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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.
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Customer Reviews

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By Benjamin on 04-27-16

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.

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17 of 20 people found this review helpful


By Steven Merrick on 04-25-16

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.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Robin300378 on 04-12-16

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

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Fordy136 on 03-27-16

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.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Justin on 07-18-17

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.

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By Mr. Awesome on 05-17-17

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.

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