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The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
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The Grace of Kings (2015)

by Ken Liu

Other authors: Robert Lazzaretti (Map)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dandelion Dynasty (1)

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7953617,304 (3.72)43

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» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Liu's first book of short stories and novellas, [b:The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories|24885533|The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories|Ken Liu|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1457285085s/24885533.jpg|44534169] was such an inventive delight for me that I couldn't wait to get started on this one, but I've bailed after 200 pages. I'm all on board for high fantasy these days (although you have to search carefully through much dross for the gold) and this had the added attraction of being pseudo-medieval Asia instead of the usual pseudo-medieval Europe (not said pejoratively.) Also, since my last book had no plot (again, not pejorative) I was ready for a plot-and-character-heavy experience. While the world building is fine and the writing goes down smoothly, the characters feel like ' types' rather than fully dimensional people (the biggest strength of Game of Thrones, imho). Also, the 21st century peeps through the curtain too often - most disastrously through one of the main characters, Kuni Garu, who I can only describe as a "bro". A pseudo-medieval Asian bro was the last straw. Boo hoo, I want more Liu. The other Liu. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
A sprawling epic fantasy which seems to be a mash up of the Chinese Warring States set on a version of the Hawaiian Islands. While interesting, I found I got bogged down in places by the sheer number of characters, some with effectively only a walk-on part. I suspect this is actually a Chinese thing - I recall in his introduction to the Judge Dee books, Robert Van Gulik mentioned that the Chinese literary tradition was character-heavy (over 100 characters was not uncommon for a Chinese novel). Coupled to this is the Oriental habit of changing names at certain milestones which makes for more confusion (although this was honoured in the abeyance apart from early childhood and taking a throne).

It was an interesting take and quite different from the way a Western author would have approached the same material. Stylistically, it was a bit choppy but this may have been down to the translation. Basically, the multiple kingdoms of the islands have been forcibly united by one of the kings who has proclaimed himself Emperor; however, his rule is tyrannical and when he dies, rebellion breaks out. The story focuses on the various leaders of the rebellion and their fates (good or bad).

Recommended, but be aware of the sheer number of characters.
  Maddz | Jul 27, 2018 |
3.5 enjoyed it but not enough for me to carry on with the series, I just felt at times that some characters acted oddly to how there had acted before also the Gods didn't work for me ( )
  Eclipse777 | Jun 2, 2018 |
A slew burn, but a great one.

See my full review: http://wp.me/p40HVI-Ba ( )
  macthekat82 | May 24, 2018 |
I am torn on this book. Parts of it were wonderful but other parts were convoluted and dragged a bit. I can see where some people would love it. It just didn't quite connect with me. I liked the world building but didn't always like the character building. A solid 3.5 but I am not sure I will read the next one. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ken Liuprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lazzaretti, RobertMapsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weber, SamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For my grandmother, who introduced me to the great heroes of the Han Dynasty. I'll always remember the afternoons we spent together listening to pingshu storytellers on the radio.

And for Lisa, who saw Dara before I did.
First words
A white bird hung still in the clear western sky and flapped its wings sporadically.
Quotations
There is often no line between perfection and evil.
I cannot say that I'm a good man, only that I'm a man who tried to do good.
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Book description
Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, soaring battle kites, conspiring goddesses, underwater boats, magical books, as a streetfighter-cum-general who takes her place as the greatest tactitian of the age. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.
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"The Grace of Kings, the first book in this epic series, tells the story of two men who become friends through rebelling against tyranny and then turn against each other in defense of irreconcilable ideals. Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, soaring battle kites, underwater boats, magical books, shapeshifting gods, and scaled whales who seem to prophesy the future. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, the two find themselves the leaders of two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice"--… (more)

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