Wall of Storms

Wall of Storms by Ken Liu is the second installment in the dandelion trilogy (preceded by The Grace of Kings). It’s another epic story that entices emotions, uncovers plots, and keeps on surprising with the large level of creative innovation.

In this mini-review I wanted to touch upon two aspects. The characters, which are very well done. And the story structure according to the 8 steps of the hero’s journey.

The Characters

The main protagonist is Kuni Garu, you get to know him as a kid in the first book, and experience him as Emperor Ragin (people get new names sometimes, which is somewhat confusing) in the second book.

The great thing is that the characters all have their own personality, shaped by the earlier history in the book. Their strengths also show their weaknesses and most of them are strategic thinkers with great theory of mind. They think about what others think about them (many times over).

This not only includes thinking about what the person directly in front of you thinks, but also what the others there think, or what the general population will think (in the long term).

The book is highly political, but then more in a Game of Thrones-way then in a left/right party politics way. All I can say is that I was really captured by the considerations that all the characters had, the flaws that you got to see, and outcomes of their actions on the world.

Story arch

  1. A character is in a zone of comfort,
    1. Kuni Garu and the gang are in peace, they rule the country
    2. Luan Zyu is a noble without titles
  2. But they want something.
    1. Succession needs to be planned far ahead / want to keep the piece
    2. Wants to do the most interesting thing
  3. They enter an unfamiliar situation,
    1. Intrigues, world outside of Wall of Storms
    2. Teaches Zomi and/or ventures outside the Wall of Storms
  4. Adapt to it,
    1. Squash rebellion? And/or teaching kids to grow up
    2. Survives, is at other island
  5. Get what they wanted,
    1. Things are in balance/united
    2. Finds new people
  6. Pay a heavy price for it,
    1. Has to give own life in the end, deaths/temporary peace from others
    2. Dead, guides other people to Dara
  7. Then return to their familiar situation,
    1. But family wins partly, people are united, daughter is (temporarily) empress
    2. Student had learned much (Komi, could also do her arch someday!)
  8. Having changed.
    1. New situation with other people, learned to innovate quickly
    2. Zomi is more wise now