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4.0 

The Art of Destiny

By Wesley Chu
The Art of Destiny by Wesley Chu digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

A hero once believed to be the chosen one must find a new path with the help of a band of unlikely allies in the sequel to The Art of Prophecy, an epic fantasy ode to martial arts and magic from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Wesley Chu.

Once there was a prophecy that a chosen one would rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, an immortal god-king. 

But the prophecy was wrong. 

Now Jian, the former chosen hero, is just an ordinary young man trying to find his own way. But he may yet have an extraordinary destiny, because he joins forces with Taishi, his grumpy grandmaster, who instructs him in the ways of her family’s powerful war art. Jian still has a long way to go before he can become her heir, so she recruits a band of elderly grandmasters out of retirement to whip him into shape and help with this one last job.

And there are others who are also seeking their own destiny, like Qisami, an assassin on a secret mission to protect a powerful noblewoman from her enemies. But as Qisami goes undercover to complete her mission, she takes on a new identity that gives her something she never had before: friendship, found family, and new purpose.

Sali also thought her fate was laid before her. She was supposed to be looking for the next Eternal Khan and now finds her clan exiled from everything she’s ever known. As she leads the survivors in search of a new home, Sali discovers that she’s something she never thought she could be: a leader and a revolutionary.

Because sometimes destiny is grander than any prophecy can foresee. And the greatest destiny of all is the one you choose for yourself.

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7 Reviews

4.0
“I really liked it. Overall: 4/5 (19.5/25) If you liked the first book in The War Arts Saga, I think you will enjoy the second. Inspired by wuxia films, with Chinese inspirations and martial arts. Some of the same fantasy tropes are used again, including a spin on Prophecy, the Chosen One, martial training school, mentors and found family. There is a lack of description for some action scenes, relying on naming martial moves to paint the picture, which may work for some readers but not others. This is another excellent fantasy read reminiscent of movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, One-Armed Swordsman, and Hero. Minor Spoilers Below. Plot: 3.5/5 A promise made in Book 1 finally comes to fruition as Taishi trains Jian, until she is called away on a mission. The irresponsible mentor is left in charge of the trainees and an Uncle Buck situation ensues. Meanwhile, Taishi investigates a shift in the prophecy and faces pressure to enter the dangerous world of politics. The third plotline follows a fallen assassin forced into a job pretending to be domesticated. She finds the life suits her, and the inkling of a betrayal/redemption arc is seeded. Last, the stoic soldier fends off the effects of her looming cursed bond. Much of the book is establishing the sides, setting the stage and moving the pieces into place for the next book. It did a decent job of accomplishing this without being obvious about it. Characters: 4.5/5 Taishi is facing her mortality as her age and illness work together against her. Jian remains mostly clueless and inept. Their wider found family, the new mentors and trainees brought in to help with Jian's training, were all-stars and brought a much needed fullness to the characterization of side characters. There is some depth given to each, with their own external or internal arcs, distinct personalities and capabilities. This added a new level to Chu's characterization I felt was missing in TAoP. Quisami is shown to have layers. It's interesting to see her establish limits and boundaries to her craft, glimpse into who and what she could have been, but her undeserved arrogance despite her situation is still there. Sali has a very similar external story arc as before, with a different motivation of curing her illness in place of finding her sister. She has the least growth in this book, even less than many of the side characters. Chu does a great job in rounding out most of his characters, showing them in different angles, lenses, and lights, so that they become more rich and full. They feel like the same people, but with many sides to them, making them really come alive and feel realistic. Setting: 3.5/5 With the setting already established, there isn't a whole lot built upon the earlier foundations. The biggest change is a shift in the religion as the prophecy is updated. This is only seen through some confused monk fanatics though, with wider world implications are mostly ignored, so there isn't a lot of depth to this change. The Cloud Pillars are more developed and new set pieces are added in, including a ducal palace. I didn't get a solid mental image of the palace grounds or the palace itself from my reading, unfortunately. There are some sparkles of culture through food and drink, gambling games and teahouses. There isn't anything bad here, but I think more could have been done. Style: 4/5 All the things great in the previous book are still great, including pacing and writing. Description was a little uneven, great in some points and lacking at others. I think the foreshadowing is improved upon. The pg version of action scenes, through naming martial techniques versus more actively describing the blow-by-blow, is more noticeable in this installment and I liked it less. I like to be able to visualize every punch and kick, and without an extensive understanding of Chu's martial inspirations, I'm not sure that's possible. Flying Crane meets Slithering Snake doesn't do the same thing for my mind as more vivid and detailed description would. This is a personal taste thing - everything else is still great as far as style choices go. Themes: 4/5 There were some missed opportunities with the shift in religion/prophecy not having a lot of depth to it. But fantasy staples like war, betrayal, revenge, found family, trust, revolution, oppression and so much more are on display. Chu likes to play with alternate possibilities based on conditions - in Book 1, the Chosen One is forced into an alternate self as he must hide his identity, while in this book Quisami is forced into an alternate domesticated self as she becomes a servant. This acting in different roles, how characters handle these roles, how their acting latches onto and evolves their identity, is now an underlying thread through this series and one done well.”

About Wesley Chu

Wesley Chu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, including The Art of Prophecy, Time Salvager, The Rise of Io, and The Walking Dead: Typhoon. He won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, and his debut, The Lives of Tao, won the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Alex Award. An accomplished martial artist and a former member of the Screen Actors Guild, Chu he has acted in film and television, worked as a model and stuntman, and summited Kilimanjaro. Wesley Chu lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Paula, and their two boys, Hunter and River.

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