Review: The Empire’s Ruin (Ashes of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley

Rating: 10/10


Brian Staveley, author of The Emperor’s Blades, gives readers the first book in a new epic fantasy trilogy based in the world of his popular series the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, The Empire’s Ruin.

The Annurian Empire is disintegrating. The advantages it used for millennia have fallen to ruin. The ranks of the Kettral have been decimated from within, and the kenta gates, granting instantaneous travel across the vast lands of the empire, can no longer be used.

In order to save the empire, one of the surviving Kettral must voyage beyond the edge of the known world through a land that warps and poisons all living things to find the nesting ground of the giant war hawks. Meanwhile, a monk turned con-artist may hold the secret to the kenta gates.

But time is running out. Deep within the southern reaches of the empire and ancient god-like race has begun to stir.

What they discover will change them and the Annurian Empire forever. If they can survive.


Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Empire’s Ruin (Ashes of the Unhewn Throne #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

The Empire’s Ruin is the epitome of high fantasy. An unrelenting, staggering piece of fiction that goes above and beyond in every single facet of the genre. Fans of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne saga will agree that this is Staveley’s best yet.

If I’m being honest, I don’t think the word “high” or “epic” fantasy does this tome justice. I’m thinking of starting a new sub-genre of fantasy called “colossal”. Staveley has certainly outdone himself with this massive first volume in a new trilogy and I am here for every single word he puts to the page.

If I’m being honest, I was sold on this book simply because of the Kettral. Freaking giant war hawks that warriors ride into battle. What’s not to love about that?

What ended up happening is that I fell head over heels for Staveley’s characters and the awe-inspiring world he has built. Every part of the puzzle is so meticulously pieced together, fleshed-out to a ‘T’, and painted with a delicate brush to ensure they all fit into the mold just so. With so many names thrown around, you’d think it’d be easy to get lost, but their uniqueness make them mainstays in your mind throughout the entirety of the read.

The story is told from three (3) POVs: Gwenna, Ruc & Akiil, all of whom fans of the original trilogy ought be familiar with. While Ruc and Akiil have very entertaining storylines, Gwenna’s stole the show from the very beginning. I found myself enjoying the the chapters where she wasn’t the main focus, but I simply craved more and more from her POV.

First off – Kettral (check).

Second – Bada$$ female protagonist (check).

Third – Enjoys blowing sh*t up (check).

Fourth – Despises authority (check).

There are more, but you get the point. She is amazing in every which way you want me to sell it and seems to be an instantaneous way to hook readers into the rest of the novel.

Staveley doesn’t waste time in beginning by bringing the reader into the fold, explaining what has happened in previous installments. I applaud him for that. He starts off assuming you know exactly what’s what and then blazes a trail with unmatched ferocity. Good news is: if you haven’t read any of the Chronicle novels, you can read Empire like it’s the first of its kind. While there are names and experiences from the previous series mentioned, it does not detract whatsoever from your intended enjoyment.

I want to say more, but alas, it will simply spoil the read for you. Just know that if you decide to take this journey, you won’t be disappointed. That is a FanFiAddict guarantee that you can take to the bank.

Also, Richard Anderson (cover artist) still continues to amaze me… like dude, settle down so my wallet can recover. Seriously. Stop being so good for like a few months so I can recover.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh I also want to read this one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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