Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Prince of Blue Flowers by Ryu Zhong


Enter the adventurous fantasy world of Ryu Zhong's Prince of Blue Flowers with this excerpt and insight into writing about immortal gods. Be sure to check out the tour for even more fun. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Young boy Hatsukoi leaves his village to become a monk, only to find monastic life incredibly boring. With a new-found name and a new-found friend, Hatsukoi travels the countryside and plays tricks at the expense of corrupt, irate, greedy, and ignorant people. Nobles of all ranks—from petty governors to crown princes—fall victim to the boy’s wit and cunning.

As his tricks evolve from childhood frolics to elaborate cons, Hatsukoi grows as well. He learns not only the craft of his trade, but also its higher purpose.

Join Hatsukoi’s journey, laugh at his exploits, and learn with him.

Read an excerpt:
One day the blacksmith woke up, broke fast and set himself to work. Hatsukoi was nowhere to be seen. The blacksmith sighed, lit a fire in the hearth and got to the bellows to kindle the flame. He wanted to draw the bellows’ handles together with one hand, as he usually did three hundred times a day, but the bellows did not obey. He tried again, taking hold of them with both hands and squeezing them with all his might.

They creaked but didn’t give, so the blacksmith squeezed even harder. There was a loud bang. A potato flew out of the bellows’ faucet with great speed and buried itself in the hearth. Sparks and coal ashes flew around and above. Black cinder covered the blacksmith from head to toe.

From the bushes erupted a roar of laughter.

“Oh, you rascal!” bawled the blacksmith, and rushed to catch his son. Hatsukoi deftly dodged his massive father and ran to the village market. Left with only his ire, the blacksmith sighed and set back to work.

At the market, Hatsukoi performed another prank. He grabbed a large green horned kiwano melon from the counter and ran away.

“Thief! Thief! Get the thief!” the merchant shouted, and ran out after the boy. Passers-by tried to grab Hatsukoi, but he turned out to be far more deft than they. He raced down the street and disappeared into the alley. There, he replaced the horned melon with a cactus with long, sharp needles, and immediately jumped back out into the street.

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Writing about Immortal Gods

A fantasy world is appealing because it provides ample opportunity to reward its inhabitants with solutions to the problems that the best minds of today struggle to solve. Take, for example, immortality or at least a thousand-years-long life. Who would refuse such a thing?

Elves of books and fairy tales have lived for more than a millennium. Wizards quite often overcome death. Dragons and other magical creatures rarely die of old age. As for the gods... well, the gods are immortal for sure.

What can we learn about immortality from our favorite books? Frank Herbert, in the sixth installment of his ‘Dune’ book series, addresses this by giving his God-Emperor Leto a life of thousands of years. Leto unites all human worlds under his Empire, establishes a god-blessed dictatorship, and consciously steers to his own death.

What would a human lose if they gained immortality? Assume a very specific individual—yourself?—finally getting a sacred Peach of Immortality from the garden of the Goddess of the West. What’d be the price you pay?

I think the price for immortality is losing empathy. Once the existential fear of death is removed, it is hard to deeply feel for someone whose existence is still threatened. It is no wonder gods become tyrants so easily.

In addition to the loss of the fear of life, life’s taste is also lost. Those accustomed to this taste—like struggling diabetics to sugar—would suffer and crave it in the same way as northerners who move to southern seas crave snow.

From an attractive prize of life’s long game, immortality becomes a burden that—after an eternal while—can’t be endured.

This desire for unattainable death creates an existential drama for immortals, thus making the fate of gods interesting to us mortals. Both have their own existential dramas and gods, and we are suddenly alike.

‘Ryū’ means ‘dragon’ in Japanese, and ‘Zhong’ can be translated from Chinese as ‘flute’. This amalgam of languages represents the fusion of cultures that characterises the writings of Ryū Zhong.

In their books, Ryū Zhong explore challenges that humanity might face as our technology gets more and more complicated to the level where it becomes magic. Such a shift would force people to look towards religion and reinterpret realities that today, we call fairy tales.

Ryū Zhong were lucky to be born and grow in Asia. Now they live in Amsterdam, study Dutch, and adapt their writings to English.

Links — website for the book series — Ryu’s personal blog — Instagram — Twitter

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/ gift card. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

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  1. Hatsukoi sounds like such an interesting character, I can't wait to meet him! Thank you for sharing your post about Immortal Gods, it was an interesting read

  2. This sounds like a good book and I really like the cover.


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