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
9781481424271
1481424270
Characteristics: 1 online resource (pages) : map ; cm

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d
dnk
Dec 05, 2018

Amazing fantasy epic. The setting felt more like Southeast Asia than anything else, and there were more than a few references to East Asian history and philosophy. The kaleidoscopic perspectives, both of character and action, made me reflect more deeply on the story and at the same time inspired me to read more quickly because I had to know what was going to happen next. Kuni Garu and his great friend/rival Mata Zyndu we're the compelling main characters, but my favorites were the learned Luan Zya and Marshal Gin Mazoti. My only complaint is that toward the end I thought the gods took more from the story than added to it, but otherwise I can't wait to read the next installment.

m
MustInvolveEggs
Sep 23, 2018

The Grace of Kings is a very good book about a man who just wants to day drink and get free food, but winds up having to run things(on the plus side, nobles probably get free food). The author is very careful to explain to us which flower symbolizes every character and why, which I appreciate, for fanart purposes. I also appreciated the giant whales that just went smash on everyone’s ships. Gin Mazoti is the best, though I also enjoyed the old guy who just wanted to chill out and fish with his dog. I hope the dog was fine, but I just chugged a lot of caffeine after sleeping fourteen hours so I don’t know.

t
Tauriel
Mar 22, 2018

I really loved the world-building in this novel, but if I had one single complaint it would be this:
WHERE ARE THE WOMEN???

There are very few named women who do stuff in this book. Everything else was awesome, and while I do understand that (based by looking at parallel time lines ... estimation) women wouldn't play a very large role in government at this time, it still kinda tickles the back of my mind when I read it.

But I mean everything else was amazing: the world, the writing, the plot, the characters... although sometimes they felt "above relating," where I just couldn't relate to them. The writing was in an interesting style I don't usually read: more of someone telling a story than being expressly told what people were doing... okay, circular reasoning, basically the same thing, I understand, but it does feel like that.

Also, pay attention to the chapter headings. They tell you how much time has passed. Sometimes years are leaped!

k
kwsmith
Oct 01, 2017

I was hoping to find another *River of Stars* in this epic Asian inspired historical fantasy novel. Unfortunately, Ken Liu isn't Guy Gavriel Kay. Although I enjoyed the sly humour and Asian history lessons, I was not able to connect with the confusing jumble of characters. The unusual writing style is deliberately reminiscent of the great Chinese myths, so you should expect "telling" instead of "showing." I found the book a difficult slog, but the last 200 pages are much more interesting than the first 400.

t
Telingro
May 24, 2017

I really liked this book.

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.

a
airyen
Mar 23, 2017

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

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Telingro
May 24, 2017

Telingro thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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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...

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

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