The Art of Destiny

Del Rey: Ballantine. (The War Arts Saga, Bk. 2). Sept. 2023. 672p. ISBN 9780593237663. $29.99. FANTASY
Jian, the central character in Chu’s epic fantasy series, once believed that he was the prophesied hero who was to defeat the Eternal Khan and become savior to all. But when the prophecy was discovered to be wrong, Jian instead lost everything he had, including nearly losing his life. His grandmaster Taishi, however, still believes that Jian has a purpose and brings in retired grandmasters to help her get Jian in shape and train him in their particular war arts. Others are discovering their own paths as well. The assassin Qisami is hired by a beautiful noblewoman to protect her from those who seek her power; on her mission, Qisami discovers much of what she has been missing, including friendship and purpose. Sali’s purpose ended with the Eternal Khan, but she refused to bend to it, and now her exiled clan looks to her for leadership and a new home. Chu’s prose envelops readers, bringing both settings and characters into vivid reality.
VERDICT The sequel to The Art of Prophecy highlights the drive for personal purpose, no matter what one may believe. Chu’s delightful and immersive story pays tribute to martial arts and magic and is filled with enlightened and humorous dialogue.
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