The Veiled Throne by Ken Liu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this fantasy, but I need to be very clear on something: it's unique. What I love about it is not the things it does to emulate other epic fantasies, but how it goes well into its own thing.
So why call it an epic, sweeping, grandiose fantasy, then?
Because it has immense depth of story to it, a real focus on stories within stories, a need to draw a constantly shifting line between stories that are alive and stories that are dead and the overwhelming desire to make a reality at the cost of losing the deeper truth of the past.
The spirit is not always the same thing as the immortal word.
All of this is part of the wonderful, wonderful theme, but I'd be doing the book a great disservice by ignoring the immense care put into exploring these two vastly different cultures, the Dara and the Pékyu, and the multi-generational schemes and the true attempts at assimilation -- or a brewing war.
It's the focus on the cultures and the hard-won victories and failures that make this book brilliant. What makes it weird and unique is how it will spend its first parts in wonderful adventure and sea battles and its latter portions in funny and awesome culinary battles.
I'm still reeling with how DIFFERENT this is. Believe me, that's pretty amazing.
Totally worth it.
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