Portal of a Thousand Worlds by Dave Duncan

Portal of a Thousand Worlds by Dave DuncanPortal of a Thousand Worlds by Dave Duncan
Published by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy on February 14th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 450
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

The looming threat of a once-in-a-millenium magical event sends nineteenth-century China into violent chaos in this epic alternate-history fantasy. Author of the Seventh Sword series Dave Duncan transports us to Imperial China in an alternate-nineteenth century – an Asian epoch not unlike the Boxer Rebellion era – with a spellbinding tale of rebellion, political intrigue, larceny, seduction, shape-shifting, dark magic, and murder

Portal of a Thousand Worlds is a book by the well-known fantasy author Dave Duncan, set in an alternate version of 19th Century China, and is filled with lots of political, and courtly intrigue. I haven’t read a Dave Duncan book in quite a while, but was intrigued by the premise, and setting of this book to pick it up. There are a lot of political and story plots going on throughout the novel, and very few characters are exactly who they appear to be.

I’ll be honest, I found the story a bit hard to follow, which is partially related to the amount of intrigues going on, but also related to the number of characters involved. The characters each have names like “butterfly sword” and other double barrelled names which don’t follow a western style, which is a little alien to me. There is a certain amount of nominative determinism going on, with characters named after personality traits, or the jobs they do. As if this was not complicated enough, the author occasionally throws numbers at the end of names. The effect of this is that – for me – I struggled to understand who was whom, and I consequently lost interest in what was going on.

This is quite a long novel, but I still felt as though Duncan managed to rush his way through a number of scenes which I considered would be fairly critical to the plot. There is a civil war going on, but the actual fighting seems to be secondary to the machinations going on in the Imperial Court.

Maybe I’m used to a bit more action in the novels I read, and perhaps this would appeal to some others who might find the whole thing easier to follow. By the time I was finished the book, I was ready to be done with it, and I struggled to recall, and summarise the book as a whole.

I received the book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating Report
Overall: four-stars

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