecessor

If you've read the Providence of Fire (book 2 in this series) you're probably wondering whether you should throw a good credit after bad. I managed to overcome my revulsion for the last book and listen all the way through this one. It is not as bad as the last book; I would venture to say that it rises as far as "kind of okay."

I want to give Staveley some credit. The underlying story arc is pretty cool. There is some worthy intrigue. He has built some artifacts into this world that are really interesting particularly the Kettral soldiers and the Skullsworn. There is a hint of some good world building here.

From the last book to this one, Staveley has improved on his male characters. They're no longer crashing around incoherently doing things that don't make sense, even to them. In fact, he even does some really cool things with a few of them (which would take spoilers to explain).

His female characters are half-cooked. They are more like caricatures. Most of them are one dimensional. He makes some silly decisions when he tries to flesh them out. But worst of all is Adare. She doesn't make sense as a person. Staveley uses her to increase the drama artificially. She basically walks into each scene and does something really dramatic that screws everything up for other people to fix. Her motivations are all over the place. It is so prevalent that she bends the entire book around her idiotic misadventures. This makes is significantly less enjoyable.

Vance continues to give strong narration. I took points off as some of his accents are bleeding together.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • r1r2r34
  • 13-04-2016

No closure, fairly disappointed

I think there were a lot of things missing rom this story's conclusion and did not bring closure or things that happened in previous books had no hearing in the conclusion. *spoilers ahead*
How did the obviate work when Meshkent said they weren't high enough?
What was the point of Kaden's republic and those politicians? Were they solely there to show that Kaden couldn't rule?
Why tell us about Gwenna's love for Vaelen if nothing came of it? I also thought Balandin's death should have been done by Valen and more...dramatic, given Harlin's death. It just seemed to be over so quickly and without any real sense of justice. I would have liked to see Valen lead his wing, too. After learning from the Flea that he should lead the wing he has and not the wing he wanted, that information never became useful. And what happened in the end to Pierre?
It's really a shame because I liked a lot of hints about this book and this series. But in the end, the finale made a lot of the subplots and characters superfluous.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Skipper
  • 17-03-2016

The Flight of the Dawn King

Superb narration. The series began well, but I didn't enjoy book 3 very much, even though some scenes are wonderful, especially those involving the kettrals (the birds and the humans). Loved the scenes on the old training islands, and felt for the decisions Gwenna had to make.

Writing style: The author writes beautifully, but he includes far too much internal rumination and reflection for my taste. Thoughts slows the pace, especially when listening to audiobook (no matter how superb the narration). Some of the thoughts felt like short speeches about life, emotions, death, etc., expressed in an almost lyrical language.

Plot: Not complex. I liked the premise of the beleaguered emperor saving his best three blades for last, siblings trained — each one differently — to outwit the deadly foe on a different plane. Also I was greatly intrigued by the ancient Csestriim. I thought of "Battlestar Galactica" with the cold brilliant Cylons trying to annihilate the emotional humans. But I don't like plots that rely too much on the superhuman powers of maniacal mages and insane gods (we never learned how Ciena got into Triste). I didn't care for the exceedingly OTT grim-dark, grisly, gruesome, and depressing tone that consumed this book, with slaughter, mutilation, and masochistic sex.

Characterization: Characterization is a plus, as we see the "blades" develop across the trilogy. I followed Kaden with interest. His character allowed for some clever ideas about zen philosophy. I enjoyed the scenes in Rassambur and around the gates. I didn't much care for Adare, although she grew on me. I did like her councilor, Nira, but she could have contributed more. As for Valyn...hmmm. He's the one who truly caught my heart strings. I wanted the best for him but...

General Ran il Tornja the Csestriim (aka Tarn'is) made for a clever villain. I wondered if he was also known as Sos, in the prologue? Belendin was flat-out evil with no texture, similar to Long Fist and Meshkent (although some substance came from the god of pain).

The book ends well. The last chapters are vivid, heartbreaking, and suspenseful, followed by a promising epilogue set about a year in the future. I would have also liked to read more about the future of the Kettrals, especially Gwenna, Tallal, Anneck, Quick Jak, The Dawn King, Flea, etc.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ranier Keith
  • 30-03-2016

Character's stupidity a crutch for author

characters unbelievable decisions a crutch for storyteller. Cool concepts, unforgivable leadership. incredible departure from character identity. Just when you think that you know what a character is all about, they make the worst decision due to the worst conclusions rationale has to offer.
"Oh, you plot revenge against me for disgrace of your family name? Nevermind that for now, have my baby."
The sacrifices made by noble characters are nullified by the results of the leadership's breathtaking errors in deduction.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • John MacKenzie
  • 08-04-2016

Missed the mark.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you loved the first two (I did) just be prepared for disappointment if you think it will compare.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Vance is great. Switches between male and female are very distinct and well acted.

What character would you cut from The Last Mortal Bond?

In all seriousness I was kind of rooting for the destruction of mankind by the end.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kory
  • 22-06-2016

Fun read but a disappointing ending

Loved the first two books and was very excited to see how this book wrapped them up. I was disappointed that Valyn (who was so built up) became more of a sub-character. Adare on the other hand was a nightmare. With her becoming one of the main characters or the main character the story really faltered for me. She continues to just "f" things up, has a royal attitude, and in my mind is a scheming person. I thought her parts were predictable and boring. Then somehow at the end "without still doing anything useful" she ends up on the top. I seriously listened to the book wishing and waiting for anyone to "put an arrow in her eye".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Donnell
  • 14-04-2016

A poor ending to an otherwise great trilogy.

The first 2 books were great, but I feel the writer really lost his direction and characters in this book. All 3 of the main characters become the worse version of themselves in this book, with one never coming back to the character they were, one come back but in a nonsensical way, and one just kind of not making sense the whole book. Not sure what happened, but this trilogy needs a different ending.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Francois Babeuf
  • 17-03-2016

Redemption Song

After the fantastic first book, Emperor's Blades, the second, as good as it was, and without spoilers I can't really go into much detail, it wasn't nearly on par with Emperor's Blades. In fact, at the end of it, I worked myself into a nearly apoplectic shock. "Did I really waste all that time and money? Did the author waste his, as well as his talent?"

I'm so happy to relate to you that we did not, fellow readers. I got this on pre order, and took much longer than I normally would finishing this, for reasons that I cannot get into, again for spoiler reasons... But I nearly put this away 15 times or more until a quarter in, when the storyline, seemingly brought so low at the end of the last book and into that first quarter because of seemingly useless employment of dramatic irony and uncharacteristic actions by the main characters started, finally, to make sense.

If you loved Emperor's Blades and yet felt let down, as many did, by the follow up, be assured. It gets so much better than you could hope. Maybe and maybe not a HEA, but in this era of dark fantasy, we have a light Fantasy taking the best from both worlds. Rejoice!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • The Night is Dark..
  • 24-12-2017

Solid, Entertaining Fantasy Series!

Would you listen to The Last Mortal Bond again? Why?

No, it's a very long book

Who was your favorite character and why?

I loved Pyrre - she's loyal to her order, her God, and has no regrets about who she is and what she does. She doesn't pull punches or lies and has no agenda. A refreshing character

What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Vance did very well at voicing the different characters and pacing the action. He nearly pushed the series to 5 stars for me

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

**** POSSIBLE SPOILERS WITH THIS ANSWER ****

The Flea's story was particularly moving. I didn't like him at first, but when his background was revealed and the woman in his life came to the forefront, his motivations and dedication really made it hard to read his arc as it came to a conclusion

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the world and history that was created by Brian Staveley. He put a lot of thought into it, and the story was captivating and made me laugh at times. The predictable ending with no jump-off-the-page shockers or twists was a bit of a letdown, but this was a solid, fun fantasy read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Robin300378
  • 12-04-2016

Never reached the excitement of the first book

I thought, like many trilogies that the 2nd book would be the"filler", but the feeling I had about this was that it was mainly filler as well.

Although beautifully written at points with fantastic description of character and scenery, it lacked the snappy, pacey plot that made the first book so good

I love books involving magic. and I don't even mind some involvement of gods, but much like David Dalgleish's books about Ashur and Karak, it starts to lose something when gods become directly involved.

I re-listened to the first two books before listening to this one and what the second 2 lacked was the humour of the first one. There is a deliberate distinction in the 3 main protagonists in the writing style, language and pace of plot and it suits the first book. in the second, it loses this and by the third, the urgency of the first book is lost in a long, sprawling, convoluted plot

worth a credit but nothing like as good as the first of the trilogy

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Fordy136
  • 27-03-2016

Surprising Ending

Trying my best to not put spoilers in.

The first book was good. The main two male characters were interesting. One a badass, the other a unpredictable. The female boring and felt very pointless. In general, a great storyline and told very well.

Then the second book brought the boring female character into herself. Helping the reader understand why she was in the first. Making the 'badass' brother annoying and the munk more intriguing.

And the third book finished the whole story amazingly. All three characters, plus a new one added too a forever growing story that became more and more intense. The author showed a skill few can.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kettenleser
  • 26-03-2016

Much less compelling than its predecessors

Unfortunately the conclusion to what could have been this decade's best epic fantasy trilogy disappoints in almost every regard. Overlong and hugely repetitive it lacks the urgency and suspense that made the first two books so great and meanders along in an almost shockingly uninspired fashion. Would have needed a much better editor than it had. One can only hope that Mr. Staveley will rebound with his next series.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • gary
  • 30-06-2018

A new star ⭐️ in fantasy

One of the best fantasy story’s I have listened to for years Brian Staveley stands up there with the likes of Brandon Sanderson & George R R Martin, fans of their book will love this trilogy
This final instalment is non stop action from start to finish, the writer has true grit , not for the faint hearted this story is very bloody has fantastically diverse characters , unique factions & races not you typical fantasy-world I could go on forever, Simon Vance brings this world and its characters alive with a masterful performance, do not miss out on this series it is truly great, buy or download the Emperors Blades read or listen you won’t be disappointed
5 starts 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 indeed 👍

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 14-06-2018

underwhelmed

If youve made it this far you might as well finish but I'm underwhelmed with this whole trilogy tbh and would recommend a lot of other fantasy authors before this...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jordan
  • 15-02-2018

Will Read Again

The book starts in the same way as the previous two, slow to lay the ground work but ever building momentum until it reaches its exciting conclusion. This book closes off the series very well with many unexpected twists and turns sending you towards wrong conclusions until you reach the final few chapters.

Staveley writes an accomplished fictional world with a wonderful lore that doesn't distract from the core story. The characters are well created, full of personality and this makes you care about them.

Finally... Simon Vance is delightful to listen to as he tells the story and gives a decent range of voices for the large range of characters though I feel he struggled to vary many of the male voices making it hard to distinguish some characters at times

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Teitur Ásgeirsson
  • 09-01-2018

Simon vance keep story alive

the seires start good but this book it goes down.

it came flat and just i didnt wanna buy next one.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • matthew brooke
  • 27-12-2017

Didn’t live up to it’s predecessors

Loved the first two books, was gripped and couldn’t wait to start the third. But I was really disappointed. It read like it had been finished in a rush to meet a deadline and to squeeze it into a trilogy instead of writing a fourth book. the ending felt unplanned like it’d been written as a last minute attempt at a twist just to close it down. A real disappointment that made me feel the first two books were wasted by a slipshod finish.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ali Saleh
  • 08-12-2017

Good but not .. engaging?

The trilogy is very good, i think it was very smarly written .. i was always appreciating plot points when they happen and overall i have to say that it was a good book with good writing

now for the bad: this may be subjective (hence the 4 stars) but for some reason i didn't find it too engaging, as in i didn't really feel this urge to listen to the book, listening was almost like a bit of a chore since i started, and i like finishing if i start. i don't know if it was the prose (which was beautiful btw) which i thought had loads of extra stuff and adjectives which we could have done without and which would havecmade the books shorter and maybe more engaging

honestly i'm not too sure what it is
and this is my first review so sorry if its not great

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Neil
  • 14-09-2017

brilliant

really good each book seemed to mature as the main characters did really good listen