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The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty, #1)
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2015 Book Club Discussions > May 2015: The Grace of Kings - First Impressions and Spoiler Free Discussion

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Lisa (tenaciousreader) | 301 comments This is where you can talk about the beginning of The Grace of Kings, give your first impressions and thoughts. Just be sure to keep it spoiler free


Lisa (tenaciousreader) | 301 comments I'm curious what everyone thinks of this one! The style is quite different and for me it worked really well. It gave a more legendary feel to the story. For some reason I expected this to be a slow/heavy read and was surprised to find myself sucked in rather quick. Kuni's character definitely amused me and provided a fun perspective.


message 3: by Paul (last edited Apr 28, 2015 06:27AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul (paul_sff) I started this a few weeks ago and I'm about 3/8ths of the way through it. I've been listening to it on audio book and I would highly recommend NOT listening to the audio book. As someone that is not used to hearing oriental naming conventions, I have had a really hard time keeping track of the minor characters and nations/provinces. Also, it might be me, but the first 19 chapters is basically a history book of this imaginary land, and listening to the audio book without the visual map reference has been extremely limiting.


Teanka You may find the following map helpful then. It's from the author's page. I read the kindle version and it was very hard to see what was depicted on the map, so this one helped me a lot.

The style of this novel is different indeed. I enjoyed it, for this book it worked fine but I wouldn't want to read more similar books. Like you said, Lisa, the story has a mythical/legendary feel. I was reminded by some of the oriental fables that I loved as a child.


Paul (paul_sff) Teanka wrote: "You may find the following map helpful then. It's from the author's page. I read the kindle version and it was very hard to see what was depicted on the map, so this one helped me a lot.

The styl..."


Thank you for the link.


Mark | 41 comments Hoping to start this tonight looking forward to reading a different writing style.


Amber (amber_) | 1 comments I'm about halfway through and am loving the style and the story. I had trouble keeping track of all the characters at first but it gets easier the more you read. The map link is really great - the kindle map is oriented with west at the top instead of north, which confused me quite a bit early on. I am not usually one to pour over maps as I read but for this book it feels pretty necessary to get at least a basic understanding of the geography.


Mark | 41 comments Good steady start.


Joel (deliriumtrigger) | 312 comments I'm in agreement with those saying it was difficult to keep up with the naming conventions when you're not accustomed to them - I mentioned as much in my review of the book. There were times where people were going through things, and in my brain they were a totally different person, until I realized I was confused.

I also struggled at times with the format of the book - for me, it was too heavily proverb based.

That said, Liu's prose is spectacular, and the story and characters are worth the journey through this novel.


message 10: by Lisa (last edited May 01, 2015 12:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (tenaciousreader) | 301 comments Joel wrote: "naming conventions when you're not accustomed to them - I mentioned as much in my review of the book. There were times where people were going through things, and in my brain they were a totally different person, until I realized I was confused."

There were 38 characters listed as "Major Characters". That is a challenge to keep track of! I also would get confused at times, mix up people, or blend them together.

But I loved it anyway. :)

For anyone who hasn't read it yet (or just started), I highly recommend people use that List of Major Characters if you find yourself getting lost/confused.


Justin | 0 comments $18 is way too much for a kindle edition. I also checked the local bookstore and it's $34 for the hardcover. It seems I have to skip this months book, should have checked the price before voting I guess.


message 12: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark | 41 comments Good nice steady world building.


message 13: by Joel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joel (deliriumtrigger) | 312 comments He appears to be in Canada - that sucks. Maybe proxy your way into American Amazon? :(

Heck, even the Audible is only $19.84 if you're a member.


Justin | 0 comments Yeah I'm in Canada. I'll add it to my very long to-read list and hope I remember about it when the price drops to something reasonable, or see if I can find a copy at the library before then.


message 15: by Joel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joel (deliriumtrigger) | 312 comments Well, assuming you're one of the 75% of Canadians living within 100 miles of the US border, you know what you should do next time you run south :)


Michael Toth | 30 comments Enjoying this so far....a slow burn. And as for too many characters, I recently finished reading Malazan and I think I can handle only 18 major characters haha


Michael Toth | 30 comments Thank you for the link, Teanka. My ebook's map is sideways across two pages :/


message 18: by Linda (new) - rated it 1 star

Linda Oh shit, I'm glad I found this. A friend and I have been reading this together and I've been stuck at page seventy for a long time.

I need the motivation to continue because I just feel like the wuxia tropes he uses are so played out and the redheaded chick/MPDG could do so much better (that whole relationship is a crime against romance).

Right now I'm watching wuxia period drama clips on youtube instead.


message 19: by Joel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joel (deliriumtrigger) | 312 comments Saying he uses played out "wuxia tripes" is not the most valid thing in the fantasy genre. There are few to none in this genre.

The book is worth the read.


message 20: by Kavya (new)

Kavya | 8 comments Just started, 7% in. I find the world building captivating so far, and its kind of playing out like a chinese based anime in my head, with the slow introduction of characters and the world.

Does anybody have some instrumental music to suggest for this book?


message 21: by Linda (last edited May 24, 2015 08:05PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Linda @jon I feel that they are played out because they are very common in the Chinese wuxia/period piece genre. (And also endlessly parodied in those "mysterious old asian man with Fu Manchu stache teaches young dude how to kung fu" American movies.)

Honestly, just because they aren't common in western/american fantasy fiction, it doesn't mean they aren't lazy or can't be critiqued for that (especially since he uses the tropes so literally). Although I guess it is unfair of me to say "this is lame because I've seen this before" if other people have not, but I do not think it also makes what I'm saying not "valid."

And I mean, I do think that Liu is in this awkward place where I appreciate that he's trying to inject a more asian sensibility into American SFF through his body of work but at the same time the asian sensibility he's trying to inject is very cliche and neutered. (i.e. people quoting confucius, japanese boys playing Go, chinese mothers who are delicate flowers)

Which, in the end, I do think is worth critiquing since his intent was to write wuxia/Three Kingdoms-inspired fantasy.


message 22: by Linda (new) - rated it 1 star

Linda And to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't really be thinking about any of this if the plot and characters were at all engaging in the way that he keeps using the narration to tell us they are.


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