June 9, 2023

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Review: “How to run an empire and get away with it”

New novel penned by KJ Parker. We have already read it and reviewed it for you.

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The city is under siege, but those trapped must still somehow make a living. For example Notker, the famous playwright, actor and theater director. Nobody works harder, even when they’re not working. Fortunately, it soon becomes apparent that people desperately need a stage when catapult projectiles rain down from the sky around them. Notker is a man of many talents and the whole world seems to be a stage. It seems the Empire needs him – or someone a lot like him – for what could be a lifelong gig. At the very least, it would guarantee him fame, fortune, and immortality… if you didn’t kill him first. This is the story of how I saved the city from doom, written by Notker, the professional liar, because the truth always prevails in the end.

criticism

“How to Rule an Empire…” is the second in a series of novels (the first was “16 Ways…”). But don’t worry, you don’t have to be familiar with the previous book to enjoy this one. In fact, although there are flashbacks to the first part about halfway through the book, that’s about it. This story is completely independent and you don’t have to read the previous one. The setting itself only indicates that, like the people of Robur, we are moving in the same fantasy world.

Unfortunately, this size does not pull quite as well as the first size mentioned. There it was original and funny when the hero stumbles from one situation to another, trying to save himself. It’s similar here, but not least because of the completely different setting, the humor here is coming for a long time.

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Background: The king of a besieged city has died and what could be more natural than casting an actor who has been making fun of him for years and who looks alike? It has happened many times in something like this. And anyone who knows these stories knows that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. But it’s also clear that said actor has to evolve into the role and ultimately assert himself. And he will consider himself an emperor.

It all happens here, too. And since it’s all about our hero Notker, he has to carry the whole story. We also learn a little bit of background and other things from his life, but the spark doesn’t really want to jump into the gutter kid. Even as a king and later as an emperor, there are unfortunately many scenes that gossip. Yes, here too the hero gets into situations where he has to manage the city, fork out something to fix something there and so on. But whereas in the first volume one situation or another was avoided by chance, at this point Notker prevails and pushes only the pawns on the chessboard. The whole piece of dynamism and intelligence, which distinguished the predecessor, is missing here.

Moreover, the empire of the same name does not actually exist at all, because in fact our “Tsar” only rules the city that is currently under siege and is trying to survive with all sorts of tricks. In the end, he does some personal development to save the town; But this is nothing spectacular, just predictable, as mentioned earlier. Hoda, his girlfriend, who goes up with him, acts as a little antithesis to our hero. At least he stays true to himself until the end and sometimes softens things up, but in return he gets relatively less introspective.

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