The Grace of Kings, by Ken LiuRead about the other entries on the list.
I wrote last year about all the things I liked about the first book in Liu’s Dandelion Dynasty series, but they’re more than worth reiterating. Liu’s empire is modeled on Ancient China at its height, a civilization that thinks itself secure in its power, which is crushing its people’s spirits and robbing them blind in taxes, thinking no no power can hope to hold it accountable. Two vastly different men begin rebellions to prove that assumption to be very wrong, revealing just how fragile the edifice of empire always is—and just how complicated it can be to tear it down and build anew. This is a story that takes a few steps back to look at the cycles of power—using it, misusing it, handing it over, and changing its structures—and how that broadly affects the lives of the people who initiate change, and those of the people who merely have to live through it all. The next volume, The Wall of Storms, is due out this fall, so if you dive in now, you won’t have long to wait to see what happens next.