One of the Time 100 Best Fantasy Books Of All Time
Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. Hailed as one of the best books of 2015 by NPR.
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, and shapeshifting gods. 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.
Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.
The “Grace of Kings” is the first of four books in “The Dandelion Dynasty” series by author Ken Liu. I thoroughly enjoyed this one! It is unlike any other book I have read. Events happen at breakneck speed in this. Typically, an author will mention a plan/idea and you will see it play out across several chapters. In the Grace of Kings, a plan will be mentioned and then on the very next page you will see that plan unfold. This reads more like a history book. A retelling of events. There is not a great amount of dialogue. It “tells” more than it “shows”. In a little over 600 pages it zooms through many years, rises and falls of power, political schemes, battles, and more. None of this is a bad thing, it is just different! It was very refreshing to read something with this style.
There are many events in this book that just flat out shocked me. Ken Liu does not hold back! It was big event after big event after big event. Characters that I thought I would be reading about for pages to come, gone! There are exhilarating battles, mischievous political machinations, and somber heartbreaks. What also fascinated me is the difference between our two main characters, Kuni and Mata. The difference of philosophies, perspectives, and leadership I found to be very thought provoking. I could see and understand where each was coming from.
So much occurs in this book. It is definitely a novel that is more focused on plot and advancing the story rather than characters. That is not a bad thing! It works here. This book almost feels like a massive prologue to an epic series to come. The reader now knows all the background history and years worth of events that has laid fantastic groundwork. I am looking forward to reading the second book of this series!
Overall, “The Grace of Kings” is a fantastic book one of a series with a pace so relentless that sometimes you forget to breathe.