The Grace of Kings

The Grace of Kings

eBook - 2015
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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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Saga Press, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781481424295
1481424297
1481424270
9781481424271
Characteristics: 1 online resource (pages) : map ; cm.

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Telingro
May 24, 2017

I really liked this book. Think of it as a chronicle of war, slaughters, power, motivations, leadership, and human nature. This book begins with a double-pupiled demi-godlike man, graced with the fondness of certain gods. On the other side, there is this wayward, educated youth with a potbelly, who eventually takes a side job working as a jailer.

They both are described in a poem (real history, and deftly researched content, BTW) as the "chrysanthium and the dandelion". That's the allusion and imagery right there. Well, there are all these factions and emperors and power throes, so that's the gist of the content. But then there are the female characters, the building of armies, the 1400's technology of a dynasty...

One thing that I didn't like was how he introduced new characters towards the last quarter of the book. The plot is kind of sporadic, and I had to flip back to remember who's-who. I did enjoy the relation to gods, poetry, respect, values, and worship.

Be warned. There is a lot of head-slicing.

This book chronicles a Game of Thrones-style fantasy epic in the Asia-inspired archipelago of Dara. As Dara suffers under the imperial rule of its conquering emperor, two men among others are inspired to rise up. Kuni Garu grew up in a middle-class household, but soon abandoned the education he was given in favor of a life of partying and banditry. When he falls in love with the noblewoman’s daughter Jia, he forms his life into a semblance of respectability—which means working for the empire—to marry her. When he has the choice between defiance of the empire and sure punishment, he becomes a bandit king at the head of the shifting revolution.

The author wove together multiple stories--not just of the revolution’s leaders, but of families on opposite sides of the fight, the home front, the mechanics of the corrupt empire, even the gods watching over Dara--and treason and mistrust on all sides. The Grace of Kings can be thought of as a much more refreshing version of A Song of Ice and Fire--the violence is told in a reserved way, women and women’s issues are dealt with well, and the setting isn't the overworked medieval Europe, but an ocean archipelago inspired by Asian (and other) cultures. At the same time, the plot unfolds with the same ingenuity as a good heist story as the leaders of both sides display remarkable strategy. You're never sure who you're rooting for or who will come out on top.

Pioneering its own genre—silkpunk (steampunk rooted not in Victorian but in East Asian and Roman imperial aesthetics)—while simultaneously being an epic low fantasy unlike any seen before, The Grace of Kings is fantastic!

b
blue_penguin_2152
Oct 19, 2016

One of the most artfully written books I have read, and perhaps the first with a main character with a beer belly.

SaraLovesBooks Oct 01, 2016

I wanted to like this book. It sounded like it would be right up my alley. Epic fantasy based off of Asian cultures? Count me in! Unfortunately, the book never quite lived up to its potential for me.

There was too much world-building, and not enough story in it. The characters always felt shallow to me, without any depth to them. I felt that they were caricatures of people. In the end, my ultimate reaction was a resounding "meh". I could see how others could and would love it. T

he story was meticulously researched, with fantastic world-building, but a good example of too much of a good thing.

j
jessica_ebacher
Jan 19, 2016

Beautiful, epic, and absolutely awe inspiring, this first book in the Dandelion Dynasty truly took my breath away. So often, fantasy is all about medieval Europe; the Eastern inspiration here makes the novel feel gloriously fresh and adventurous. The way that gods and humans interact and intersect made the book vivid and compelling.

a
Alisa766
Jun 08, 2015

I thought this was a fantastic novel. Just enough of a different world to make it a fantasy and characters that you fall in love with and root for. Plus the ever intriguing story of politics, friendship, love, rebellion, war.

I am excited to see his next 2 novels in this series

MedinaReads Jun 01, 2015

"While you're waiting for George R.R. Martin to finish up Winds of Winter, Liu's first of a projected trilogy will surely tide you over. Like Martin's novels, Grace is a sprawling, world building novel built around Asian culture and themes. The land of Dara is in disarray when rebellion breaks out across the land. Two very different, very enigmatic leaders emerge. Will they be able to forge a new peaceful Dara...or will the enticement of power and fame plunge Dara into rebellion once again?" Recommended by E.L., Lodi Branch, MCDL

JCLGreggW Feb 17, 2015

This novel is classified as high fantasy, but don't go in looking for another Robert Jordan or Brandon Sanderson clone. Acclaimed fantasy writer Ken Liu gives us a novel as sweeping and epic as you could possibly want, but with a much different tone and flavor than you might be used to. Liu's world is based on Asian myth, specifically the Chinese Han dynasty, and Liu's writing marries the old to the new to become something altogether fresh and original. GRACE OF KINGS centers around two characters - a brilliant swordsman who seems to step out of myth, and a streetwise but big-hearted thief, both thrown together by a world-spanning war and who find each other - and are town apart - by fate. A huge volume, but GRACE is crammed with enough characters and events that other novelists would have split into ten novels. (And he's got more coming!)

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Telingro
May 24, 2017

Telingro thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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t
Telingro
May 24, 2017

I really liked this book. Think of it as a chronicle of war, slaughters, power, motivations, leadership, and human nature. This book begins with a double-pupiled demi-godlike man, graced with the fondness of certain gods. On the other side, there is this wayward, educated youth with a potbelly, who eventually takes a side job working as a jailer.

They both are described in a poem (real history, and deftly researched content, BTW) as the "chrysanthium and the dandelion". That's the allusion and imagery right there. Well, there are all these factions and emperors and power throes, so that's the gist of the content. But then there are the female characters, the building of armies, the 1400's technology of a dynasty...

Be warned. There is a lot of head-slicing.

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