The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley
|Book Name:||The Last Mortal Bond|
|Formatt:||Hardback, Paperback, Ebook|
|Release Date:||March 15th 2016|
“The ancient Csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies clash outside the capital city; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuvre on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; on the islands of the Kettral, the survivor’s of Valyn’s wing return to their origins, only to find the nothing is as it was; and all the while, capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.
At the heart of it all, the imperial siblings 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.
Only one thing is certain: the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne will end as shockingly as it began.”
Make room on your “All Time Favourite’s” shelf. The culmination of Staveley’s incredible trilogy succeeds in every possible way, delivering fantasy readers a truly epic tale full of memorable characters, clever politics, an intelligent magical system, brutal battle scenes and witty dialogue.
This series has been an adventure from start to finish and when I picked up the hotly anticipated The Emperor’s Blades a few years ago I was surprised it was the author’s first book, as the attention to detail and success at world building was something I’d expect from a much more seasoned writer. After being enthralled by The Providence of Fire, it’s now no longer a surprise that with this final instalment, Staveley’s skill at manoeuvring his characters and subtly revealing their motivations and destinies in this enormous world has continued to grow. The universe that has been established and built on is at a beautiful and tragic tipping point and the author treads that fine line between exploring what we know and invigorating it with new and surprising revelations particularly well. There is a constant learning curve and at no time, throughout any of the books, can the reader feel safe and secure in the fates of their favourite protagonists or the directions their choices will take them.
“Scholars and philosophers were forever lauding truth, holding it up as a sort of divine perfection available to man. The truth in those old texts was always shining, glowing, golden. As though they didn’t know, not any of them, that some truths were jagged as a rusty blade, horrible, serrated, irremovable, lodged forever in the insubstantial substance of the soul”
In terms of the action, and a personal favourite Valyn was last seen tasting a a knife between his ribs from his beloved sister Adare, and falling to his apparent death after trying to assassinate her General, Csestriim lover and father to her child, Ran Il Torna who let the Kettrel rebel know who was the better swordsman by running a sword across his eyes. There are simply so many balls up in the air at every stage of the book that to give anything away about certain characters, even from the start, would be to spoil the enormous fun. It is safe to say, especially considering the blurb and the gorgeous US cover, the fate of the Kettrel will soon come to play a huge part in determining many of the battles ahead with readers finally getting to experience some mutli bird v bird, kettrel v kettrel aerial warfare that is stunning in it’s execution. We also learn more of the history of the Special Forces group, the fates of some those that washed out in the past and the consequences of civil warfare and it’s impact on those that can be caught between protecting the innocent and following orders.
Balendin the Leech has turned from a schoolyard bully into one of the most feared magic users in the world. His propensity for public torture combines rather well with his source of power, which is the emotion of any person whose thoughts are directed to him. You tend to take note of the guy who can slay you alive in an instant when he walks in the door. With the existence of old and new Gods, I was simply not expecting a support character to achieve such heights and he is not the only one. Triste and Gwenna grow into their roles with more charisma, guts and elegance than I could have ever expected and, like Balendin, the parts they play in determining the end game is surprising and satisfying. With the stakes being so massive it was also a relief that some of the burden of saving everything they know is taken off the three siblings shoulders and spread to the equally crafted side characters.
One of Staveley’s greatest strengths is how he writes his dialogue, every sentence grounded in that exact time and moment and dripping with wit and authenticity. He does not pull his punches with his insults and, like some of my other favourite writers of dialogue, like Quentin Tarantino or Mark Lawrence, often produces singular moments of conversation that are laugh out loud hilarious and/or shockingly crude. Many of my favourites are far too coarse for the likes of you my dear readers, so I’ll let you find them yourself.
Despite having three books set in the Annuriann Empire I feel like we have just scratched the surface of things to be explored, it’s like being 30 hours into Fallout 4 and knowing there is so much more to find and discover and being more than willing to put the time in needed to do so. The outstanding finale to this exceptional series delivers everything a lover of fantasy could hope for and more. It is an absolute must have and I can’t wait to see what Brian comes up with next. A final shout out to “The Flea”, he is one of my favourite
characters to have ever existed on a page.