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An impulsive word can start a war.A timely word can stop one.A simple act of friendship can change the course of history.Cliopher Mdang is the personal secretary of the Last Emperor of Astandalas, the Lord of Rising Stars, the Lord Magus of Zunidh, the Sun-on-Earth, the god.He has spent more time with the Emperor of Astandalas than any other person.He has never once touched his lord.He has never called him by name.He has never initiated a conversation.One day Cliopher invites the Sun-on-Earth home to the proverbially remote Vangavaye-ve for a holiday.The mere invitation could have seen Cliopher executed for blasphemy.The acceptance upends the world.This is not quite what he expected when he first contemplated the prospect of retirement.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Oh my.
Despite the fact that I can see that this is not flawless, this is an unequivocal 5 stars for me.
I absolutely loved it. It has such heart, such compassion, such respect for people and the environment.
So yeah, it was long, but I would have loved to see it longer. Towards the end, some things were repetitive, but I didn't mind seeing it repeated. Perhaps Kip achieved a bit too much (we're going to have to put it down to weird time differences, because I don't see how he could have done all of that in a lifetime), but I adored the stories of his successes. I thought perhaps his Palace friends could have used a bit more page time and personality, but Kip was so magnificent, the Emperor was lovely and his family came through loud and clear. The Vangavaye-ve (I still have no clue how to pronounce that; helpfully, it is mentioned several times how it is pronounced in the wrong way) and its culture positively dripped off the pages.
And I just really loved Kip. His determination, his fire, his uncompromising honour, all wrapped up in an unassuming package.

If you want something fast-paced and action-packed, look elsewhere.
But if you want something immersive, with superb world-building, great heart and wonderful characters, take this! Come and take this. I would give it more than 5 stars if I could. ( )
  zjakkelien | Jan 2, 2024 |
“The world changes one person and one decision at a time. None of us know what decision, precisely, is the telling one.”

I have found a new author to love. How is this book even possible, and how does Victoria Goddard make it work?
Welcome to one thousand pages of…

- Humanity and hope, yet this is not a naïve book (not AT ALL).
- People who did not know they were friends, finding out that they are.
- People being very good at what they do, slowly changing a tyrannical system from within.
- Cliopher being himself, and I love this so much.
- Gorgeous details, from everyday simplicity to imperial spendour.
- Hints and tales of darker things, of a larger world, of catastrophes and deadly politics.
- Gentle humour.
- Assumptions we make about other people, the roles we stick them and ourselves in, family dynamics with love and resentment and old hurts so intertwined that there is not much distinction between them.
- Scenes and dialogues so emotionally intense I had to stop reading to recover.
- Meeting prejudice, bigotry and trying to reconcile the cultures you belong to.
- Not compromising with your dreams.
- A fantasy novel that seriously talks about universal income and ecology.
- The reader wanting to know even more about everything and everyone.
- Vangavaye-ve, which is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful - in every way imaginable.
- Coming home.

Am I doing the book justice? I have no idea, but at least I tried.

P.S. Don’t be put off by the page count. I mean it. It took me a week and a half to finish this (yes, I am a fast reader, but still…) and I thought the book was over much too quickly ( )
  Alexandra_book_life | Dec 15, 2023 |
A cozy epic with Goblin Emporer-y vibes. I laughed, I cried, and thought about what it means to be the one who leaves home. ( )
1 vote dianafrurip | Aug 17, 2023 |
Comparing this to Sarah Monette/Katherine Addison's "The Goblin Emperor" does both books a disservice: TGE, because it's a far better novel, and Hands because it makes the novel's flaws worse by comparison. This is not "what if TGE but longer", nor is it Csevet Aisava/Maia Drazhar fanfiction, unless it's a very bad approximation of both those things. A lot of people who like TGE think it's TGE but longer. At least a few don't. I'm among the latter, and I'm at the point where I find the comparison ridiculous and wonder what book people read when they were reading TGE. But given so many people recommend this as "TGE but more", I'll run with that here for folks who expect to find that (particularly for those who are confused when they don't).

One major issue in the comparison is the opening. Monette has strong openings in her work, exemplified particularly well in TGE. Hands does not. It is at first tedious and then even more tedious by going into a literal fishing trip, which is partially described with inaccurate sailing terminology. There is no real sense of character or plot, and I find Cliopher more exasperating than compelling. I love Csevet, but I cannot even remotely pretend Cliopher is any version of him, and on Cliopher's own, absent comparisons, I can't stand him. The political analysis is also incredibly stupid to the point of farce.

Another comparison issue is that TGE at once feels long and also doesn't. Your mileage may vary, but I've always described it as the longest, most detailed political fantasy that doesn't feel its length. For all its faults, and TGE has a number, this is one of the good things about it (I adore TGE, but I acknowledge it's not perfect). Hands doesn't have that, and describing a positive as "TGE but longer", as many people have, is an incredibly strange thing to say, given one of TGE's highlights is that it doesn't outstay its welcome (and much as I'd love more of its ideas to be explored, I'm not sure the experience would be improved if the book were 2-3 times as long). All Hands does is focus in on minute details in an overly cluttered story, dragging out scenes beyond what they should be, throwing in a dozen different concepts without connection, and making the story read like a collection of first draft ideas that never saw an edit. This isn't helped by the frequently stilted dialogue.

If you love this book/series and think it's TGE but longer, I won't convince you otherwise. If you haven't read TGE, I would highly recommend it, as it's a wonderful fantasy novel, and in my opinion, Hands is no reflection on TGE's quality. If you like TGE and want more of it, there's a spin-off trilogy called "The Cemeteries of Amalo" (along with two short stories). Book 3 comes out in 2024. Monette also has a large catalogue of work to browse, and her quartet fantasy series, "The Doctrine of Labyrinths", is coming back in English ebooks in entirety on July 11, 2023. There are quite a few m/m fantasy political thrillers out there, now, so this really isn't all you're stuck with. Maybe you'll like this novel too, since so many people do. I didn't. ( )
  AnonR | Aug 5, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
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Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
To all those who work to change the world from within the system, and especially to Anita and Charles, whose dedication to their work is only matched by their hospitality: thank you.
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Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
It was an indication of Cliopher Mdang's status in the eyes of his lord that he was given the use of a sky ship for personal business.
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An impulsive word can start a war.A timely word can stop one.A simple act of friendship can change the course of history.Cliopher Mdang is the personal secretary of the Last Emperor of Astandalas, the Lord of Rising Stars, the Lord Magus of Zunidh, the Sun-on-Earth, the god.He has spent more time with the Emperor of Astandalas than any other person.He has never once touched his lord.He has never called him by name.He has never initiated a conversation.One day Cliopher invites the Sun-on-Earth home to the proverbially remote Vangavaye-ve for a holiday.The mere invitation could have seen Cliopher executed for blasphemy.The acceptance upends the world.This is not quite what he expected when he first contemplated the prospect of retirement.

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