Summary: 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, conspiring goddesses, underwater boats, magical books, as a streetfighter-cum-general who takes her place as the greatest tactitian of the age. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice. [Image and summary via Goodreads]
Review: Even from the title, you know that The Grace of Kings is going to be something epic. Then you pick up the hefty book and read it — and, sure enough, you’re drawn into a whole other fantasy world. The fact that it’s not another thinly veiled version of medieval Europe is a breath of fresh air.
In The Grace of Kings, you follow the exploits of the bandit Kuni Garu as he gets caught up in uprisings and grand battles between factions. While the story takes a while to set the scene and get underway, once it does, it’s amazing. The scope of the tale is reminiscent of classics such as The Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Tale of Heike, while the detail and vivid characterization brings to mind everyday folk tales.
If an epic gamechanging fantasy (and silkpunk! how cool is that) is at all appealing to you, definitely read The Grace of Kings.
Recommendation: Buy it now! Seriously.
Further reading: Ken Liu Discusses Silkpunk and a New Aesthetic