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Neo-Victorian Fantasy Review: A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon

A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon


Egalley thanks to Premier Digital Publishing

Synopsis from Goodreads
In this epic new work, the award-winning Kenyon creates an alternate 19th century with two warring continents on an alternate earth: the scientific Anglica (England) and magical Bharata (India). Emboldened by her grandfather's final whispered secret of a magical lotus, Tori Harding, a young Victorian woman and aspiring botanist, must journey to Bharata, with its magics, intrigues and ghosts, to claim her fate. There she will face a choice between two suitors and two irreconcilable realms.

In a magic-infused world of silver tigers, demon birds and enduring gods, as a great native mutiny sweeps up the continent, Tori will find the thing she most desires, less perfect than she had hoped and stranger than she could have dreamed.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US($3.99)/UK(£2.65) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

8.5/10

* * *
I couldn't help it, guys, I loved this book! It was a little bit strange, atmospheric and at times really beautiful. A bit like The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins?  


A Thousand Perfect Things was a curious mix of genres, a little bit of neo-Victorian alternative historical fiction with a dash of fantasy, maybe? Whatever it was, if you enjoyed A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan and Pantomime by Laura Lam, this has a slightly similar feel to it.

What really charmed me is this lush, exotic, full of spice and rich with history and tradition Bharata. Bharata is of course just another name for India, which sluggishly confronts a more upbeat, morally rigid and technologically advanced Anglica (England) with the help of its mysterious powerful magic and religious superstition.

Tori Harding is a young naturalist and adventurous explorer, who is dying to make a name for herself to be admitted in the elite and purely male circle of scientists of Anglica. For this she would have to find a legendary Golden Lotus, which is supposed to gift knowledge to anyone who would touch it.

The gist of this rich and wonderful book is Tori's transformation. Bharata changes her among constant political intrigues, riots, spiritual journeys, sorcery and a lot of violence. Tori starts by selfishly looking for something that belongs to Bharati, and while she is thrown into a deep end of the pond and forced to sink or swim, she frees herself from physical and mental boundaries, and this is why I truly liked this book.

There are secondary stories of Captain Muir-Smith, his sister Elizabeth and of course an ill but mysterious Bharati prince Jai, but all of them mostly guide and support Tori's personal growth. Even her feelings for Muir-Smith and her entanglement with Jai leads to it.

I just... *sigh* ...don't want to get into details, but let's just say, this book charmed me in a sly, eccentric and quiet way, and that's why I wholly recommend it to you.


* * *
Какая всё-таки милая и очаровательная книженция, наподобие Лунного Камня Уилки Коллинз!

Мне сложно объяснить почему мне так понравились Тысяча Прекрасных Вещей. Во-первых, я очень люблю читать об Индии, которую здесь представляет собой загадочная и волшебная страна за океаном, Бхарата. Эта книга насыщена духом Индии, её спиритуализмом, культурой и волшебством, которые противопоставляются Англике (Англии) в альтернативной истории колониализма 19в.

Во-вторых, Тысячу Прекрасных Вещей нельзя поставить на полочку какой-то одной категории, так как она не подчиняется законам жанров исторического романа или фэнтэзи. 

Само путешествие Тори, которая пытается отыскать легендарный Золотой Лотос, трансформируется в освобождение её духа и тела от оков жестких викторианских норм с глубокими философскими последствиями. Добавьте к этому второстепенных персонажей, которые ей в этом помогают - капитана Муир-Смита, его сестру Элизабет, анемичного и загадочного бхаратского принца Джая и священного старца волшебника Махиндру... и получается очаровательная смесь событий на фоне бхаратских бунтов и восстаний против культурного воздействия Англики на эту древнюю страну.

В общем, как видите, по самому сюжету объяснять не буду, но читать очень рекомендую. По моему, нашим русским душам, такая литература очень придётся по вкусу.


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