DNF Review: The Grace of Kings

the-grace-of-kingsThe Grace of Kings (Dandelion Dynasty #1) by Ken Liu
Published: April 7th, 2015
Genre: Fantasy

DNF at 20%

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way. 

Synopsis: Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. 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, and shapeshifting gods. 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.


I feel like the outcast now. This book is so well loved. As is this author! But I struggled from the first page. I didn’t want to give up on this book. First, because it’s a review copy -and I really hate to DNF a review copy. Second, because it’s so loved! I wanted to love it too. But I don’t.

Normally, I would never DNF at 20%. I like to read a bit more before doing that. But I just couldn’t make myself continue. I started this book either in October 2015 or February 2016 -I don’t even remember. So it’s been either 9 or 12 months (or somewhere in between) since I’ve read it. I haven’t been able to pick it back up again. Every time I feel like I should continue, I have this nagging voice in my head. It’s whining. Saying: “noooo, I don’t want to”. 

Here’s why I struggled. 

I couldn’t remember any of the names, dynasties or kingdoms. Honestly, it’s really hard to try and keep up with a fantasy book if you can’t even remember the kingdoms or main characters. I just kept mixing them all up! It drove me completely crazy. 

I didn’t really feel any attachment to any of the characters we’d been introduced to so far. I really struggle to stick with a novel if I’m not at least intrigued by one character. I don’t have to like them,  I just have to be interested at the very least. But I wasn’t -and therefore, I didn’t feel like I wanted to continue reading. 

There’s also just something about the writing style and narrative that doesn’t appeal to me. It didn’t read quickly, nor did it feel fluent. I’m guessing Ken Liu has a very specific writing style, and that just wasn’t for me. 

I really wanted to love this book. That’s why I’ve been in denial for about a year. But sometimes, you just have to admit that a book isn’t right for you. 

Published by


24, reader, blogger, feminist, INFJ

11 thoughts on “DNF Review: The Grace of Kings”

  1. I’m struggling with this book currently but still hoping it picks up. There’s so few Asian-inspired fantasy that I’m compelled to keep going. I do love the worldbuilding though, it’s gorgeous.


      1. It does sound like the sequel improved quite a bit. I may have to do a skip-read until I get a sense of what to expect. It’s mostly the rapid scene and POV switching that’s messing with me. Which you know, I’m one to talk, since I remember doing that quite a lot when I first started writing my series. I had to cut the habit out because it was annoying me during editing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I DNF’d a book for the first time (EVER) this month, so I completely understand the struggle.
    I’ve been wanting to read this book, because it’s one of the few epic fantasies that aren’t based on Western myths or history. I’m currently reading Ken Liu’s collection of short stories called The Paper Menagerie, and I’m enjoying it so much so far. I really recommend it, esp since the stories are a good length and the ideas he explores are amazing. 😀


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