The Emperor’s Blades has vivid description, incredible world building, intriguing philosophies and a subtle magic system. The narrative draws heavily from the hero’s journey plot pattern and archetypes. The story starts off slowly and a bit awkwardly for its lack of progress into the main issue.
The prose and action harmonize as it focuses on the difficult trials of a monk and an elite soldier. A third perspective gives insight into the political and religious state of the empire but is otherwise minimized. The three main characters conclude their personal story arcs while the threat against their lives and the empire increases. The Emperor’s Blades is a good introduction into the developing series.