Book Review: The Wall of Storms

Originally Published: October 4, 2016

Author: Ken Liu

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Have you read The Paper Menagerie?

No? You can’t be serious.

That was easily one of the most touching short stories I have read all year. Trust me, it deserves the heap of awards it got.

Now comes the Dandelion dynasty — an epic fantasy series by the same author, Mr. Ken Liu, and frankly, the two books we have read so far are pointing at a grand piece of literature taking its place on our shelves.

The Wall of Storms picks up where its predecessor left off. War has ended, and Kuni Garu is now emperor Ragin. We are introduced in the first part of the novel to two characters. Zomi, a young woman with remarkably progressive thinking, and her mentor, Luan Zya. Their POVs serve to immerse us more into the deep world created by Mr. Liu in the previous book, and more of its ideologies, schools of thinking and politics are revealed. Things then heat up, and the book takes us onto a faster and a more breathtaking journey.

Mr. Liu’s worldbuilding is so masterful, to the extent that it becomes difficult to believe that the archipelago of Dara — where everything is happening — doesn’t really exist somewhere. The author’s deep understanding of the human nature and the way he manages to deliver his message is a joy to read.

The strong theme of change dominates the book. How do people deal with change? How does the world differ? Who rises and who falls? How swiftly can we adapt? All these questions are offered subtly and slowly, which makes the novel a thought-provoking book with many layers to explore and stop at. Mr. Liu’s writing style — poetic and beautiful — adds to the depth, and makes difficult — and unfair — to rush such a well-written piece.

Verdict? Read this book slowly, savor its style, then wait patiently for the next volume.

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