Publisher: Altereset Books (27 Sept. 2016)
Genre: Fantasy & Historical
Author: Mike Bergonzi
My Review: (May Contain some spoliers)
In my opinion, this novel stands up with the likes of RF Kaung and the books of Child and Bone and Evan Winters. This novel deserves to be there, because one, I am impressed with the dedication and hard work that has been put into simplifying the names of the Japanese culture into this fantasy setting, and two, for creating an engaging and gripping story.
To summarise this story into a whole sentence would be difficult. There are different plot arcs, different character arcs, that they all work wonderfully to the end. It is however the story of a boy, the heir to the Shogunate that loses his father and thereby goes on a quest to discover himself and find the hidden threat that is threatening to engulf the Shogunate into chaos and civil warforever. His name is Kaito.
The strengths of this novel are plenty. From rutheless Samurai Warlords to emperors forming organisations to take back control, there’s everything you could ask for. Love, Betrayel, etc. It’s like if you played Nioh in all its glory. The picturesque descriptions are a glory to behold. I would have wanted to seen more Japanese mythological creatures and more elements inspired by Japanese mythology. Yokai and what not.
This novel works in such a way, that it has a very traditional style of storytelling. And that works in its favour. I think Naomi and Kaito’s chemistry was under-developed in some areas, and some more additional scenes could have added more of an intensity to the book. I also would have wanted more of Mayumi’s and Kaito’s chemistry to have had a few additional scenes to fully explore their relationship but that is a minor quirk. I do think getting to the relevations that do happen at some point, was a bit slow-pacing. I would have wanted a little more fast pacing in those areas when it comes to those moments.
I don’t wish to reveal much. You must read this fantastic novel and this is the reason why I set up my blog up. To read and review settings like this that you’d never get at a shop like Waterstones or any major publisher. There’s far and few between for historical fantasy set in Japan and we need more of this. So I say, this book is def worth your time. Fantastic stuff. 4.5 out of 5 for me!