This a great follow to Grace of Kings. though contra one of the top reviews, I would still read GoK first before diving into a Wall of Storms. Part of the reason is that Wall of Storms starts a bit slowly, but this leisurely pace at the beginning was more than earned by Liu by the epic sweep of Grace of Kings. The first third of Wall of Storms focuses on life in the Reign of the Four Placid Seas, with emperor Kuni Garu firmly entrenched on the throne of Dara. The narrative is split between Kuni's family in the capitol and the development of a new character Zomi Kidosu under tutelage of Kuni's old ally Luan Zya. Things take an explosive turn as contact is made with a land across the ocean beyond the titular Wall of Storms. Once the primary arc get's underway, I found myself burning through the text hours at a time.
The conclusion is ultimately satisfying while leaving the door open for Liu's next entry in the series, which I will be starting as soon as is it's ready. On the positive side, the new characters were quite strong, and Liu focuses much more on developing and following female characters compared to the first book (although female characters were not absent from the first entry by any means). Wall of Storms remains a work of 'light touch fantasy' where the gods are allowed to intervene in the affairs of mortals in very constrained ways, and the biology of fantastic beasts are explored in very great detail. The development new technologies throughout the story is also highlight--Liu has a clear passion for engineering and the constant evolution of the start of the art in Dara is a welcome contrast to your typical stagnant medieval fantasy settings (apparently no onr has had a new idea for 10k years in A Song of Ice and Fire),
I wish we could have spent more time with Kuni, but I guess that he's somewhat distant and unknowable in this second book is consistent with his new station as Emperor of all of Dara. Some of the battles in the back half of the book also felt a little gimmicky--they were tense, and well constructed but I would find myself wondering- 'alright let's just see which side has the last trick up their sleeve and get it over with." These are minor quibbles and didn't take away much from the overall narrative.
I really hope someone finds a way to turn the Dandelion Dynasty books into a television series.
Above all the
There are several great new characters and returning favorites.