The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
Series: The Unhewn Throne #2
Also by this author: The Emperor's Blades
Published by Macmillan, Tor Books on January 13, 2015
Brian Staveley's Providence of Fire, the second novel in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a gripping new epic fantasy series.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 in 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, the 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.At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
This. Book. Does. Not. Stop. It is continuous action, tension, suspense and WTF now?? moments. Needless to say, it very hard to put down, and to me that is a huge indicator of a great read. It may not have been what I expected, but it was exactly the type of book I wanted to read and my only gripe is that I have to wait for the final book.
I enjoyed the first book in this series, The Emperor’s Blades, but if you read my review, despite really enjoying it, you know I unfortunately didn’t feel it quite lived up to the hype (which I felt was unfairly high, maybe working against the book a bit). It was a good book, especially for a debut and a really fun read. I also felt the series had amazing potential. But because of some of my complaints, I will admit, much of my opinion of the series was contingent on the second book. I am quite happy to say, The Providence of Fire built on the strengths of Emperor’s Blades, and really smoothed out the parts of the books I felt held it back from a higher rating. I will not hesitate to recommend this series at this point, this is the book that justifies the hype for the series.
Forewarning, my review is spoiler free for The Providence of Fire, but contains spoilers for The Emperor’s Blades. The three siblings all have their individual storylines and all 3 are full of tense situations as they struggle to survive, track down and/or avoid assassins and traitors and protect Annur.
At the end of the first book, I thought the second book would see the three siblings come together towards the beginning of the story, and it would take place mainly in Annur. No idea what made me think that. Why would I think it would be easy to get to (and stay in) Annur? Honestly, that sounds boring at this point (after reading what really happened), so I like this one much better. I have to mention, I loved switching between the POVs and didn’t have as clear of a favorite this time. I felt like the breaks gave me a chance to catch my breath a bit because the pace of this book is insane (in the best possible way).
Kaden continues his journey to Annur with Triste. Through this storyline, we get to learn more about the Ishien, which are absolutely nothing like the Shin monks. Not even freakin’ close. Though, it may explain a bit about Tan. Triste is also a bit of a mystery as it becomes clear there is more to her than originally meets the eye.
I enjoyed Adare’s character so much more this time. She is still not a perfect person (who is?), but she has come a long way from the naive girl she was in the first book. After the murder of her father and realizing she was manipulated by his murderer, she grows a bit of a backbone and starts taking matters into her own hands. She learns to assert herself, or at least work out a way to do what she could given circumstances. This is the type of female character I love reading, I’m really looking forward to see where she goes in the next book. I don’t want to say much about her storyline, but I can say, I didn’t see it coming. I’m quite intrigued by a few side characters that were introduced with her sections as well.
Valyn contends with fighting not just their actual foes, but fellow Kettral that think he has gone traitor. It is hard to know who to trust when people so high up in command have obviously been compromised and were in on the plot to wipe out the Malkeenians. How can he prove his loyalty when there seems to be no one he can trust? In addition to the members of his wing, Pyrre has joined up with them. She might be a brutal cut throat of an assassin, but I have to admit to really enjoying her brusk take on everything and her callous disregard for rules.
The end of this book will leave you wanting to grab for the next one immediately, but it’s so good, I don’t recommend putting off reading it either. Just go read it. Deal with with the wait. You can’t forget how it ends, so don’t worry about that.