Friday 16 August 2013

Coming Attractions | A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon

So I was scrolling through the coming soon section of Fantastic Fiction, looking for new releases to feature in Sunday's edition of the British Genre Fiction Hitlist, when I saw, to my surprise, that Kay Kenyon has a new book coming out. Who knew?

Well, I didn't. And I do care. In the course of keeping up with community in years previous, I heard all sorts of good things about The Entire and the Rose saga, so I set aside some time and read book one, Bright of the Sky. I didn't love it... but I quite liked it. Enough that I made room for volume two in my bedside cabinet, where I keep everything I mean to read, and bought copies of the next two novels. But when, a little later, I read A World Too Near, my response to the novel was once more mild.

Looking back, I gather that book three is where the series really gets good, but at this stage, a period of years later, I very much doubt I'll be going back to find out what happens.

Be that as it may, I still find myself interested in A Thousand Perfect Things. It's full-on fantasy as opposed to sci-fi, and even better, I see it's standalone. The blurb sounds beautiful, too:
It is 1857. After millennia of seafaring, and harried by the kraken of the deep, in a monumental feat of engineering Anglica has built a stupendous bridge to Bharata. Bharata's magical powers are despised as superstition, but its diamonds and cotton are eagerly exploited by Anglic colonials. Seething with unrest over its subjugation, Bharata strikes back with bloody acts of magical terrorism.  
Despite these savage attacks, young Tori Harding yearns to know if Bharata's magics may also be a path to scientific discovery. Tori's parents hold little hope for her future because she has a club foot. Therefore they indulge her wish to have instruction in science from her famous botanist grandfather, even though, as a woman she will be denied a career in science by the male-dominated scientific societies. Though courted by a friend of the family, Captain Edmond Muir-Smith, Tori has taken to heart her grandfather's warning not to exchange science for "married slavery."  
Emboldened by her grandfather's final whispered secret of a magical lotus, Tori crosses the great bridge with her father's regiment and Captain Muir-Smith. In Bharata she encounters her grandfather's old ally, the Rana of Kathore, his rival sons, and the ancient museum of Gangadhar, fallen to ruin and patrolled by ghosts.  
In pursuit of the golden lotus, Tori finds herself in a magic-infused world of silver tigers, demon birds and the enduring gods of Bharata. As a great native mutiny sweeps up the Rana's household, her father's regiment and the entire continent of Bharata--Tori will find the thing she most desires, less perfect than she had hoped, and stranger than she could have dreamed.
By the by, here's Keyon talking about the collision of ideas that inspired A Thousand Perfect Things in an article for Blackgate.

At 292 pages, A Thousand Perfect Things doesn't look like the longest of novels. On the other hand, the Kindle edition is cheap as chips at the time of this writing. It's coming from Premier Digital Publishing on August 27th, though the trade paperback is already available.

Anyone out there ready to recommend it?

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