How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse: A fun feminist SF fairytale

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsHow Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsBilled as “The Princess Bride meets Princess Leia” and “a feminist reimagining of familiar fairytale tropes,” How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (2019) is a science-fantasy starring the first princess born to the royal family of her planet in generations (usually they have boys).

At her naming ceremony, the fairies bless Rory with all the usual fairytale drivel: golden hair, blue eyes, sweet disposition, embroidery and harp-playing skills, and all the other things she’ll need to please a husband. The last two fairies, though, give her some actually useful skills: the ability to always see what is true, and the ability to always find a way out.

Childhood is easy for Rory until her father is assassinated and a war begins. To stop the war, Rory sacrifices for her planet by agreeing to marry a young prince from a neighboring planet. When she discovers that the prince’s regent may be planning to murder him (and probably Rory, too), Rory must use all her skills (and some helpful allies) in her attempt to uncover and outwit the traitors.

K. Eason

K. Eason

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a breezy and pleasant tale with a cast of likeable characters. Rory, who has a really good excuse for being a Mary Sue, is delightful, as are her bodyguards (including a direct tell-it-like-it-is woman named Grytt) and the vizier (a nerdy guy who loves data).

With most of the plot relying on political intrigue, How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse isn’t as exciting as you might expect from its title (e.g., no multiverse got destroyed), but it becomes more compelling as the story progresses. Style-wise, K. Eason’s prose is purposely wordy with an omniscient and slightly intrusive narrator, something that many readers will find amusing but that I found a bit off-putting and eventually tired of.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse ends in a satisfactory manner, but there are more adventures to come someday in a sequel. I’ll be happy to read that. Nicole Poole does a nice job with the narration of Tantor Audio’s edition.

Published in October 2019. First in a duology that reimagines fairy tale tropes within a space opera—The Princess Bride meets Princess Leia. Rory Thorne is a princess with thirteen fairy blessings, the most important of which is to see through flattery and platitudes. As the eldest daughter, she always imagined she’d inherit her father’s throne and govern the interplanetary Thorne Consortium. Then her father is assassinated, her mother gives birth to a son, and Rory is betrothed to the prince of a distant world. When Rory arrives in her new home, she uncovers a treacherous plot to unseat her newly betrothed and usurp his throne. An unscrupulous minister has conspired to name himself Regent to the minor (and somewhat foolish) prince. With only her wits and a small team of allies, Rory must outmaneuver the Regent and rescue the prince. How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a feminist reimagining of familiar fairytale tropes and a story of resistance and self-determination—how small acts of rebellion can lead a princess to not just save herself, but change the course of history.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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One comment

  1. Kelly Lasiter /

    This sounds fun!

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