Gary's Reviews > The Grace of Kings

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
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it was amazing

I think most literary scholars would agree that it’s a good thing Achilles didn’t survive the Trojan War. Paris, sneaky little turd that he was, was at least a good enough shot to spare Ancient Greece the unenviable task of having to figure out what to do with a guy like Achilles in peacetime: a guy who lives only for blood and glory, who considers the ability to paralyze others with fear by his mere presence a cardinal virtue. The long and the short of it is: you want Achilles to fight your wars for you, but you probably don’t want him hanging around town when the fighting is done. And, by extension, you definitely don’t want him getting any ideas about being in charge.

Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings plays just such a scenario out in a fantasy world inspired by Chinese myths and legends. The novel chronicles the attempts of two men – the grave, Achilles-like Mata Zyndu and his blood brother, the cunning but open-hearted rascal Kuni Garu – to topple and supplant an oppressive empire. Their alliance is a promising one at first, but their opposing philosophies on both war and the rule of kingdoms quickly drives them apart and threatens to plunge the known world into a state of perpetual war.

Liu’s chops as a short story writer serve him well here. Written in his impossibly compact and straightforward prose, he utilizes the language of epic poetry – the juxtaposition of stark imagery and raw emotion – and tempers it with a prose writer's eye for key details. The result is an epic fantasy that has all the action, scope and intrigue one expects without all the obsessive micro-plotting that often draws out the action interminably. The novel is a comparatively lean 600 pages, but there is as much story going on as you will find in any 1400-page doorstopper by Brandon Sanderson or George R.R. Martin. It is a tense and action-packed tale, often heartbreaking but ultimately rewarding. A must read for genre fans and lay persons alike.
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Reading Progress

February 12, 2016 – Shelved
February 12, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
February 14, 2016 – Started Reading
February 28, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Basia Terrific review! Thank you.


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Yay! I'm glad it was a 5 star for you too my friend 😊


Gary Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ wrote: "Yay! I'm glad it was a 5 star for you too my friend 😊"

Double Yay! I'm glad you loved it too!!!


Felix Strange times that 600 pages (wonderful ones!) are considered lean.


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