March 19, 2019, 04:05:10 AM

Author Topic: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu  (Read 3202 times)

Offline Arry

  • Cat of the Canals
  • Administrator
  • Elderling
  • ***
  • Posts: 5878
  • Total likes: 635
  • Gender: Female
  • Faceless
    • View Profile
    • Tenacious Reader
Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« on: April 15, 2015, 10:19:46 PM »
So, I finished this recently and really enjoyed it! The number of kings and cast lend itself well to being compared to A Song of Ice and Fire. But the writing style felt different to me. The closest two authors I can think of are Guy Gavriel Kay and K. J. Parker. I'm quite curious to hear what others think. Has any one else read it yet? Or planning to read it?
 It just felt more like reading an legend of old than anything else I have read. And I love some of the characters that were in it.  If anyones interested, here's my full review.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.”
-- George R.R. Martin

http://www.tenaciousreader.com

http://www.speculativeherald.com

Offline Raptori

  • Barbarian who does not use the Oxford comma and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4054
  • Total likes: 2111
  • the prettiest kitty cat in the world
    • View Profile
Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 11:16:29 PM »
It's on my to-read list, since I really liked The Paper Menagerie short story. Have a lot of other books to read first though!
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Ryan Mueller

  • Needs a Cheesy Quest Fantasy baa-aadly
  • Writing Group
  • Auror
  • ***
  • Posts: 1067
  • Total likes: 256
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Ryan W. Mueller
Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2015, 02:14:50 AM »
I have it waiting to be read.

Offline cupiscent

Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2015, 06:51:07 AM »
Kay and Parker? Wow. This just got a bump up my to-read list!

Offline Puntificator

Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2015, 01:09:42 AM »
Here's the review of it I wrote April 10th on the Amazon website:

I've just finished and am rereading Ken Liu's "The Grace of Kings." This is more than a story. James Joyce's "Ulysses" experimented with literary styles and the writing of a novel; Ken is doing something similar here. He is using techniques that are not traditionally seen in English-language SFF (perhaps never seen before at all in such SFF), and he is also integrating the writing of short stories with the writing of novels and the writing of non-prose in an astonishing display of literary amalgamation. I don't know if I am explaining this clearly enough. It's a great story and a work of art—unique in method, content, and genre. It is something one can enjoy purely as a reader, but also something one can learn from as a writer, and appreciate in awe as a student of literature. It's honed genius.

Offline Arry

  • Cat of the Canals
  • Administrator
  • Elderling
  • ***
  • Posts: 5878
  • Total likes: 635
  • Gender: Female
  • Faceless
    • View Profile
    • Tenacious Reader
Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2015, 02:12:39 AM »
He is using techniques that are not traditionally seen in English-language SFF (perhaps never seen before at all in such SFF), and he is also integrating the writing of short stories with the writing of novels and the writing of non-prose in an astonishing display of literary amalgamation. I don't know if I am explaining this clearly enough. It's a great story and a work of art—unique in method, content, and genre. It is something one can enjoy purely as a reader, but also something one can learn from as a writer, and appreciate in awe as a student of literature. It's honed genius.

I think this is what gives it that unique feel to it that I couldn't quite describe. It really felt like reading a legend.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.”
-- George R.R. Martin

http://www.tenaciousreader.com

http://www.speculativeherald.com

Offline Overlord

Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2015, 06:02:39 PM »
He is using techniques that are not traditionally seen in English-language SFF (perhaps never seen before at all in such SFF), and he is also integrating the writing of short stories with the writing of novels and the writing of non-prose in an astonishing display of literary amalgamation. I don't know if I am explaining this clearly enough. It's a great story and a work of art—unique in method, content, and genre. It is something one can enjoy purely as a reader, but also something one can learn from as a writer, and appreciate in awe as a student of literature. It's honed genius.

I think this is what gives it that unique feel to it that I couldn't quite describe. It really felt like reading a legend.

Although Lei is a new novelist, his short fiction is really, really highly regarded.

I did an article on his acquisition a while back that might lead you to some of his other work:

Quote
Ken Liu, who has won Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards for his short stories, including Paper Menagerie which you can read in full here, and has been published in almost every Spec-Fic publication under the sun – including: F&SF, Asimov’s, Analog, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Clarkesworld – has finally strung enough words together to write a novel.

http://fantasy-faction.com/2013/ken-liu-hugo-nebula-wf-award-winner-sells-first-novel

I read a fair amount of it when I was setting up the F-F Anthology project to get a feeling of what was out there, doing well and getting picked up.
Founder: http://fantasy-faction.com
Editor: Fantasy-Faction Anthology (Aug 2014)
Author: "Son of…" in 1853 (2013)
Host: Fantasy-Faction's Grim Gathering

Offline aidan

Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2015, 02:22:39 AM »
There's a fascinating interview on Tor.com's Rocket Talk where Liu discusses the impact that western epic (The Iliad, et al.) and eastern romances (Romance of the Three Kingdoms) had on The Grace of Kings, and how he plays reader expectations against each other by mixing the two. Great stuff.

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2015/04/rocket-talk-episode-50-ken-liu-and-joe-monti

Offline Ryan Mueller

  • Needs a Cheesy Quest Fantasy baa-aadly
  • Writing Group
  • Auror
  • ***
  • Posts: 1067
  • Total likes: 256
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Ryan W. Mueller
Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2015, 05:02:45 AM »
I'm having trouble connecting with the story so far (I'm a little over 100 pages again). So far, Kuni is the only character I'm connecting with at all, and there's too much time away from him. It also doesn't help that it's written in a more distant, omniscient style.

There's enough that I'll read on, but it's been uneven so far.

Offline Raptori

  • Barbarian who does not use the Oxford comma and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4054
  • Total likes: 2111
  • the prettiest kitty cat in the world
    • View Profile
Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2015, 03:50:48 AM »
I'm 80% through now. From the start I enjoyed it, but even so it's grown on me as it's gone along.

Warning: spoilers below!

I do have one problem with it at the moment, though it doesn't really make the book less enjoyable for me. I had been looking forward to seeing the differing ideals of Mata and Kuni explored, in particular how they conflict with each other and what repercussions that would have for their friendship and alliance once the war had ended.

Instead, within a couple of chapters of their separation it became abundantly clear that Mata's perspective was "wrong" and Kuni's was "right". While I do actually agree with that overall - to me, appeal to tradition is always a fallacy - I would have preferred a balanced depiction of it instead of the sudden descent into a petty and malevolent dictatorship.

It doesn't quite live up to the expectations that it had built up throughout the first half of the book. Hopefully that'll change in the last 20%, but I doubt it will to be honest.

It's a really good book regardless, I'll be looking forward to the sequels. :)
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Ryan Mueller

  • Needs a Cheesy Quest Fantasy baa-aadly
  • Writing Group
  • Auror
  • ***
  • Posts: 1067
  • Total likes: 256
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Ryan W. Mueller
Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2015, 05:20:30 AM »
Spoiler for Hiden:
I felt like there were hints of examining Mata's perspective, but not enough for my taste either. In fact, his descent into tyranny didn't feel believable to me. It seemed completely odd that he had no issue with all the bad things he was doing because that didn't seem like the same character we'd gotten to know.

Offline Raptori

  • Barbarian who does not use the Oxford comma and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4054
  • Total likes: 2111
  • the prettiest kitty cat in the world
    • View Profile
Re: Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2015, 04:14:17 PM »
Spoiler for Hiden:
I felt like there were hints of examining Mata's perspective, but not enough for my taste either. In fact, his descent into tyranny didn't feel believable to me. It seemed completely odd that he had no issue with all the bad things he was doing because that didn't seem like the same character we'd gotten to know.
Spoiler for Hiden:
Yeah that's exactly how I felt about it too. He always had the potential to be a tyrant but it felt like he was moving away from that path when he was friends with Mata, and then he just suddenly switched in the middle of the book. If it had been a gradual thing then it might have worked, but I don't think it fit with the development in the first half. It's a shame since it was such a big part of the book, it's knocked it down from five to four stars for me.  :-\
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.