How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason
Billed 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.
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.