Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley

The Providence of Fire
AuthorBrian Staveley
Series:  Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 2
Publisher:  Tor Books, January 13, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 608 pages
List Price:  $27.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780765336415 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.

Having learned the identity of her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace is search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, renegade member of the empire's most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.

Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it

Trinitytwo's Point of View

The Providence of Fire is Book II in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series by Brian Staveley. If you have not yet read the first in this epic fantasy series, do yourself a favor and go buy books 1 & 2 NOW! I guarantee you will thank me later!

The Providence of Fire opens immediately after the events of The Emperor’s Blades. Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, tries to make sense of the treachery behind the political plot that led to his father’s murder, the massacre at the monastery, and his own near assassination. Fearing the involvement of the Csestriim, an immortal and brutal race intent on wiping out humankind, he decides to approach the Ishiens for aid. Tan, Kaden’s mentor, disapproves of this plan as the Ishien, an order of warriors dedicated to hunt and destroy the Csestriim, are violent and loath to trust. Kaden decided to move forward with his plan but in order to reach the Ishien, Kaden must pass through a kenta- a gate that can transport those who know how to use them thousands of miles away. Valyn, Kaden’s brother and leader of a wing of Kettral, pledge to get Kaden and Tan to the nearest gate. Valyn and his Kettral will then fly to the Dawn Palace to find Adare, their sister, gather information and await Kaden’s return.

Back in the capital, Adare is unsure if her brothers are alive or dead. Serving as the Minister of Finance, she has uncovered the identity of her father’s murderer and develops a plan of her own. Risking everything, she attempts to escape the Dawn Palace and seek aid from the militarily strong Sons of Flame, the very group she tried to destroy. Events do not go as planned and the siblings must make rapid decisions based on what is best for the Empire. Each choice causes an effect that ripples the courses of each other’s lives and actions.

Providence of Fire
is superb. This is epic fantasy at its best. This book captivated me from start to finish. Rereading my review for The Emperor’s Blades, I coined a term “the quicksand effect” because reading that book completely sucked me in. If possible, The Providence of Fire was even more powerful for its quicksand effect. Staveley’s characters are thoroughly fleshed out and vibrant. Faced with do or die decisions, the trio of siblings with their quick minds and very different educations make believable and hard decisions that the reader may not always agree with but can understand and empathize with. I wasn’t sure about how I would feel towards the 4th POV introduced in this story. However, tough as nails, Gwenna, a member of Valyn’s Kettral wing, was a welcome addition to this story. My one fault with The Emperor’s Blades was that the female POV was given scant attention; not so in The Providence of Fire. The four POVs inform the reader from both the male and female perspectives and kept me totally captivated.

Brian Staveley completely caught me unaware with this book. I really liked The Emperor’s Blades and I expected to “really like” The Providence of Fire. What I didn’t expect was that this installment would kick it up a couple notches and make this story a must read! I’ve given myself time to reflect because sometimes I get caught coming off a book and the adrenaline and excitement entices me to rate it slightly higher than I might normally. It’s been over a month and my love for this book has not diminished. The Providence of Fire is an exceptional read and it’s my book to beat for the best fantasy of 2015.


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