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The Ember Blade

The Darkwater Legacy
Narrated by: Simon Bubb
Length: 30 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)
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Summary

A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man's journey to find his destiny.  

Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He's never questioned it; that's just the way things are. But then his father is executed for treason, and he and his best friend, Cade, are thrown into a prison mine, doomed to work until they drop. Unless they can somehow break free.... 

But what lies beyond the prison walls is more terrifying still. Rescued by a man who hates him yet is oath-bound to protect him, pursued by inhuman forces, Aren slowly accepts that everything he knew about his world was a lie. The rules are not there to protect him or his people but to enslave them. A revolution is brewing, and Aren is being drawn into it, whether he likes it or not.  

The key to the revolution is the Ember Blade. The sword of kings, the Excalibur of his people. Only with the Ember Blade in hand can their people be inspired to rise up...but it's locked in an impenetrable vault in the most heavily guarded fortress in the land.  

All they have to do now is steal it....

Read by Simon Bubb.

©2018 Chris Wooding (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not great..

I don't know what rating to give this. I think I'm going to cry. I'm 20 hours in and STILL nothing worthwhile has happened. Sure there was a little action interspersed with stupidity and drama, but nothing meaningful or unique. And until they escaped you know where, I felt like the victim of a prank. What's the point of fantasy if you're not going to explore new ideas?

I have a sinking feeling that this book is just some exposition to a "grander story". It's taking me longer to finish it than it normally would because it's all pretty boring. Doing nothing and staring into empty space is more interesting, so I found myself pausing the audiobook without a reason and without thinking.

I'm wasting time writing a review I'm going to replace because useless work feels more rewarding than listening to this.

I'll give it credit where it's due. The world building is pretty extensive from a historical and mythological perspective. Everything else is just normal with a tiny bit of the occasional magic.

Three of the main characters are interesting enough, so there are people to care about. The two MAIN protagonists are the means that complicates the plot because they do stupid things one after another.

In a way, the story was well thought out, I think, but it's light in substance and heavy on sentimental detail.

It boggles my mind that the other reviews are so positive. It's nowhere near as entertaining as almost anything else I've read and there's no message because there isn't an ounce of originality. It's just a detailed story about heroism and rebellion and a vague end-of-the-world prophecy that nobody seems to care about.

The story is like a constant tease. It has so much potential that at any point a better writer could turn it into something great. The setting is ready for something meaningful to happen, but it just stretches and stretches and stretches. And there are so many POVs about mundane internal struggles that it's slowing everything down even more. Entire character arcs could have happened in the background. How much did I really need to know about that wife and her sick child? A few chapters? Am I going to start caring about that supporting character just because I know his struggles? Everyone has their struggles, I get it.

Audiobooks I liked less: The Stone Man, 1984, Dune, Mythos, The Iliad. Out of about 80.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

Can’t wait for the next Book. Love the story and the voice. I think Grubb is wonderful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book!

I have to be honest the first 4 hours of this book were a little bit of a struggle for me but my goodness the remainder of this book did not disappoint, I couldn’t stop listening. Everything I look for in epic fantasy. Adventure, twists, revenge and even heart ache. I cannot wait for book 2!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Gave up 10.5hrs in

The narrator has a distracting stilted rhythm but improves a few hours in. However 10.5hrs (a mere half way) in to this long winded tale where not much had happened, I felt uninvested and unexcited by the characters or plot and decided to call it a day.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I love his books but this....

I don't know where to start.

I love the Ketty Jay series. It's in my top five favourite series.

If you were hoping for a similarly good series in this book I'm afraid to say you may be better spending time elsewhere.

it may have been the narrator with over characterised accents etc but I think it's deeper than that.

For a book this long it has no sense of detail or any real substance to the world Wooding is trying to build. It perks up towards the end, but one and two are horribly slow and leaves the characters you like least and moves away from the interesting ones.

If you like hearing people's inner monologues you'll love this book however. As the perspective changes haphazardly from character to character in uneven bouts we get to hear every uninteresting thought that passes through their head, every worry, contradiction etc etc. Most times I feel like paragraphs could have ended sentences ago and the story would have been much more involving for the reader. It's nice to have a little mystery in characters. All of these are splayed out like Christ on a cross.

Another note to make, and I'm not being over the top because I fully understand stories have overlapping themes, conventions and plot tools, but this book is like a Frankenstein of all the best major epics. LOTRs clearly is one of the main contributing factors amongst others too numarable to mention. Whether this is intentional homage or just inspiration working it's way in, you notice it a lot in what are the most climatic parts of the book.

I will read the next one, maybe Wooding needs more time to get into it. But this is no where near as creative, fun or engaging as Retribution Falls.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Quick 30 Hours!

I really enjoyed this book. Some long stories can drag, but this was a real page turner. The characters were believable and narration superb. Surely there must be another to follow - the scene is set. It was sad to reach the end.
Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Amazing in places

A really good tale with a great variety of characters, but most of the characters lack depth, and up all being very similar, and there are places where they are used for narrative rather than true to themselves.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Grub think this great book.

Grub think this great book. Grub has big tattoo on his back to show how great this book is. Grub read 1000 books a day, and this book greatest of all.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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awesome

I absolutely loved this book from the first word to the last . great characters , great story , exiting and funny .. it has it all and after several average books it was a breath of fresh air. brilliant , roll on the next one .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Really enjoyable

Starts out as a fairly traditional epic fantasy, but doesn't conform to too many tropes and it kept me interested. Good world building, some likable characters. Great narration, although I did speed things up to 1.35. Looking forward to the next installment

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • @tone0189
  • 08-10-18

Complex Characters.

I was pleasantly surprised that despite the book following a typical narrative the characters are complex and compelling. All their motivations are diverse and feel real. No two dimensional characters.

If you enjoy coming of age fantasy with compelling characters with complex motivations the I recommend the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Boyuan Zhang
  • 27-11-18

Gripping read

It's been a long time since jaded ol' me cared about characters in a book, but I eventually found myself cheering. Parts of it were definitely slower than needed to be but nothing written that was of waste.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alen
  • 26-12-18

sword and sorcery story with some unexpected turns

sword and sorcery story with some unexpected turns, pleasant read and characters are developing nicely

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Trish and Ben
  • 20-01-19

Thoroughly enjoyed this!

Excellent character development, can't wait for the next one. Just a great listen, what should have felt like an old theme didn't, it was intriguing and different.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sailfish
  • 02-01-19

Best fellowship protagonist was the most crude

Chris Wooding is a capable author but the book was too wordy and slow-paced. There was an inordinate amount of time spent on world building on places that had little impact on the story arc. The book could easily have been a third smaller and would have been better for it. The antagonists were portrayed quite well in their duplicity, cruelty and brutality, however, very few of the protagonists companions were really all that noteworthy nor honor-worthy and this especially held true for Aren, the primary protagonist. Aren was an immature self-centered adolescent which, oddly, carried through the end. While the author's design was to slowly transform him from a arrogant and brash youth to a recognized leader, he never managed to make it convincing.and actually ended up painting him more as an opportunist than a hero figure. Strangely enough, Grub crudeness, insensitivity and backstory made him one of, if not, the most interesting of all the characters.

Simon Bubb did an excellent job in his narration performance and character voice differentiation.