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The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty) Hardcover – April 7, 2015
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"Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings — a magnificent fantasy epic. Liu is building a dynasty." (Amal El-Mohtar NPR Books)
"The Grace of Kings is an ambitious, astonishing, and sublime work, one that both exemplifies and diverges from what one might think of when it comes to epic fantasy. It should rank amongst the genre's best works." (Andrew Liptak io9)
"Liu’s combination of elements from China, Polynesia and beyond, told in an epic style, is the kind of Silk Road Fantasy that I’ve always wanted to read, and love all the more now that I have." (Paul Weimer SF Signal)
"Told in Liu’s graceful, intelligent, and literate prose, the novel is a sumptuous Epic feast." (Rob Bedford SFF World)
"The Grace of Kings is a fantasy, with petty meddling gods, odd mechanized inventions, and a sense that mystical powers lurk around the corner. It is nothing if not epic." (Justin Landon Tor.com)
"The epic fantasy genre can only be enriched by more novels drawing from non-Western traditions. Liu’s ambitious work expertly blends mythology, history, military tactics, and technological innovation (airships and submarines). " (Kirkus Reviews)
"The Grace of Kings is grand, mythic and epic, but Liu’s “silk-punk” world of trickster gods and giant horned whales is also a delight." (Relentless Reading)
About the Author
Ken Liu is one of the most lauded authors in the field of American literature. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, Locus Sidewise, and Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards, he has also been nominated for the Sturgeon and Locus Awards. His short story, “The Paper Menagerie,” is the first work of fiction to simultaneously win the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards. He also translated the 2015 Hugo Award–winning novel The Three-Body Problem, written by Cixin Liu, which is the first novel to ever win the Hugo award in translation. The Grace of Kings, his debut novel, is the first volume in a silkpunk epic fantasy series set in a universe he and his wife, artist Lisa Tang Liu, created together. It was a finalist for a Nebula Award and the recipient of the Locus Award for Best First Novel. He lives near Boston with his family.
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Seeing a new epic fantasy that dares to break from the widely accepted norms is a breath of fresh air, but that's where the book's charms begin rather than end. There is a lot to love here. A sweeping, epic tale that leaps from island to island steeped in lore, the story manages to embrace tropes we have seen while casting them in a new light. The storytelling traditions borrow heavily from the Greek epics and the Aeneid and marry them with the intricate plotting and characters of Jin Yong and the wuxia rubric of China, while also taking liberally from the armamentarium of epic fantasy.
That is not to say the book is without missteps and flaws; some of the characterizations I find lacking. The author's lack of usage of strict viewpoint permits jumping from one location to the next, but also precludes us from establishing relationships with characters in the way that A Song of Ice and Fire manages to.
These complaints are small in comparison to the overall charms, however, and I found the silkpunk ethos at once charming and promising. With limited time to read for leisure, I choose my series with care. This one I will definitely continue. In addition, this has prompted me to read Ken Liu's multi-award winning short fiction works, which I would also recommend.
I don't want to diminish my praise by giving myself qualifiers, but as an Asian American and fan of sweeping epics, science fiction and fantasy, I am so appreciative of this book. The story felt familiar and close to home, but also so imaginative and new. I am so happy to have this in my collection.
I bought this after stumbling upon Ken Liu's collection of short stories, Paper Menagerie. I saw some elements from those stories here and was delighted. I was a fan after the short stories. After Grace of Kings, Ken Liu is nearing the top of my list of favorite authors.
I'm not enchanted with Great Epics that character hops all over enormous maps. I also can find more than enough history that shows me how stupid people in power and out of power can be.
I prefer to have only 2 or 3 POV characters and some hope and a decent resolution. Following the POV characters and seeing the same damn mistakes being made depressed me and before the 200th page (on the kindle) I was ready to drop it.
But, to repeat, not my cuppa tea, but if this is what you like, then it will certainly appeal. The writer's craft is right up on the top of the line.