Review: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

Posted: August 18, 2020 by in Books We Don't Like (2/5 single_star) Meta: K. Eason, Science Fantasy

It’s not often that I realize I’m not going to like a book by the time I finish its first line. It does happen though, and this happened to be one of those. For your reference:

“They named the child Rory, because the firstborn of every generation was always a Rory, and had been since the first of that name had cut his way through the cursed briars on the homeworld and saved the kingdom of Thorne–and, incidentally, the princess–from the consequences of poor manners.”

In this case, it was the combination of its length and a failed attempt at nonchalant humor that just turned me off. Well, that and the tone of the thing, which portended nothing short of hundreds of pages of unnecessary detail, generic character, and lazy meanderings of plot. At least in that, I was not disappointed.

HOW RORY THORNE DESTROYED THE MULTIVERSE is the first book in the Thorne Chronicles Duology. It tells the story of Rory Thorne, a princess of the space-faring kingdom of Thorne, that has given her away to be married off to a prince that she’s never met, on a planet she’s never visited, because of events in which she played no part. It’s a very old school princess type of story. And it manages to stick to that story… for about 20% of the book. That might be a somewhat generous estimate though. A better accounting of the story within these pages would likely have been titled: “WHAT EVERYONE AROUND RORY THORNE WAS DOING WHEN SHE HAPPENED TO MAKE THE SINGLE DECISION THAT RUINED A TENUOUS GALACTIC PEACE”. No multiverse. No destruction. Relatively little Rory Thorne, even, until the second half of the book.

As I kind of obliquely mentioned above, the story is told from the very loose perspectives of a bunch of people that surround Rory Thorne. Her mother, the Vizier (a lot of him), her bodyguard, her security staff, the Minister’s son. I mean, they’re all over the place (I’m sure I missed more than a few that get POV time), and very little characterization anywhere. On top of head-jumping, which I absolutely hate to see. So, yes, we get the story that surrounds Miss Thorne as she grows from babe to teenager, and there’s lots of political maneuvering and posturing, but the princess herself actually does very little of note. Anything of consequence that she accomplishes only comes very late in the story. But until that point? Bupkis.

It’s pretty obvious early on that the author is trying to mash up fairy tales with science fiction here, but instead of arriving upon a Science Fiction Fairy Tale, what we get is a Fairy Tale in Space. Thus, instead of arriving upon something new and unique, we simply get a mishmash of the two. So, there are kingdoms… spread across multiple planets. There are *actual* fairies that bestow fantastical gifts upon the newborn princess that let her read the people’s minds… and there are human clones. There’s a magic system called arithmancy… with which she can manipulate computer systems. None of these disparate parts ever really meshed for me, and became more of an annoyance every time they came together as it just didn’t feel like either one belonged.

With very little of RORY and lots from everyone else, this book meanders around to an ending that is nothing like what the title suggests

I think that part of my problem with this type of book is that I’ve just lost my patience for them. With relatively decent writing and loosely developed characters, it would take quite a riveting plot indeed to have kept my attention. I actually tried to get through the book twice and failed, before finally completing it on my third attempt. In early readings, I found that I just wasn’t following what was going on because of a lack of decent characterization and (admittedly) the mistaken assumption that this story was supposed to be about Rory.

I just don’t see the pull to read a story like this. It just wasn’t enjoyable for me at all. There are obviously those that have liked it. At the time that I’m writing this review, Amazon has it rated at 4.6/5 stars. Although there’s a sum total of 36 ratings for it and the thing has been out for a year now. So… I say avoid this one.

Happy hunting.

  • Recommended Age: 13+
  • Language: Very little, a few references, and maybe one or two instances of something strong
  • Violence: Some talk of death and murder
  • Sex: A few mild references


  • Alex says:

    This review matches my experience almost exactly. I agree with everything you said!

  • Bumbul says:

    I really did not feel that way about the book.
    For starters, to me the dry humour and flat deliveries are definitely a pleasure that fits well with the whole concept of the book – which is to break out of the traditional flashy and overt action-driven plotlines of the fairytale genre and move through the story on thin and dangerous political webs. In that sense what bored you, felt elegant to me.
    Also in my view the changing POVs provided for a much smoother experience when reading a type of chronicle. It almost felt like a movie where the camera shifts from one character to another to explain the situation in more detail rather than like a confusing mish-mash. The way those people thought was much more relevant to me than any other characterisation.
    I know what you mean when you talk about the amount of details and although I am usually one to absolutely hate detailed descriptions (I have attempted to get past the middle of Dorian Grey a few times, never succeeded), here they made sense to me because they contributed to this overall sense of being inside of intricate political schemes.

    • Writer Dan says:

      Cool. We obviously have different views on this one, but everyone has their own unique perspective on things, and I can appreciate that. Was just in a Barnes and Noble the other day and noticed that this book was still on the shelves there (like 7 or 8 of them in a stack). So, the thing is obviously still selling, or it wouldn’t be getting shelf space. Probably to folk like yourself that go in for this kind of storytelling. Thanks for the comment. Appreciate it.

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