A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.
AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.
A HIDDEN GIFT
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.
But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire
The story, the plot, and all the brilliantly narrated battle scenes absolutely worth four stars.
Here is one of many:
Michi was a blur, a shadow melting from one spot to the next, tsurugi glinting in the glow of Hideo’s pipe. She lashed out, catching one bushiman across the throat with her blade. The man spun like a top, clutching the red spray at this neck. The girl slid down into a split, kimono riding up around her hips, plunging her weapon into another soldier’s crotch.
My favorite part of the story was the relationship between Yukiko and the beast. It’s awfully sweet. How they started off as “enemy” and later on became BFF.
The background and the Japanese steampunk futuristic world were very interesting. It also had a bit of history and politics thrown in, uprising, and oppressing regime and all that.
The worst part of the story was probably the “romance” (if u can call it that). And, partly, I think Yukiko played a part on how it “ended”. I have to say she is not my favourite character.
My other complaint I had was all the Japanese names, nouns, and phrases that kept popping up. It totally disrupted the flow of the story. I had to re-read many paragraphs many times. I had to think back many times, who was this person again? Maybe that’s just me, Japanese names are just too hard to remember. I think it makes sense to have Japanese character names… but nouns too? And, the fact that I had no idea there’s a whole list of Glossary at the end of the book didn’t help.
Otherwise, this was the most brilliantly written novel I had had my hands on.