Ahoy there me mateys! The lovely cover drew me attention and the quirky premise hooked me. This is the first book in a duology that has fairy tale tropes but takes place in space. And, seriously, it so worked for me.
The tone (kinda silly) and storytelling style (omnipresent narrator) did take some getting used to but I was quickly drawn in. The story follows Rory who is the first girl born to the Thorne line in 200 years. Court custom dictates that the fairies be invited to her naming to give blessings. But no one actually expected them to show up! Of course one of the 13 fairies is insulted and gives Rory a “curse”:
I curse you, Rory Thorne: to find no comfort in illusion or platitude, and to know truth when you hear it, no matter how well concealed by flattery, custom, or mendacity.
Talk about awesome. Though, of course, always knowing the truth doesn’t help when immature or lacking wisdom. But dang it it fun to read about how Rory and those around her have to deal with this particular issue. The author makes a fantastic choice to have the actual thoughts show up in italics before hearing what the people say out-loud. SO lovely and wonderful. It never got old.
The other highlight were the strong female characters throughout. There is Rory herself who ye can’t help but cheer for. Then there are her protection squad. Gryt, the body-maid, is particularly wonderful. Snarky, clever, and part cyborg. The other two soldiers, Thorsdittor and Zhang, also rock and I was glad to slowly get to know them. On the opposite side is the (male) Vizier who makes a nice counterbalance to Gryt and deals with the magical side of things.
The only two things I didn’t really love were the historical asides of the narrator and the romance element. The romance element was extremely mild and fine but could have been left out. Those things aside, I LOVED the unexpected ending. It was surprising and fun and I really want the next book. It is scheduled to come out at the end of October. I can’t wait. Arrrrr!
Is yer Captain’s word not enough (though it should be)? Matey Tammy @ books,bones&buffy has this to say about the book:
Probably the most surprising thing about this story was the way Eason combines rollicking space opera with fantasy and fairy tale tropes. It’s a combination I’ve seen before, but never done in quite this way. On the fantasy side, we have royal courts and princesses who have to wear ball gowns with corsets and follow strict protocols. And on the sci-fi side, the story is set in a “multiverse” full of planets and moons, space shuttles, and such familiar SF elements as drones, ‘bots and mecha implants. Tying these together is arithmancy, a wonderful blend of math, computer hacking and magic. Arithmancers can send their minds deep into the aether and use hexes to manipulate computer code.
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:
First in a duology that reimagines fairy tale tropes within a space opera–The Princess Bride meets Princess Leia.
Rory Thorne is a princess with thirteen fairy blessings, the most important of which is to see through flattery and platitudes. As the eldest daughter, she always imagined she’d inherit her father’s throne and govern the interplanetary Thorne Consortium.
Then her father is assassinated, her mother gives birth to a son, and Rory is betrothed to the prince of a distant world.
When Rory arrives in her new home, she uncovers a treacherous plot to unseat her newly betrothed and usurp his throne. An unscrupulous minister has conspired to name himself Regent to the minor (and somewhat foolish) prince. With only her wits and a small team of allies, Rory must outmaneuver the Regent and rescue the prince.
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a feminist reimagining of familiar fairytale tropes and a story of resistance and self-determination–how small acts of rebellion can lead a princess to not just save herself, but change the course of history.
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