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The Philosopher Kings

(Thessaly #2)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,106 ratings  ·  351 reviews
From acclaimed, award-winning author Jo Walton: Philosopher Kings, a tale of gods and humans, and the surprising things they have to learn from one another. Twenty years have elapsed since the events of The Just City. The City, founded by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, organized on the principles espoused in Plato’s Republic and populated by people from all eras ...more
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published June 30th 2015 by Tor Books
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Jo Walton There will be a copy in the Vericon auction. so if you can get to Boston and bid, you might be able to get a copy, and support…moreThere will be a copy in the Vericon auction. so if you can get to Boston and bid, you might be able to get a copy, and support a good cause.(less)
Jerzy Oh dear, the link didn't go through; let's try again. In Plutarch's Greek Questions, section 20, there's an explanation of the phrase "Darkness by the…moreOh dear, the link didn't go through; let's try again. In Plutarch's Greek Questions, section 20, there's an explanation of the phrase "Darkness by the Oak," a reference to the time when many citizens of Pirene were lost in battle by a place called "the Oak." But this seems fairly different from Walton's use in the Thessaly books.

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Sherwood Smith
The older I get, the more I see literature as an endless conversation with itself, reflecting the variety of human experience, and the novel is the most playful and imaginative form for that conversation.

Through the attempt to evoke different periods of history (however deeply we delve into the details of that time) we get to mess around with different modes of being, which can enable us to come back to ourselves and see our surroundings—which are nearly invisible to us in their everyday order—
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-re-read, 2015
Time travel, robots, Greek gods, Atlantis, and Plato’s Republic, part II

After the community riving debate at the end of the previous book, the goddess Athena has gone off in a huff, taking most of the futuristic robot workers with her, and the Just City--her philosophical experiment based on Plato’s Republic--is fragmenting into factions. Some groups want to follow Plato’s strictures differently or even more closely, others are allying themselves with Sokrates or blending Plato’s ideas with reli
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
*Minor Spoilers throughout*

I’m really torn between giving this 4 stars or 5. I gave the first one 5 stars because it was just so beautiful and provided so much food for thought. This one gives you plenty of things to think about but it does so in a much less obvious way. You have to look a little harder for it, and the focus has shifted. I also missed the dialogues between Simmea and Apollo and Sokrates, and really everyone. There seemed to be much less of that this time.

But it was still an exc
Received to review via Netgalley

I should probably additionally note before I write this review that I consider Jo a friend, but I was a fan of her writing first. Actually, surprisingly, I have pretty mixed feelings about this one. It’s surprising to me, anyway — but everyone seems to connect to different books even just among Jo’s bibliography, because she’s written such a range of things. Only a little while ago I was talking about how strongly I connected with The King’s Peace/The King’s Name,
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up

The story takes place in time roughly 2 decades after the end of the first book, in terms of plot it is a neat continuation as the city of Plato’s republic disintegrates into several offsprings all in a slight different approach to reach their perfect form of government.

While „The Just City“ was a mainly philosophical thought and writing experiment, the second novel starts with action and keeps up with a mix of action and philosophical/moral topics as the story progresses. Th
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton is the second book in the Thessaly series which began with The Just City. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book. This time, my expectations were much higher so I wasn’t as surprised by it, but I still enjoyed it a lot.

The book started off with an event that I completely did not expect and was not happy about. The book ended with an event that I completely did not expect but thought was a lot of fun. The middle parts were interesting and kept me
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. Okay how do I even sum up this book? If this book could be summed up in wows it would have infinite wows.

^See that sentence? Prime book blogging material right there I give myself an A+

The Philosopher Kings is book 2 of The Just City. It's been 15 years since the great debate and The Just City splitting up into 5 cities each with their own views on what it takes to pursue excellence.

This story still follows Apollo trying to learn the full scope of what it is to
The goddess Athena decides to create a grand experiment to determine how Plato's Republic would function. She plucks philosophers and thinkers from throughout time and sets them the task of creating a utopia based on one man's vision. Of course, not everything goes according to plan...

This sequel is told through the eyes of philosopher Maia, the god Apollo (currently in mortal form) and his daughter Arete. The events of The Just City were twenty years ago, and since then multiple republics have
Oleksandr Zholud
This in the second volume of the trilogy. Second volumes of a series can differ a lot: sometimes the author planned a single book but then decides to return to the created world; sometimes there is a cliffhanger in each volume and the author just tries to keep you reading but not progressing the overall story, like many soap operas do. This book is neither. It is clearly the second in the series but can be read standalone. The quality of writing remains very high.
The story starts with the great
Jamie Collins
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
2.5 stars. I didn’t like this follow-up novel as well as The Just City.

It begins 20 years after the infamous Last Debate, where the goddess Athena stormed off in a huff and abandoned her experiment with Plato’s Just City. The residents have split up and founded a handful of new cities, all with a different approach to living the life recommended by Plato. The description of these varied experiments is pretty interesting, and it’s nice, for a while, to follow up on the characters and the lives th
Rachel Brown
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book will make no sense if you have not read The Just City. Read that first. (I reviewed it; click on the author name tag.) Though the plot is completely different, I would say that if you liked the first book, you will like the second, and if you didn’t like the first, you won’t like the second. Though I did miss the robots. And also several of my favorite characters from the first book.

Since I read this six months ago, I am not going to recap the plot, which is incredibly spoilery anyway
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*stares intently at calendar for three months*
Brianne Reeves
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Jo Walton, it's like you knew exactly what I wanted. ...more
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookends, 2015
4.5 stars

I'm going to be completely honest- I only read this book because it was a book club pick. I wasn't the biggest fan of The Just City and I didn't have high hopes for this book, but it completely blew my mind. I loved it from the first page. And yes, there are still some Socratic debates, but it is NOTHING like the first book. There is action!! Things happen!! People make decisions!!! I loved it all, and I have a new appreciation for The Just City, as it lays the groundwork for this book
My review of this just went up over at B&N!: ...more
Jeff Raymond
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-sci-fi
When I finished The Philosopher Kings, my first thought was that it wasn't nearly as good as its predecessor, The Just City, but was still really good. After sitting with it a bit, I think that's really the most apt description. It's still really good, almost stand-alone while existing in the universe established from before, while still not reaching the conceptual or useful heights of the former.

This is basically an Apollo revenge tale, with a few factions at war and Apollo obsessed with avengi
Tudor Ciocarlie
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-my-best-of
My love and appreciation for the Classical Athens and for Jo Walton continues.
Lynn Williams
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Philosopher Kings is the second in the trilogy by Jo Walton which got off to a fantastic start with The Just City. Before I even start to review this I’m just going to point out that I don’t think this book would work as well read in seclusion – I really do think you would need to read Just City first just to have some understanding of the relationships at play.

The Philosopher Kings starts about 20 years later than the Just City where
Rebecca (agirlirlblog, bekkilyn)
The Philosopher Kings is the second book in Jo Walton's Thessaly trilogy and takes place 20 years after The Just City. The experiment of setting up a city based on Plato's Republic continues, except with a few new twists. The god, Apollo, continues his experience as an incarnate human while the generation who were only babies in the first book have now become adults or almost-adults. This is the first generation who were born and have spent their entire lives within a Platonic city.

This book had
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
...Compared to the first novel I guess The Philosopher Kings has a bit more plot and a bit less debate. That doesn't make it any less enjoyable though. The mixture of time travel and Greek mythology again works very well. Despite taking on some very difficult ideas the book is not a hard read. Its greatest strength is probably that Walton manages to make philosophy very accessible in this book. It doesn't end on such a dramatic cliffhanger as the previous novel but it is quite clear that the sto ...more
The Philosopher Kings is set about twenty years after the end of The Just City. The Masters are growing old, the Children have grown up, and the Children’s children (somewhat clumsily referred to as “Young Ones” to avoid confusion) are the first generation of true philosopher kings, born into the Just City without preconceptions, as envisioned in Plato’s Republic.

Read the entire review on my site Far Beyond Reality!
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I got off to a slow start with this one, partly because something happened right at the beginning that upset me, and partly because, well, after that initial event it takes a while to get going. That said, I've never met a Jo Walton book that didn't wow me given half a chance. Somewhere along the way this became absolutely delightful. ...more
Kirstie Ellen
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
4.5/5 stars

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing
Oh my giddy aunt, this was a stella sequel. I enjoyed this book so much - I literally do not know how Walton wrote this series because it is 100% insane and I love it. How does a story exist in both ancient history and heavy sci-fi? THESE ARE QUESTIONS WITH NO ANSWERS. I cannot get enough of this series and by George! Do I need the third and final book.

The Philosopher Kings
This book is pure genius. Let’s all take a moment to doff our hats to Walton, sit
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
You can find this review of The Philosopher Kings on my book blog.

It does contain spoilers for The Just City - so if you have not read that, don't read this review.

The Philosopher Kings does not start straight after the climactic events of The Just City, Instead, the book is set about twenty years later.

Apollo, still living as a human, has been married to Simmea, and they have raised several children together. The book starts, cruelly, with Simmea's death in a minor skirmish. This is hard to tak
Lis Carey
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, f-sf, audiobooks
Thirty years have passed since the founding of the Just City. The first period of its history ended with the Last Debate, when Athena turned Socrates into a fly and then left. The community split, and there are now four more cities in addition to the original, or "remnant" city. Apollo/Pythias has several grown or nearly-grown children, mostly sons but also a daughter, Arete, with his partner and votary Simmea, originally an Egyptian farmer's daughter.

The book opens with a tragedy, Simmea's deat
Susanna Sturgis
I read this immediately after finishing The Just City, which I liked a lot, and though the ideas in this one were intriguing, the plotting and much of the characterization seemed weak. The Just City, the goddess Athene's attempt to realize Plato's Republic, has split in five, all on the island of Kallisti, each pursuing Platonism in its own direction.

The original, called the Remnant City, retained all the artworks gathered from around the world and across the centuries. The others want their sha
This was really quite different from The Just City. Where I felt that the first book was incredibly focussed on dialogue and discussion about what excellence is, what makes a just city, and how to live out Plato's ideals - and I don't mean any of that in a bad way, I adored it - this had a lot more action. What discussion there was often didn't feel as grounded in philosophy because it was moving away from classical sources and into more personal, I think, reflections on being and existing. This ...more
Aug 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Personally, I found this book slightly less compelling than the first volume (possibly because there wasn't enough Maia and I didn't enjoy Arete's POV as much as I did Simmea, and the direction was less clear than in The Just City), but the world remains fantastically imaginative, and original, and it's almost enough to make me want to read Plato (and I usually like my philosophy more postmodern, feminist and constructivist).

I also really enjoyed the way myth was used in this part, and the endin
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, reviews
ARC from NetGalley.

This book is a sequel to The Just City, in which Greek goddess Athena decides to see if Plato's Republic would work in the real world. To accomplish this she takes several adult "masters" out of time along with 10,000 10 year old children. The Philosopher Kings takes place about 16 years after The Just City.

I haven't yet read The Just City. I shied away because I've never really enjoyed philosophy. As much as I love to read, abstract thought and theory eludes me. I thought I
Tasha Robinson
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not as deliriously delightful as the first book in the series, in part because this one leaves my favorite character from the first one behind in the first few pages, and in part because where the first one is focused more on philosophy and gender and the radical founding of a community, this one veers into more traditional YA territory, as a teenage girl develops powers. There's still a lot going on here, as the book takes the story around 20 years into the future to see how the Just City and i ...more
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Jo Walton writes science fiction and fantasy novels and reads a lot and eats great food. It worries her slightly that this is so exactly what she always wanted to do when she grew up. She comes from Wales, but lives in Montreal.

Other books in the series

Thessaly (3 books)
  • The Just City (Thessaly, #1)
  • Necessity (Thessaly, #3)

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