Japanese fiction

All posts in the Japanese fiction category

The Last Leaves Falling – Fox Benwell

Published November 22, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this . . .

Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.

What did I think?:

I read this book quite a while ago now (due to an incredibly long backlog!) and it’s taken me this long to try and collect my thoughts and feelings about it. Even now, I’m not sure if anything I say will make sense or if I can fully describe how this book played on my emotions or write a review that does justice to the beauty and brilliance of this fantastic debut novel but I’ll try my hardest. The Last Leaves Falling is not an easy book to read (emotionally speaking) by any stretch of this imagination and delves into some very murky places but if you’re strong enough to deal with a bit of sadness and despair, there are also a lot of rewards to be had in terms of the importance of love, friendship and family – all very prominent themes in the narrative.

Our main character is the wonderful Sora, who I instantly fell in love with. Sora is seventeen years old and is desperate for the life of a “normal” teenager but he is cruelly prevented from living his life the way he wants because of a terminal neuro-degenerative illness – ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease that is rapidly progressing through his body. He is now unable to attend school and relies heavily on his wheelchair and his mother to help him perform the menial tasks that we all take for granted, like getting washed and dressed ourselves. This is not only incredibly frustrating for a boy that used to be very active, but excruciatingly embarrassing for a young man of his age.

Sora spends most of his time online, reading the poetry of wounded samurai and emails he receives which describe an increasing number of individuals in Japan that contemplate or end up committing suicide. This is something he considers thoughtfully and intelligently, imagining how much worse life is going to get for him particularly when the muscles responsible for his breathing also fail him. At the same time, Sora just wants to be like everyone else. He meets two other teenagers online and strikes up a beautiful friendship with both, finally able to talk about normal teenage “stuff,” and not be the young man with a terminal illness. It is through the friendship and love of his new friends, Mai and Kaito that provides Sora with a reason for existing, hope and guaranteed assistance for the end of his life which will be devastatingly all too soon.

There are no words to describe how stunning this book is. From the beautifully drawn characters and their relationships with each other to the imaginative plot which is written in such a spectacular fashion, bringing me close to tears and making me appreciate my own life, friends and family even more. I struggle with a chronic illness myself and often have days when I rail at the unfairness of the world…until this book. Now I just count my blessings. As I mentioned before, it deals with some tough subjects like terminal illness, suicide, end of life care and as a result, was quite heart-breaking to read at many points but infinitely worth it. As a big fan of Japanese culture, I also appreciated the setting which was a refreshing change from other works of YA fiction that are set in the Western world and hugely applaud Fox Benwell for the diversity that was demonstrated in this book in general. I really urge everyone to read this book if you like what you’ve read so far, it’s an emotional journey but one you’ll be so glad you took!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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1Q84: Book Three (1Q84 #3) – Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator)

Published September 19, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Book Two of 1Q84 ended with Aomame standing on the Metropolitan Expressway with a gun between her lips.

She knows she is being hunted, and that she has put herself in terrible danger in order to save the man she loves.

But things are moving forward, and Aomame does not yet know that she and Tengo are more closely bound than ever.

Tengo is searching for Aomame, and he must find her before this world’s rules loosen up too much.

He must find her before someone else does.

What did I think?:

For my review of the first two books in the series, please click HERE.

Ah, Haruki Murakami – how I do love thee! This is the third (and final?) book in the 1Q84 trilogy by the Japanese author and it’s had a mixed bag of reviews, especially on GoodReads. As a devoted Murakami fan, my thoughts fall on the more positive, gushing variety but I have to admit, I could understand some of the comments made against it. If you’re new to Murakami, this probably isn’t the best book to begin with, I’d probably suggest Norwegian Wood or The Wind Up Bird Chronicle as he does have a bit of a tendency to be slightly “out there,” and perhaps it might be difficult to see his appeal.

For someone who totally gets him, the world of 1Q84 is magical, beautiful, occasionally dark and disturbing and intensely dream-like. Personally, I didn’t feel that the third book lived up to the brilliance of the first two but it was still a solid end to a wonderful creation that I honestly didn’t want to leave. The two main characters, Tengo and Aomame first met each other in childhood but when Aomame enters a strange new world where there are two moons, little people, and a crazy cult they begin to form a connection with each other again. Before long, it is obvious that the two are meant to be together but in this new, dangerous world coming together may also be their undoing.

We leave Aomame at the end of the second book in a rather precarious position with certainly more questions and wonderment for the reader than answers. However, if you’re about to read 1Q84 Book Three hoping for answers to all the mysteries, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Part of the Murakami style is to leave the reader hanging just a little bit, leaving us to make our own conclusions about what has been going on. Yes, this can be slightly frustrating at points and some people may hate it purely because of this but personally, I find it quite refreshing and enjoy making my own mind up about things rather than having things wrapped up for me in a perfect little package.

Every time I read Murakami, I become entranced by the world he leads us in to. It’s true, the action can be a bit muted at times, and at points not much really goes on. He has a gift however for pulling you into the heads of very intriguing characters so that you feel you know them inside out whilst at the same time, not really at all. It’s like being in a giant soap bubble that you don’t ever want to pop and with Murakami, I never want to return to reality.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

Talking About A Dictionary Of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton with Chrissi Reads

Published August 25, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

In the tradition of Memoirs of a Geisha and The Piano Teacher, a heart-wrenching debut novel of family, forgiveness, and the exquisite pain of love
 
When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn’t believe him. Her grandson and her daughter, Yuko, perished nearly forty years ago during the bombing of Nagasaki. But the man carries with him a collection of sealed private letters that open a Pandora’s Box of family secrets Ama had sworn to leave behind when she fled Japan. She is forced to confront her memories of the years before the war: of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the love affair that would drive them apart, and even further back, to the long, sake-pouring nights at a hostess bar where Ama first learned that a soft heart was a dangerous thing. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle?

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: Amaterasu spends most of the novel feeling that she is to blame for things that have happened. How has this affected her life and does the novel provide a resolution?

BETH: Poor Amaterasu! I found her such a fascinating character and alternated between feeling really cross with her and then really sorry for her after her actions lead to her living such a sad, lonely life when her husband dies. Her potential grandson turns up on her doorstep one day after he had been searching for her for quite a while and you begin to see the start of a relationship between the two as Amaterasu thinks back to the events that caused her to lose her daughter and believe her grandson was dead. She escapes to America with her husband as she doesn’t feel that she can stay in Nagasaki because of all the bad memories associated with it. Even though she promises her husband on his death bed that she will try and integrate herself with the community, she becomes a virtual recluse, even developing a bit of an alcohol problem and it is only with the appearance of a man that claims to be a grandson that she can put old ghosts to rest.

BETH: Could you understand why Amaterasu made the decisions she did?

CHRISSI: Somewhat, I don’t want to spoil the reading experience for others! Amaterasu has to look back at her life and begin to come to terms with what happened in the time period before, during and after the bombing. It takes Amaterasu some courage to look back at her past and look for forgiveness for her actions so she can live the rest of her life in peace. It is a particularly painful look back for Amaterasu as she feels pain and immense guilt after her actions.

CHRISSI: What did you feel that you learnt about Japanese culture and the differences between East and West?

BETH: I felt I learned so much! This book is really special for the little paragraphs above each chapter that describe a Japanese word or phrase and what it means for the Japanese people. Even though the author is British, the novel is inspired by her years living in Nagasaki in the 90’s and it’s obvious she’s done her research and really integrated herself into the Japanese mindset. The East and West cultures can be quite different but it’s always fascinating to learn about a different culture and way of life.

BETH: Did your opinion of Sato change at any point in this novel and why?

CHRISSI: Not really. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t like Sato as a character at all. I get the feeling that I was supposed to find some sympathy for him, but I just found him infuriating. I guess he did try and find redemption within his letters and his adopting an orphan, but for me, my opinion didn’t change. I didn’t find him likeable at all.

CHRISSI: You love Japanese fiction.  Did this book live up to your expectations?

BETH: I certainly do and it certainly did. It reminded me of Memoirs Of A Geisha and was beautifully written with a fascinating plot and intriguing characters, especially our main character Amaterasu. I also felt like I learned a lot about the horrors of the Nagasaki bombing and the effect it had on so many people’s lives and it’s encouraged me to read a bit more into it.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I think it would depend on what the subject matter was. I do think the writer has a beautiful writing style, but I wouldn’t race to read another.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!
CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s star rating (out of 5):

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CHRISSI’S star rating (out of 5):

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1Q84 (1Q84 #1-2) – Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)

Published September 18, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unravelled.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

What did I think?:

It’s strange to think that this is the first Haruki Murakami book that I’ve reviewed on my blog as I worship at the altar of all things Murakami after loving everything I’ve read so far – Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Sputnik Sweetheart and now the 1Q84 trilogy. For anyone who hasn’t read him, let me try and explain a bit about the magic he weaves. First of all, he’s not for everybody. His stories have a somewhat dream-like quality, there is quite a lot of magical realism and descriptive sequences and quite a lot of time can go by where nothing of significance really happens. I have to admit when I first read Norwegian Wood I didn’t get what he was about at all. However I persevered and it was almost like something slotted into place giving me a new-found wonder and appreciation for his work.

1Q84 has been described as his magnum opus and even though there are three distinct novels, books one and two were published together in the same binding. We have two main characters, the first is a woman called Masami Aomame who goes by her surname, meaning “green peas,” and the second is a man, Tengo Kawana who are citizens in the city of Tokyo in the year of 1984. When the novel first opens, Aomame is in a taxi on her way to an important appointment but traffic is incredibly heavy and she ends up using a different exit from the road on foot. She emerges in a whole new world that is exactly the same but significantly changed at the same time which she terms 1Q84.

Aomame is a talented muscle therapist and her clients leave her presence feeling dramatically better, both physically and spiritually. A wealthy older woman, known only as The Dowager gets to know her professionally and then when she sees what kind of character Aomame is, employs her on a personal basis to carry out a series of “missions.” I’m not going to say any more on that front for fear of spoilers.

Tengo teaches maths at a local school and is a talented writer in his own right but with no published work to his name. One day, his editor and friend Komatsu decides to involve him in a ghost-writing project that he is certain will be a great money spinner. There is a manuscript that has come to his attention written by a seventeen year girl called Fuka-Eri who is dyslexic and rather oddly, speaks without using question marks. (Stay with me, Murakami virgins!) Komatsu is certain that if her book, Air Chrysalis is re-written by Tengo and entered for a major literary prize, the world could be their oyster.

After meeting Fuka-Eri, Tengo is equally fascinated and concerned. There is an interesting and quite disturbing back story to the young girl which involved her being raised in a religious cult, known as Sakigake under the control of the henchman known only as the Leader. There is also some suggestion that the things that happened in Air Chrysalis actually happened in Fuka-Eri’s own life inside the cult. As this involves some mysterious Little People (who are not always benevolent) and a new world where there are two moons, Tengo becomes quite afraid about what he has let himself in for.

How are Aomame and Tengo connected? Well, they used to go to school together when they were ten years old and Aomame once comforted Tengo in a moment which he has never forgotten. They both think about each other constantly but at the present time have no idea how connected the two of them really are. Especially when it becomes imperative that there could be dangerous consequences for one or both of them if they do not meet and they are both starting to notice the appearance of two very strange moons in the sky..

As Murakami novels go, this is up there with the best of them and is actually my favourite of his novels that I have read so far. The characterisation is just genius – I loved both main characters although Aomame does clinch it for being particularly intriguing and, let’s face it, supremely bad-ass. Even the supporting characters are well fleshed out, particularly Fuka-Eri who plays a prominent role in the trilogy and Tamaru who is The Dowager’s loyal bodyguard and plays a vital role himself in assuring the safety of our heroine, Aomame.

However, this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you’re not particularly familiar with Murakami’s style. It certainly isn’t that nothing really happens as I think this is one of the author’s most action-packed novels but if you’re slightly dubious, I suggest starting with The Wind Up Bird Chronicle just to give you a rough idea of how he writes. For me, 1Q84 had a bit of everything and more besides. It could slot into a number of different genres quite easily and yet is a mixture of so many. Finally, the ending of book two is so incredibly shocking and nail-biting that it’s impossible to delay reading the third for very long, the sign of a brilliant author in my opinion!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Battle Royale – Koushun Takami

Published October 11, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Koushun Takami’s notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan – where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller – Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language.

What did I think?:

My sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads bought me this book as a gift as I had been wanting to read it for a long time after watching the Japanese film which has become a cult classic. I read it as part of my August Real Books challenge and was so glad that I finally managed to get round to it as it’s quite a powerful read and stayed with me a long time after I had finished. When The Hunger Games series came out it was compared to this as the premise is very similar i.e. a group of teenagers killing each other until one remains (the victor). But believe me, Battle Royale is a hell of a lot darker and is probably not a young adult read.

Before the story begins the author provides a list of the 42 students that have the misfortune to be chosen to participate in a government experiment that will lead to 41 of them being killed. I have to admit I was slightly nervous at this point due to the fact that they were all Japanese names and I was worried that I would get a bit muddled and not be able to remember whom each character was. The story opens with all 42 classmates who are on a bus on a study trip. Fairly soon, we see this is not the case as each classmate one by one passes out. When they come round they are sat in a classroom and Shuya, who seems to be our main character at this time notices that all of his classmates have a strange metal collar around their necks including himself and when he tried to remove it it will not budge. A man enters the classroom wearing a badge which Shuya notices that means he is affiliated with the government. He informs the confused and groggy students that they are all here today to “kill each other,” and have been selected for the “Program.”

“a battle simulation program conducted by our nation’s ground defense forces, instituted for security reasons. Officially known as Battle Experiment No 68. Program. The first program was held in 1947. Fifty third-year junior high school classes are selected annually to conduct the program for research purposes. Classmates in each class are forced to fight until one survivor remains. Results from this experiment, including the elapsed time, are entered as data. The final survivor of each class (the winner) is provided with a lifetime pension and a card autographed by the Great Dictator.”

Obviously this doesn’t go down too well with the students, and two of them are killed before the “game” officially begins. Let me just warn you that this book is incredibly gory and definitely not for the weak of stomach. It’s probably the most violent thing I have read and yet I couldn’t help myself turning the pages, curious to find out what would happen in the end. Each student is given a pack chosen randomly containing food, water, a compass, a map of the island they are on, and the inevitable weapon. Unfortunately, each weapon differs and depending on the pack they were given, it could contain a rifle or a kitchen fork. Hmm, makes the death scenes slightly different, I suppose? The collars round their neck are also of great importance. First of all, some of the areas of the island will be forbidden at certain times and if a student happens to be in that area at the forbidden time, the collar round their neck will explode. The collar cannot be removed, will explode if it is tried to be removed and is a way of tracking the students by the organisers so they are aware of their whereabouts at any given time. There is also a time limit on the collars, and if no-one is killed within twenty four hours all collars will explode and there will be no winner. Let the “game” begin….

I did enjoy this novel and thought the translation provided by Yuji Oniki was excellent. Each chapter is fairly short which made me want to read on further and I liked how at the end of the chapter an ominous little sentence was provided telling you how many students remained. I was surprised that I didn’t get confused over the mass of Japanese character names, and loved that I got a little insight into a few of the characters personalities, despite some of them being incredibly warped. As I’ve mentioned before, the story is extremely violent and some of the death scenes wouldn’t feel out of place in a horror film so if you’re a bit sensitive to that kind of thing, this book is probably not for you. For me, I’m really glad I read it, the novel is graphic, compelling and quite hard to put down. I can definitely see why it has become a bit of a pulp classic and urge those interested to see the film as well as reading the book.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

 

Short Stories Challenge – Child Of Light by Randy Taguchi from the collection Fujisan

Published September 13, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s Child Of Light all about?:

Child of Light is a story about a nurse who struggles as she comes to terms with her role in the oft-brutal cycle of birth, life, and death.

What did I think?:

This story is the last in this spellbinding collection by Randy Taguchi, and is a beautiful little tale with several dark moments. Child of Light opens with our narrator visiting a Buddhist shrine for the Bodhisattva of Compassion, the Goddess of Mercy, where she happens upon another woman praying for the soul of her child which she sadly miscarried. The two women begin talking and we find out that our narrator is a nurse working in the gynaecological field, mainly with pregnant women. She is struggling to deal with a build up of hatred and disbelief at how easily young girls become pregnant and abort the foetus in such a matter-of-fact manner. One patient is particularly troubling her at the moment, a young girl who is five months pregnant but appears extremely laissez-faire about her condition, insisting that she has to have an abortion. As the girl is so far advanced with her pregnancy the abortion process is slightly trickier and has to be carried out under general anaesthesia. While the girl is recovering, our nurse attempts to hide the disgust that she feels for her patient but her emotions are clear enough for the young girl to see. After a horrific incident with the girl’s father, our narrator finally begins to feel some kind of understanding and sympathy towards her charge.

Our narrator’s state of mind in the story is causing her great difficulties, and when she happens upon the woman praying at the shrine, we learn that she has visited to pray for all the aborted babies souls so that they reach heaven, to try and ease her own internal trauma somewhat. As the two women talk, our narrator learns that the reason the praying woman miscarried was because she was brutally stabbed and can no longer have children, despite her intense longing and desperation for one. Both women decide to join a group climbing Mount Fuji where they meet another woman who has advanced and terminal cervical cancer but is determined to reach the summit of Mount Fuji as one of her final tasks. Our narrator starts to realise the extent of other people’s suffering and reaches some sort of peace in her own mind after the journey to the top.

I thought this was a lovely story to conclude a short story collection which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Some parts of the tale are slightly dark, but intensely enjoyable, even though some images for example, the description of the abortion of the young girl will probably stay with me for a while, but this is proof of the power of the author’s writing. Although my views differ slightly from the nurse regarding abortion, I appreciated and understood her views on the subject, and found her fight to appease her own emotional state deeply moving. I think the inclusion of other female characters in suffering allowed our narrator to put her own problems in perspective, and find some stability in her own life. Lovely story, beautiful writing and a general “thumbs up,” from me! I’m definitely looking forward to exploring more of Randy Taguchi’s writing.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

NEXT SHORT STORY: Proving Up by Karen Russell from the collection Vampires In The Lemon Grove.

Shadows On The Moon – Zoe Marriott

Published August 18, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is “Cinderella” meets “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince – and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love.

What did I think?:

Describing this book as a cross between Cinderella and Memoirs of A Geisha is a perfect introduction to a magical and beautiful tale by an author I’m determined to know a lot more about. It was one of the books I picked as part of Chrissi Cupboard Month back in June and my sister recommended it to me as she knew I was a big lover of both fairy-tales and Japanese historical fiction, describing it as a nice blend of the two. It is important to remember however that this story is inspired by Japan only – the imaginative world Zoe Marriott has created is entirely her own. Our main character is a young girl called Suzume, who when we begin the story is enjoying her life as part of a relatively wealthy family with her beloved cousin Aimi who stays with them. Suzume is very close to her father who is presented as warm and caring in comparison to her mother who came across as slightly cold. This is all the more bitter-sweet when tragedy strikes in the form of soldiers storming their house, accusing her father of treason and killing him and her cousin. Suzume manages to escape by drawing upon powers which she didn’t know she had. For Suzume is a “shadow-weaver,” and is able to manipulate the light and shadows in ways where she can make people see things a little differently or hide herself when in danger.

Surviving the slaughter of her father and cousin might not have been the best thing for poor Suzume who is traumatised further when her mother weds the scheming Lord Terayama, a little bit too quickly for her liking. She finds herself often pushed into the background or held up as a trophy when required by Terayama. Her immense distrust of him is proved correct when she finds out something that leads to her fearing for her life. She is forced to leave the household but ends up disguised as a skivvy in Terayama’s kitchens, desperately hoping he will not discover her. This is also where her shadow weaving comes in very handy! An old servant who faithfully served her father and is now part of Terayama’s household looks after her in any way he can and is able to encourage and strengthen her “gift.” It is here that she also meets the love interest of the novel, Otieno who swoops in like a white knight and gives Suzume the first real possibility for happiness. When forced to flee again, Suzume meets an intriguing young woman called Kano Akira, famous for having been the Prince’s Shadow Bride, chosen at an exclusive ball with a very-difficult-to-get-on VIP list! She boosts Sazume’s confidence, starts to mend her emotional scars, and gives her the possibility of exacting revenge on the villain that needs it the most. But can Suzume even begin to consider the implications of becoming the next Shadow Bride? And what effect might that have on her own budding relationship? Is seeking revenge more important then love? Suzume certainly seems to think so.

So, this book had pretty much everything ticked for me. Japanese element (tick), Fairy-tale and a few nifty magic tricks (tick), and a plot that pulls you in from the moment you begin and doesn’t let up (TICK!). The world the author creates is a nod to feudal Japan and felt entirely authentic and gripping. Suzume herself is a fantastic heroine, with bags load of bravery in a life that seems to be against her. I loved the change of identities that she went through just to keep herself safe, and her tumble from nobility to poverty is told with a sympathetic and imaginative mind. I wasn’t too sure what to make of the love interest, Otieno, at first, but by the end I completely bought the relationship and enjoyed the interactions between two people that could definitely be described as “star-crossed.” The attention to detail within the novel and the unravelling of the plot are outstanding and true evidence of a huge talent. Basically, I can’t believe I had never heard of this author before and am so excited to read both her past and future works. I urge you to do the same.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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