Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy befits the genre Grimdark with elements of mystery and adult military fantasy. Throughout the entire trilogy, there is one thing that Brian done really well and that is the paranoia creation within the plot. It’s almost always unpredictable ever since book 1 and as the series progressed, the world and story only gets darker and bleaker. This is especially true in the last two book. Starting off almost one year after the events that occurred in The Providence of Fire, The Last Mortal Bond takes you deeper into a bleaker world with the entire humanity at stake. I have to say that while the last book managed to conclude everything with a fantastic climax sequences, it’s really a struggle at times to reach this point.
The Last Mortal Bond imo contained the most interesting storyline out of the entire trilogy but executed quite poorly. It is intriguing but at the same time ‘Kent-kissing’ frustrating to read at times because Brian relies a lot on some of the main characters stupid decisions to drive the story forward since the 2nd book. What makes it even worse is that almost every single problem in this trilogy could’ve been solved if the three siblings did one very simple thing and that is communication with trust. However, they can’t do that because they were separated for 8 years and growing up in different environments changed their relationships and personality completely. When it comes down to it, I can’t help but think that the Emperor himself is the one to blame here for his children’s stupid decisions and for sending them to a different isolated location without any means of communication with each other in the first place.
“If the people are foolish, he said, it is because their leader has failed them.”
The characters development for the three MC and Gwenna is definitely different from what I imagined would happen from the first book. Other than Gwenna, the sibling doesn’t have any coming of age theme happening between them until the last 200 pages of the book. I mentioned this before, these characters development will probably be the biggest reason on whether you’ll love this trilogy or not.
Adare for instance is probably one of my most dislike heroines of all time next to Ruby from the Darkest Mind trilogy. It’s never a good thing when someone’s POV in a book comes out and you think “oh no… not again.” and this is what happened for me with her character. She’s downright self-righteous, idiotic and while I can understand her struggle, it still doesn’t justify her stupidities. A lot of problem in the entire trilogy would have been solved if she wasn’t so self-righteous and stupid. By the last part of the book, even though she tried to redeem her character, it’s simply too late for me. I don’t even care if she died, lived or suddenly teleported to Westeros or Hogwarts.
Luckily this doesn’t hold true for Kaden’s, Valyn’s and Gwenna’s storyline. I can’t talk too much about their POV since I really think it’s best for you to find out for yourself. Their development throughout their journey is unpredictable, Kaden’s and Valyn’s will face the repercussion of their decisions and there is no way in hell I could ever predict Valyn’s character development direction from reading the first book. Their POV may not work for some people but I personally find it suitable for the Grimdark story this series try to achieve at the end.
The US edition book cover featuring a scene from the book itself. Valyn & Gwenna along with a kettral is in the picture.
Gwenna’s POV and the entire Kettral scenes is one of the best aspects from the entire trilogy. It’s fantastic, her POV is fast paced, interesting, sometimes humorous and seeing the developments of each side character in her storyline is so captivating.
“If she survived, she'd be able to write her own text, a rival to Hendran's. She'd call it 'Error and Improvisation: How to Learn From a Total Goat Fuck'.”
This is also relevant for the entire Kettral group. It’s always great to see loyalty, love and friendship struggling to win in a bleak world full of danger and fucked up circumstances.
Now, the other great things about the book and the trilogy itself had always been in its world-building and writings. Brian Staveley prose deserves at least a 4 star on its own for its beauty, he definitely knows his way around weaving words. I’ve talked about how great the world-building aspect in my previous reviews and while this book on its own doesn’t have a lot of new elements in this aspect, it’s because the foundation is already laid out by the first two book and it only needed a little touch to increase its depth and Brian did it. However, there is another phenomenal bonus here and that’s the climax sequences.
It’s amazing what Brian Staveley did in the last 100 pages of the book, the entire story and build up comes in full circle with these pages. The whole climax sequences in it looked like something written by Brandon Sanderson. I’m not saying that lightly, it’s really well written and it reminds me a lot to Well of Ascension, the 2nd book out of the Mistborn trilogy. It’s more than 80 pages long and its full throttle greatness. If there’s a negative point about it, it’s that I find one of the main villains who have been there since book 1 to be a really flat character. This is because the particular villain doesn’t have any dialogue in this book. It made me feel like they’re fighting a natural disaster rather than a person. This doesn’t take my enjoyment out of the climax sequences though. These last 100 pages made the entire struggle I have with the book worth it. For the ending itself, I find it really befits to the theme, I don’t love it but it’s suitable so no complaint from me there.
Lastly, on to the last con of the book. Other than Adare, the other biggest problem of the last book is in its pacing. This is the last book of the trilogy and ¾ of it consists of the three main characters walking, running, travelling and excessive self contemplation. For example, a character asked a question “What happened?” insert one to three paragraphs of contemplation and flashback, the other person then answered the question and insert again another one to three paragraph. This happened a LOT of times and it’s really repetitive and boring to read after a while. This is the last book, I want to see more of the plot progression instead of self contemplation which doesn’t provide anything to the story and the characters development itself. I’m reading the UK version which consists of 878 pages, out of those, there’s literally around 600 PAGES consists of our main characters doing this with the exception for Gwenna. I honestly think this book’s length could’ve been cut down by half and it would make the pacing and book itself much better. It doesn’t have to be fast paced, I loved slow paced book most of the time but there are simply too many unnecessary sections that took my immersion away.
See how hard it is for me to review this book? There are a lot of things I love and vice versa. However, I do find despite everything, I still find the positives outweigh the negatives. It’s still a great trilogy and I would recommend this trilogy for anyone who’s looking for a Grimdark series with a great and fitting conclusion to read. However, come into this knowing that you probably won’t love any of the main characters other than Gwenna. I do suggest you to try reading the first book and see how you feel about it first. If you don’t like the first book already then might as well drop the series since there’s a really high chance you won’t enjoy this series. The Last Mortal Bond is not a bad book in general, it’s actually really good but it’s just a bit disappointing since it really doesn’t live up to the potential that the first two book provides.
Overall trilogy review:
The Emperor’s Blades: 4/5 Stars
The Providence of Fire: 4.5/5 Stars
The Last Mortal Bond: 3.5/5 Stars
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Trilogy: 12/15 Stars