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How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse
by K. Eason
DAW Books; 408 pp; $26
Published: October 2019

I enjoyed this so much. It was a hilarious read and I couldn’t put it down. Eason’s writing style has enough snark and speed to suck you right in.

We have a Princess. Princess Rory. At her birth she is visited by 13 fairies who give her gifts…of course, the 13th fairy was the nasty one who curses her “…to find no comfort in illusion or platitude, and to know truth when you hear it, no matter how well concealed by flattery, custom, or mendacity.” But, the 12th fairy hadn’t given her gift before she was so rudely interrupted, and so the princess is given the ability to see a path through difficulties and the courage to take it.

TA-Da!  Sounds like Sleeping Beauty, eh?

Well…not quite. This story does not take place in a quaint kingdom in northern Europe somewhere, but in the wilds of civilized space. And Rory is not made comatose for a hundred years. The Prince is, sort of.

As a princess, Rory has been betrothed to a prince, whom she only meets once as a child and is not impressed. This advantageous betrothal is to bind her kingdom to the Free Worlds of Tadesh.  But these planets are ruled by a conniving regent who has two sons and designs of his own, despite the Crown Prince. Prince Ivar is conveniently off-planet involved in military training on an inhospitable moon. (Or so they say. No one has talked to him in a while). The plan is Princess Rory will marry the prince as arranged, but oh, so sad, he’ll die mysteriously and then Rory will have to marry the oldest son of the regent to maintain things on a political even keel, and keep the regent in charge.  But this Regent has no idea who he’s dealing with.

And the clever and talented Rory, who quite knows her own mind, is determined to save Ivar. She discovers that instead of doing maneuvers, he just might be in cryostasis, hence “sleeping.” And damn, he needs to thwart the regent and be awoken to marry the princess…say...this IS sounding like Sleeping Beauty…with a galactic twist.

How Rory thwarts the Evil Plan and saves her planet and the worlds of Tadesh from the nasty machinations is just a hoot. Extremely entertaining and clever. Rory does have some help from her guards and her Vizier. And a little magical “arithomacy” talent that no one on Tadesh suspects.

The ending, though perfectly suited to Rory’s personality, is not what you expect.

And lucky for us, this is just book one.  ~~ Sue Martin

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