I finally finished the third book in Brian Staveley’s The Unhewn Throne series. I looked back at some of the thoughts I had about the second book and noticed that I was pretty far off with most of my predictions. Definitely a good thing because it means Staveley was able to keep me on my toes and give me plenty of surprises. This book wrapped everything up fairly well and definitely leaves open a chance to explore this world more (I hope that is Staveley’s plan). There were many things I loved and even a few things I disliked about the book. Probably some spoilers in here.
-Any time the Kettral are described fighting. Staveley does such a good job of making us see just how amazing these soldiers are at their jobs. He also humanizes each of them in different ways; whether it be the Flea admitting his entire reason for doing what he does, or seeing the growth in the members of Valyn’s wing.
-Speaking of growth…the star of the book has to be Gwenna. In the first book, the reader starts out disliking and mistrusting her. By the end though, she is leading the Kettral and we see how she struggles with being a leader and accepting failure. An incredible character who could have her own book.
-One thing I did not like about Gwenna’s story though was the way she admits to being in love with Valyn and tells the story about the boat. It was a good story, but it just really took me out of the moment and seemed to not fit with where Gwenna was at that point in the story. I wonder if there was more to it and Staveley cut it out? Or was he going a different route?
-At first I did not like the way Tan came to an end. He just cannot accept that Long Fist is the god Meshkent. He believes this is all a Csestriim plot. Upon further thought, I realize that this was a way for Kaden to see that the Shin way is not always perfect. In fact, the longer he spends inside the vaniate, the more we (the readers) see the error in the Shin thinking. I would not be surprised to learn that in a future book, one of the first Shin monks was actually a Csestriim. A way to turn humans away from the gods…
-I truly thought we would learn that Adare and Valyn were also housing some gods, but nope, they were just touched in some way.
-I guess what really bothered me about Gwenna telling us how she loved Valyn was how it did not even fit with the ending at all. Valyn rides off to help the Urghal woman he had been boning. Maybe it shows that not everyone receives a happy ending. Or maybe that we do not always get what we want. I am not really too sure.
-I enjoyed the way the different religions practiced their beliefs. The Skullsworn bring death, Meshkent’s followers inflict pain, Cienna=pleasure. And they all have a way of convincing themselves that their way is the right way. Even Huutusu (or however you spell it) can make the pain and torture sound like something good.
I look forward to more from Staveley. If you read this series, please let me know what you thought. Did you enjoy the ending?