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1[[quoteright:316:]]²[[caption-width-right:316:The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again.]]²²->''"They will not be ready to rule it until they are ready to see it burn."''²-->-- ''Sanlitun hui'Malkeenian, Emperor of Annur''²²The ''Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne'' is an epic fantasy series set in Annur, an empire ruled by the Malkeenian imperial family, who claim divine right to rule because one of their ancestors was favoured by the gods. It also has a special operations force that rides giant birds, a multitude of rival religious sects, various rebellious minority groups, and a thought to be dead ancient race of super powered beings who nearly destroyed the world in a war with mankind.²²The first book, ''The Emperor's Blades'', opens with the mysterious murder of Emperor Sanlitun, whose three children are scattered across the empire. Kaden, the heir apparent, is studying to be a monk among the Shin, a secret and isolated order who worship the sinister Blank God. His brother Valyn is training among the Kettral, the elite squad of soldiers who ride giant birds, and preparing for a terrifying trial. And Adare, the only girl, is back at the capital, recently appointed Minister of Finance and trying to solve her father's murder with traitors at every corner.²²The second book, ''The Providence of Fire'', follows Valyn, Kaden and Adare on severely diverging paths, chased by enemies, searching for answers, on the brink of a war with the barbaric Urghal tribe and each in his or her own way trying to save Annur.²²''The Last Mortal Bond'' concludes the trilogy as the three siblings struggle to save humanity from destruction and reconcile their wildly different visions for the future of Annur.²²A prequel titled ''Skullsworn'', covering the backstory of supporting character Pyrre Lakatur, was released in April 2017. ²----²!!''Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne'' provides examples of:²* AbsurdlyLongStairway: The stairs of Intarra's Spear.²* AbsurdlySharpBlade: The Kettral's smokesteel swords.²* AChildShallLeadThem: Kaden is seventeen when he inherits the throne.²* ActionGirl: The Kettral women, who are just as tough as their men counterparts, if not tougher. Pyrre.²** Huutsuu, and all Urghul women in general.²* AdultFear: Kaden and Valyn at ages three and four being kidnapped by enemies of the crown and held prisoners for weeks before they are rescued. Luckily their captors don't actually do anything to them, but imagine what they ''could'' have done to two helpless, terrified little boys.²* AffablyEvil: This seems to be [[spoiler: il Tornja's]] personality, but as he is [[spoiler: Csestriim]], this is only an act, and underneath, [[spoiler: he has no emotions whatsoever.]]²%%* TheAgeless: The Csestriim²* AirJousting: An awesome scene in ''The Providence of Fire''. When [[spoiler: Valyn]] calls the bird [[spoiler: he]] captured from Sami Yurl, ostensibly to escape Assare, [[spoiler: the Flea's flyer, Chi Hoai Mi]] immediately attacks from above with [[spoiler: her]] bird. At this point, [[spoiler: Valyn]] calls Suant'ra, [[spoiler: his]] own kettral, who then attacks ''[[spoiler: her]]'' from above in the same way, and throws [[spoiler: her]] into the valley, although later it is revealed that both [[spoiler: she]] and [[spoiler: her]] bird survived.²* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Adare eventually resumes her romance with il Tornja even after he is revealed to be [[spoiler: a Csestriim and her father's murderer.]]²* AloofBigSister: Adare is one to Valyn and Kaden, being older and smarter and not very impressed with the fact that her kid brother is going to be emperor without any formal training.²%%* AmbiguouslyBi: Pyrre²* AncientConspiracy: The plot of [[spoiler: Tan'is (il Tornja)]] that first aimed to [[spoiler: wipe out humanity]], but now is about [[spoiler: killing the gods who gave them emotions, thereby restoring them to being Csestriim (and killing a lot of them in the process).]]²* AnnoyingYoungerSibling: Adare remembers her little brothers being this way when they were kids, and wondering how much they've changed since.²* TheAntiGod: The Blank God is said to come before the current pantheon of gods and the Shin believe he's the only one worth worshipping.²* AnyoneCanDie: Oh boy, ''yes.'' [[spoiler: Ha Lin]] and [[spoiler: Pater]] are both set up as main characters before they're unceremoniously killed off. Not to mention, among the villains [[spoiler: Uinian and Yurl.]]²** And in the second book: [[spoiler: Laith]], [[spoiler: Tarik Adiv]] and [[spoiler: Fulton]].²** Book three ends with a bloodbath, leaving [[spoiler: Kaden]], [[spoiler: Triste]], [[spoiler: Ran il Tornja/Tan'is]], [[spoiler: Nira]] and [[spoiler: Oshi]] dead, as well as [[spoiler: Balendin]], who had appearently been [[spoiler: killed in the finale of the first book, only to bounce back in ''The Providence of Fire'']].²* ArmorIsUseless: Ha Lin mocks the romanticised idea of knights wearing clunky armor and waving heavy swords and distinguishes them from the Kettral, who wear light black gear. ²* ArrangedMarriage: Adare is aware that this inevitably lies in her future. Happens between Sanlitun and his wife, and WordOfGod says she wasn't very happy about it.²* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Il Tornja.²* AxCrazy: [[spoiler: Valyn]] in ''The Last Mortal Bond''.²* BadPowersGoodPeople: Leaches (AKA sorcerers) are seen this way by the people who reluctantly accept them.²%%* BadassArmy: The Kettral²* BarbarianTribe: The empire's borders are frequently attacked by the warlike Urghul from the North and the jungle tribes of [[TheSavageSouth the Waist]] from the South.²* BatOutOfHell: The Kettral worship Hull, the god of darkness, at a tree on which hundreds of large bats sit.²* BeautyEqualsGoodness: The [[spoiler: possibly nonexistent]] Nevariim²* BewareTheNiceOnes: Kaden, Kaden, Kaden. For reference, see how he [[spoiler: ruthlessly knocks out his brother and then murders Balendin after he masters the art of the vaniate, which basically turns off all emotions.]]²** At the end of ''The Providence of Fire'', [[spoiler: Triste]] slaughters hundreds of people in the Dawn Palace (although it is revealed that she was in fact [[spoiler: possessed by Ciena, the goddess of pleasure)]].²* BigBad: Ran il Tornja/Tan'is²** BigBadEnsemble: As of ''The Providence of Fire'', [[spoiler: Meshkent]] is another strong contender for the title.²* BigBrotherInstinct: Valyn goes to great lengths to find and protect Kaden. ²* BlackSheep: As a child, Valyn saw himself as this because he didn't have the special ElementalEyeColors that his father and siblings did, and reacted by trying to set fire to his own eyes with a burning twig. Of course, there's no indication that anyone treated him differently for it and by the time he's an adult he seems to have gotten over it. ²* BlondeBrunetteRedhead: The three main Kettral girls we see: Annick (blonde), Ha Lin (brunette) and Gwenna (redhead)²* BlueAndOrangeMorality: Arguably the Csestriim, the Ishien, as well as [[spoiler: some of the gods]]²* BodyguardBetrayal: [[spoiler: It turns out that the Aedolian Guard is involved in the conspiracy against the royal family.]]²%%* BreakTheCutie: Happens to Triste.²* BullyingADragon: Valyn is constantly harassed by his classmates Yurl and Balendin, not to mention some of his trainers and superior officers, despite being the prince of the empire and brother to the future emperor. Justified in that a) the Kettral don't give two shits about his title and b) some of them bully him simply to prove that he won't get any special treatment for being a prince. ²* ChasteHero: Kaden, due to being stuck in a monastery throughout his adolescence. His courtiers are eager to correct that.²* TheChessmaster: Adare tries her best to be one, but is ultimately outmaneuvered by [[spoiler: il Tornja.]] She fares better in the second book. ²** Kaden starts to grow into this role as well over the course of ''The Providence of Fire.''²* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Valyn and Ha Lin, who've known each other since they started training as kids. ²* ChurchMilitant: The Sons of Flame, a militia serving the Temple of Intarra. With their numbers in the tens of thousands, they pose a legitimate threat even to the imperial legions.²* ColdBloodedTorture: The prostitute Amie is slowly tortured to death by [[spoiler: Balendin and Sami Yurl. This is pretty routine for Balendin, who uses the resulting emotions to fuel his powers.]]²** The Ishien willingly subject themselves to torture until they're nothing more than [[EmptyShell Empty Shells]]. Apart from turning them into emotionless killers, this also enables some of them to use the ''[[PortalNetwork kenta]]'' without the extensive training of the Shin monks. ²* CurbStompBattle: [[spoiler: Balendin]] destroys [[spoiler: Gwenna's]] five Kettral wings effortlessly.²** Off-screen, [[spoiler: Long Fist/Meshkent]] kills [[spoiler: the Flea's flyer, Chi Hoai Mi, and her kettral,]] similarly.²** In their first duel, [[spoiler: Valyn]] doesn't stand a chance against [[spoiler: il Tornja]], although it helped that [[spoiler: Adare stabbed her brother in the back.]]²* DaddysGirl: Adare, the only one of Sanlitun's kids who stays back at the capital with him and receives direct training in politics and government from him.²* DeadpanSnarker: Most of the minor characters, with Gwenna, Laith, Akiil, Pyrre and Tan being notable mentions. ²* DidNotGetTheGirl: [[spoiler: Valyn. Mostly due to her untimely murder.]]²* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler: Balendin]] is shot with a crossbow bolt and goes over a cliff to a well-deserved end... of course, he doesn't actually die and returns in the next book.²* DisproportionateRetribution: Sami Yurl is such an arrogant jerk that he thinks being challenged by someone warrants him beating them to a pulp in a long, drawn out and needless cruel manner.²* DivineParentage: Occurs somewhere along the Malkeenian line, since centuries ago the goddess Intarra was said to have had a kid with one of their ancestors. ²* TheDragon: Balendin is this to Yurl.²** DragonInChief: Yurl acts like he's in charge, but Balendin is by far the more dangerous of the two, thanks to his magical powers.²** However, in books two and three, Balendin ''does'' seem to be this to Long Fist/Meshkent.²* ElementalEyeColors: Members of the Malkeenian royal family (with the exception of Valyn) are described as having 'blazing' fiery eyes that mark them as being blessed by their patron fire goddess Intarra.²%%* EliteArmy: The Kettral²* TheEmperor: It's in the title!²* EyeColorChange: Valyn suffers one after his [[spoiler: encounter with the slarn king during Hull's Trial]], which turns his eyes from brown to pitch black²* FantasticHonorifics: Emperors of Annur are addressed as Your Radiance and referred to as the Light of the Empire. Valyn's trainers and fellow cadets mockingly call him these when taunting him.²* FantasyCounterpartCulture: According to WordOfGod, the Annurian Empire is based on Tang Dynasty China and the Shin monk philosophy on Buddhism and Daoism. ²* FieryRedhead: Gwenna, who's red-haired, green-eyed and has an explosive temper (and a way with explosives).²* FireForgedFriends: Valyn's team eventually become quite close thanks to all they go through together.²* ForYourOwnGood: Sanlitun's reasoning for sending Kaden and Valyn away from home when they were little. Kaden doesn't really find out the exact reason until much later in the first book.²* GenderIsNoObject: The Kettral don't distinguish between men and women as soldiers, though this doesn't prevent sexism among individual soldiers.²** This is the case even more with the Urghul and the Skullsworn.²* GodInHumanForm: [[spoiler: At the end of the second book, Triste is revealed to be possessed by Ciena, the goddess of pleasure. Also, Long Fist is actually Meshkent, the god of pain, masquerading as a human.]]²* HarmfulToMinors: Valyn's Kettral training and Kaden's Shin training are both abusive and borderline life-threatening, and they started when they were roughly between nine and ten. ²* HeWhoFightsMonsters: After centuries of warring against the Csestriim, the Ishien have become just as brutal and genocidal as their mortal enemies.²* HighClassCallGirl: The Emperor is given a harem of concubines to 'fulfil his needs' when his wife can't.... something the Empress isn't too thrilled about. ²* HomophobicHateCrime: [[spoiler: lesbian prostitute Amie]] is brutally murdered. ²* KickingAssInAllHerFinery: Sigrid sa'Karnya, the Flea's leach, makes a point of dressing beautifully and having immaculate hair, and she is one of the most powerful leaches in the trilogy.²* KingIncognito: Played with. Everyone knows Kaden's the heir to the throne, but since the Shin monks don't really care about titles or thrones, they don't really acknowledge it.²* KnightTemplar: The Ishien are an ancient order dedicated to hunting down any remaining Csestriim, and they're extremely ruthless in their methods. ²* LongLostSibling: Technically, Valyn, Kaden and Adare, since they haven't seen each other for eight years.²* LoveInterestTraitor: [[spoiler: il Tornja. Discovered by Adare right after she sleeps with him. Ouch.]]²* MeaningfulName: Valyn, Kaden and Adare's names are unusually Western sounding among the more Asian names in the Malkeenian dynasty. WordOfGod says their mother gave them unorthodox names as a way of rebelling against the imperial family.²* MiseryBuildsCharacter: For the three heroes, seemingly intentional on the part of their father: they need to go through hell before they're ready to rule an empire.²* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Nearly. In ''The Last Mortal Bond'', when [[spoiler: Kaden rescues him from the Dead Heart]], it is revealed that [[spoiler: Rampuri Tan]] believes Trise and Long Fist are actually Csestriim, their [[spoiler: possession by Ciena and Meshkent, respectively]] being deliberetly spread lies they are using as a tool to pit nations and the rulers of Annur against each other in their plot with [[spoiler: il Tornja/Tan'is]] and Kiel to bring down humanity. Because of this, he wounds Long Fist mortally after in the village where [[spoiler: Triste]] hid. [[spoiler: He is killed by Meshkent, but Long Fist eventually succumbs to his wounds and only manages to stay in the physical world by possessing Kaden.]]²* NiceJobFixingItVillain: [[spoiler: Il Tornja/Tan'is]] manipulates Adare into drafting the Accords of Union, which disband the Sons of Flame and reinstates taxation on Intarra's church. This prompts the Sons to travel in large numbers into an abandoned city in the south, where one of them reorganizes them into an army. When Adare figures out [[spoiler: il Tornja murdered her father and has used her as a pawn all along]], she escapes the capital to go to them, makes an alliance with them, and uses their military power to force [[spoiler: him]] to proclaim her Emperor. Though [[spoiler: he]] initially outmaneuvres her, she ultimately [[spoiler: kills him.]]²* NoFlowPortal: When Kaden goes through the kenta leading to the Ishien's base, he finds the other side flooded, shocking him out of the vaniate.²* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: In ''The Providence of Fire'', Valyn refuses to have the Urghul his Wing found on the steppe slaughtered when they leave them. In a few days, they capture them with a gigantic horde of their people.²* NotSoStoic: Annick spends much of the first book an ice-cold stoic who never shows emotion. When [[spoiler: her lesbian lover Amie's brutal death is brought up, she loses the mask. She also snaps when one of her comrades indicates Amie enjoyed sleeping with him for money.]]²* OfficerAndAGentleman: Ran il Tornja, the charming military leader who ends up being regent until the emperor returns. [[spoiler: Of course, he is revealed to be a Csestriim plotting to destroy humanity.]]²* OffingTheOffspring: The Csestriim attempted to do this when their children started evolving.... into humans. Thus kicking off a centuries long war. ²* OhMyGods: Hull (god of darkness) and Intarra (goddess of fire) are the two gods most often invoked. But the colourful pantheon of gods does give rise to some interesting curses, such as 'Kent-kissing' (after Meshkent, god of pain) and 'Shael-spawned (after Ananshael, god of death). ²* OnlyTheWorthyMayPass: Only those who are free of emotion [[spoiler: or gods]] may pass through a kenta. Anything or anyone else that attempts to pass through ceases to exist.²* OurMagesAreDifferent: Magic is known as 'kenning', and only practiced by 'leeches' - who are ostracised and mistrusted at best, and hanged to death at worst - who draw on a 'well' or a source of magic that's individual to each leech, such as iron or stone. ²%%* PrincelingRivalry: Averted! But for how long?²* PlotTriggeringDeath: The events of the series are kicked off by the death of the emperor.²* PoliticallyActivePrincess: Adare. It comes with being a minister as well as a princess.²* PortalNetwork: The kenta serve as this, with each one connected to a hub island.²* PosthumousCharacter: Emperor Sanlitun²* PraetorianGuard: The Aedolian Guard, elite bodyguards to the Emperor and his family.²* ReluctantRuler: Kaden's not exactly thrilled about ruling, since he's been living in a monastery for eight years and has no idea "how" to rule.²* RightfulKingReturns: Well, he's on his way....²* RoaringRampageOfRevenge:²** Valyn goes one against [[spoiler: Yurl]] for [[spoiler: killing Ha Lin.]] In ''The Last Mortal Bond'', he tries to kill [[spoiler: Balendin]], who was also complicit, but [[spoiler: Annick]] gets to him first.²** Adare's entire storyline in the first book is comprised of one against Uinian, who she believes murdered her father.²** When she succeeds, though, she learns from her father's letter to her that the real murderer is [[spoiler: il Tornja/Tan'is]]. She escapes the Dawn Palace and travels south, taking control of Uinian's disbanded militia to wrest Annur from him, but as soon as she arrives at the capital, Tarik Adiv convinces her that [[spoiler: il Tornja]] is needed to defeat the Urghul invasion. Valyn also finds out the truth, which prompts him to side with the Urghul and ride south to kill [[spoiler: il Tornja]]. When he meets Adare in Aats-Kyl, she tells him to wait until after the battle of Andt-Kyl, but by the time he then tries to kill him after the victory of the [[spoiler: Annurians]], Adare has seen his tactical genius and decides he is irreplacable, which leads to her [[spoiler: stabbing Valyn as he fights il Tornja, who then blinds him and throws him off the tower where the fight took place.]] To defeat the Urghul, she forgives [[spoiler: il Tornja]] for Sanlitun's murder and bears him a son. [[spoiler: Il Tornja]] then holds that son hostage and forces her to help his plans. So when [[spoiler: Valyn, who survived his fall from the tower,]] returns to Annur to finally duel [[spoiler: il Tornja]] at the top of Intarra's Spear, she again intervenes... only to stab [[spoiler: il Tornja]] with a poisoned hairpin.²* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Sanlitun is described as being very active in politics and the military, Adare is finance minister, and Valyn is serving as a soldier. Kaden....[[ItMakesSenseInContext makes pots.]]²* SiblingRivalry: Adare and Valyn, culminating with [[spoiler: Adare nearly killing Valyn at the end of book two.]]²** Adare (self-declared Emperor) and Kaden (leader of the newly created Republic)²* SiblingYinYang: The three are complete opposites in the way they've been raised to approach things - Adare as a politician, Valyn as a soldier and Kaden as a pacifist monk.²%%* SlapSlapKiss: Adare and il Tornja.²%%* TagalongKid: Pater for Kaden and Akiil.²* ThanatosGambit: Emperor Sanlitun's plot to [[spoiler: let himself be killed but informs his daughter, whom he elevates to a position of power in his will, about the identity of his murderer, while sending his most loyal guards to protect Valyn and hiring a Skullsworn to see Kaden safely back to Annur.]]²* TitleDrop:²** Book one: Not word for word, but in Emperor Salitun's letter to Adare, he calls the three protagonists his 'blades'.²** Book two: As she stands on top of the tower in Andt-Kyl and watches the bloody aftermath of the [[spoiler: defeat il Tornja inflicted on Balendin's Urghul army]], lamenting on having [[spoiler: killed (or nearly killed, though she only finds out later) Valyn]], Adare thinks: "...forgiveness lay far from the providence of fire."²* TrainingFromHell: Both Valyn and Kaden undergo in, in very different circumstances and environments.²* UndressingTheUnconscious: In ''Providence Of Fire'', a lightning bolt strikes Adare, killing many nearby her but only knocking her out. When she awakens, she's naked in bed with Lehav nearby who explains they had to cut off her clothes since the lightning seared it to her skin in places, which prompts her to [[ScarSurvey survey her body]] and notice she's now [[CoveredWithScars covered in intricate lightning scars]]. ²* WarriorPrince: Valyn, who's been training to be a soldier.²* WellExcuseMePrincess: Adare and il Tornja²* WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove: The Csestriim race's reaction to their (now human) children experiencing emotions like love, hate and fear. ²* YouKilledMyFather: Adare's motivation for her hatred of the priest Uinian and her determination to take him down. [[spoiler: However, the end of the first book reveals that it wasn't Uninian who killed Sanlitun, but il Tornja, the man who helped Adare condemn him.]] [[spoiler: And who also happens to be her lover.]]²²----


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