The Veiled Throne (The Dandelion Dynasty 3) by Ken Liu Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

TRIGGER WARNING: MENTIONS AND SCENES INVOLVING CHILD DEATH, TORTURE, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT. READER DISCRETION ADVISED.

As one sibling moves to bring the war to an invading empire, another must contend with rivalries and power surges as they lead the Dara Empire and the forgotten people that the Emperor serves to decide to find new solutions for the arrival of a new age as the commoners find new innovations in author Ken Liu’s “The Veiled Throne”, the third book in the DANDELION DYNASTY series.

The Synopsis

With the invasion of Dara complete, and the Wall of Storms breached, the world has opened to new possibilities for the gods and peoples of both empires as the sweeping saga of the award-winning Dandelion Dynasty continues in this third book of the “magnificent fantasy epic” (NPR).

Princess Théra, once known as Empress Üna of Dara, entrusted the throne to her younger brother in order to journey to Ukyu-Gondé to war with the Lyucu. She has crossed the fabled Wall of Storms with a fleet of advanced warships and ten thousand people. Beset by adversity, Théra and her most trusted companions attempt to overcome every challenge by doing the most interesting thing. But is not letting the past dictate the present always possible or even desirable?

In Dara, the Lyucu leadership as well as the surviving Dandelion Court bristle with rivalries as currents of power surge and ebb and perspectives spin and shift. Here, parents and children, teachers and students, Empress and Pékyu, all nurture the seeds of plans that will take years to bloom. Will tradition yield to new justifications for power?

Everywhere, the spirit of innovation dances like dandelion seeds on the wind, and the commoners, the forgotten, the ignored begin to engineer new solutions for a new age.

Ken Liu returns to the series that draws from a tradition of the great epics of our history from the Aeneid to the Romance on the Three Kingdoms and builds a new tale unsurpassed in its scope and ambition.

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The Review

Now as a relative newcomer to this author’s fantasy series, I can only share with you guys my thoughts on this individual narrative as I am unfamiliar with the series as a whole. However, I must say the author has crafted a truly remarkable and vibrant world. The history, culture, and mythos the author has developed in this book feels rich and engaging, and while I would definitely recommend reading the first two books in the series to fully understand the politics and history of this kingdom, the in-depth and descriptive nature of the narrative really invites newcomers and fans of this series alike into the story and this massive world.

The author found the perfect balance of world-building and character development in this story. The gritty realism of the style of fantasy narrative was felt immensely in the narrative, and the only real criticism I have is the tournament scenes towards the end of the narrative feels a bit disconnected from the rest of the narrative and feels like it could be its own separate novella or short story set within the same universe instead. Otherwise, this was a truly engaging and memorable read.

The Verdict

An astounding, memorable, and breathtaking fantasy read, author Ken Liu’s “The Veiled Throne” is a must-read novel this winter. Due for release this December, this novel will be beloved by fans of the series while newcomers will be enthralled by the larger than life world the author has crafted, and the balance the author found between the action sequences and the more psychological and political battles fought back in the kingdom of Dara. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder or grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ken Liu (http://kenliu.name) is an American author of speculative fiction. He has won the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, as well as top genre honors in Japan, Spain, and France, among other places.

Ken’s debut novel, The Grace of Kings, is the first volume in a silkpunk epic fantasy series, The Dandelion Dynasty, in which engineers play the role of wizards. His debut collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, has been published in more than a dozen languages. He also wrote the Star Wars novel, The Legends of Luke Skywalker.

He has been involved in multiple media adaptations of his work. The most recent projects include “The Message,” under development by 21 Laps and FilmNation Entertainment; “Good Hunting,” adapted as an episode of Netflix’s breakout adult animated series Love, Death + Robots; and AMC’s Pantheon, which Craig Silverstein will executive produce, adapted from an interconnected series of short stories by Ken.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Ken worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. Ken frequently speaks at conferences and universities on a variety of topics, including futurism, cryptocurrency, history of technology, bookmaking, the mathematics of origami, and other subjects of his expertise.

Ken is also the translator for Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem, Hao Jingfang’s Vagabonds, Chen Qiufan’s Waste Tide, as well as the editor of Invisible Planets and Broken Stars, anthologies of contemporary Chinese science fiction.

He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

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