Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Thousand Perfect Things, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. This is a fascinating story, and you’ll find my review below. Don’t forget to scroll down to the Giveaway, and if you like what you see, hop round a few more on the tour to see their reaction to the book.
A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon
In this epic new work, the award-winning Kenyon, whose work has been compared to Larry Nivens and Stephen R. Donaldson, creates an alternate Earth in the 19th century. This Earth is ruled by two warring factions—scientific Anglica (England) and magical Bharata (India).
Tori Harding, a Victorian woman, whose heart aches to claim the legendary powers of the golden lotus, must leave her reasoned world behind and journey to Bharata. In pursuit of the golden lotus, Tori will be forced to brave its magics, intrigues, deadly secrets and haunted places, to claim her destiny and choose between two lovers in two irreconcilable realms.
As a great native insurrection sweeps the continent of Bharata—Tori will find the thing she most desires, beautifully flawed and more wonderfully strange than she could have ever dreamed.
How to categorise this book? An alternative world fantasy where H G Wells meets the Raj Quartet, with a touch of steampunk and Sharpe. It’s a clash between science and mysticism; a treatise on colonialism and an imaginative mix of culture, politics, love and duty. There are only two continents in this world, Anglica and Bharatha, and they have been joined by a monstrous 1000 mile bridge, or pontoon, on the ocean. Wondrous engineering, yet this world appears to be pre-steam age.
Astoria Harding, known as Tori, has been schooled by her grandfather in scientific method. It is her great ambition to be accepted into the Royal Society – a gathering of eminent scientists, all men. For this is Albertian England of the 19th century, and a woman’s place is married and in the home. Albertian? Yes, a little note says his wife died young and King Albert mourns her deeply… in our world, of course, Prince Albert died young and Queen Victoria mourned him deeply.
Tori was working with her grandfather on a theory about the legendary Golden Lotus and its properties, following his search for it in Bharata years earlier. She takes on a quest once he dies, to continue his work and publish a paper, thus impressing the Royal Society.
Her father, Colonel Harding, is appointed to Bharatha to help promote relations between Anglica and the Bharathan princes. Of course, the family goes too, along with the regiment, and a suitor, Captain Edmond Muir-Smith. On arrival, Tori and Edmond are invited to the Prince’s fort at Kathore, where Tori mingles with the royal family and experiences manifestations and apparitions while she searches the abandoned library, scene of her grandfather’s work in the past. From there, Tori’s desire to find a scientific answer to what she sees in Bharatha takes her on a journey which changes her, literally and metaphorically.
The combination of scientific method and mysticism is beautifully done. I loved the way the two cultures are juxtaposed and Tori has to make sense of them, while her local escort sees only the futility of her need for reason within the metaphysical. Tori’s story twists through a larger story of cultural clash and rebellion; both the politics and the armed conflict are well handled. The writing is full of tension and excitement on many levels. If this sounds too deep, it is not, but fully rounded, well-described and extremely readable.
I want to say so much more about this book. It flows from one nearly familiar world to another with extraordinary beauty and captivating pace. The style combines the formality of writers such as John Buchan or Arthur Conan Doyle with the descriptive magic of H P Lovecraft. It wasn’t what I expected from the blurb when I started reading it, but it turned out to be so much more.
I received a free review copy from the publishers as part of this blog tour in return for my honest review, but I might just buy my own copy – in paperback. It’s stunning, and I’m sure I’ll read it again. A story to savour.
Praise for A Thousand Perfect Things
“This has become my favorite of all Kay Kenyon’s books. The science-driven men of Anglica have constructed a marvel of engineering-a bridge that crosses the ocean-but they don’t understand the mystical forces they’re facing in the dangerously seductive country of Bharata. As usual, Kenyon offers flawless world-building and a diverse cast of characters driven by conflicting and wholly believable desires. This is a rich, gorgeous, and marvelously detailed tapestry of a book.”
— Sharon Shinn, Author of Troubled Waters and Royal Airs
“Kay Kenyon has once again created a world into which one blissfully disappears, replete with magic and monsters, romance and reigning dynasties, set upon the fragile social scaffolding of mid-nineteenth century England. The story is, literally and figuratively, a bridge between the mystical and the very real, with a young heroine who a delivers a deliciously vicarious ride. Brilliantly told with elegant yet occasionally jarring prose, A Thousand Perfect Things is a masterwork from the mind of one of our best authors of compelling alternate realities.”
— Larry Brooks, Author of Story Engineering
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo * Book Depository
Kay Kenyon is the author of eleven science fiction and fantasy novels, including A Thousand Perfect Things. She is the author of the critically acclaimed science fiction quartet, The Entire and The Rose. Bright of the Sky was among PW’s top 150 books of 2007. The series has twice been shortlisted for the ALA Reading List awards and three times for the Endeavour Award. Four of her novels have been translated into French, Spanish and Czech. Along with her novels Tropic of Creation and Maximum Ice, two of the works in the quartet received starred reviews from PW.
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Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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4 thoughts on “Book Review and Blog Tour: A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon”
Another one I missed due to my over-enthusiastic spam filter.
What a great review! If I don’t win (which doesn’t seem too likely), I may well have to buy this one! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for such a thorough review.
(But if Victoria had died, Albert still wouldn’t have been king, right?).
No, not in our world, I don’t think, but in this single continent for Anglica, maybe the rules were different and she’d made him King when she married him.
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