#ScifiMonth Book Review: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Series: Book 1 of The Thorne Chronicles

Publisher: DAW (October 8, 2019)

Length: 416 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Not surprisingly, the first thing to catch my eye when I saw the publisher blurb for How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse was this little nugget: “The Princess Brides meets Princess Leia.” And now that I’ve finished the book, want to know how closely that description fits the reality? Well, pretty damn close, actually. This rollicking genre-bending adventure reads almost exactly like a fairy tale set in space, with an overload of fun, unique twists on the classic tropes we know and love.

Once upon a time in a space kingdom, there lived a king eagerly awaiting the birth of his son and heir—only, when the day finally arrived, everyone is shocked when the royal consort gives birth to a girl! While a firstborn daughter has not been seen in more than ten generations, the Thorne Consortium decides to move forward with the traditional Naming Ceremony in which the princess will be presented to the galaxy at large, as well as to each of the thirteen fairies invited to bless the child.  These blessings, which can range from a gift of beauty to a knack for playing the harp, can shape a person for the rest of their lives, but the 13th fairy instead bestows upon the newborn Rory a “curse”—the ability to see through lies and flattery, no matter how well concealed. Fortunately, the 12th fairy, who hadn’t given her blessing yet, responds by gifting Rory with tenacity and courage. And so, a new galactic legend is born.

Growing up though, our princess did not have the easiest time, especially when her father is assassinated and her mother gives birth a second time, this time to a boy, who unseats Rory as heir. Our protagonist is also betrothed to a prince of a distant world, Ivar, who is sweet but cowardly, and doesn’t make a very good impression on Rory the first time they meet. Still, she is whisked off to space station Urse the moment she comes of age in order to prepare for the marriage, but of course, fate has other ideas as always. Ivar’s nefarious regent, Minister Moss, has decided to seize power for himself, leaving it up to Rory to uncover the conspiracy and rescue the prince.

With shades of Sleeping Beauty playing at its edges, How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a gender-flipping fantasy-in-space opera that turns several major fairy tale themes on their head. Reading it was an interesting experience because I recognized so many tropes, yet at the same time knew enough not to count on anything going as planned. This was the key feature that made this book so fun to read, as I could never guess where author K. Eason was going to take the story or the characters, only that it would lead to something unexpected.

Still, I didn’t feel as emotionally involved with this novel as I probably could have, and I place the blame squarely on its quirky narrative style. It felt a bit strange, to say the least, to be presented with this omnipresent voice which both seemed like an appropriate and tongue-in-cheek way to tell this story. Regrettably though, I don’t think I ever grew accustomed to it. While the writing itself was superb and I thought Eason handled the prose style with deftness and skill, when it comes to this type of historical narration in particular, I just feel that it puts a distance between me and the characters, which needless to say, impacted how well I was able to connect with Rory.

To be sure, it’s a pretty big hiccup, but happily not a deal breaker. I honestly enjoyed many of the features and elements in this book, from the world-building with its special brand of magic to the supporting characters like Grytt. This gave depth to the setting and plot, providing the little things in life that make a novel worth reading. The story also touched upon some meaningful themes, while keeping a lighthearted and cheerful tone. Overall, it’s a feel-good kind of book that goes down easy and smooth.

So, if you are looking for something fun, breezy, and fairy-tale inspired but are sick of the same old tedious retellings, definitely go ahead and give How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse a try. With its unconventional genre-mashing perspective and unique charms, it might very well turn out to be one of the most interesting sci-fi novels you’ll read this year.

21 Comments on “#ScifiMonth Book Review: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

  1. OKAYYY WOWWWW!! THAT PLOT THOUGHH!! 😍😍❤️❤️❤️❤️ I LOVEEE ITTTT!! 😍😍❤️❤️❤️❤️ AND THAT COVERRRR!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ And it seems like some minor issues aside, you reallyyyy enjoyed this one! I AM DEFINITELY GOING TO ADD IT TO MY TBRRR!! 😍😍❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️🌟🌟🌟

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  2. I’d never have guessed that this had fairytale inspiration from the title or cover. I’m very intrigued now though. Plus I do need to read more sci fi so looks like another books going on my TBR. One day it will get smaller rather than bigger… I think 🙈

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  3. Okay, you had me at “The Princess Brides meets Princess Leia,” but your review sold me. I would have completely overlooked this, never even clicked on it, but now I’m anxious to read it. Great pick!

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  4. Thank you for an excellent review. Though that omniscient pov is a dealbreaker for me. I didn’t enjoy it much when a younger woman and it was the norm and there are only very, very few books I find enjoyably readable these days in that pov.

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      • Yes, though I’m able to tolerate that more than an omniscient viewpoint… I do love the fact that in talking to other readers, I can get a sense of how others also negotiate books. It really is a marvellous gift to be able to TALK about reading in this manner…:)

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  5. Great review. I don’t know if this one would work for me or not. Sometimes offbeat and quirky humor does really well and sometimes it just feels distancing. I’m still kind of interested in it though. 🙂

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  6. I am curious about this – even more so because it seems to have totally missed my radar – or maybe I was trying to behave and not look at books at the time.
    Is it just me or is there a definite trend towards long book titles atm?
    Lynn 😀

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  7. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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