I read The Lost Child longer ago than I care to recall and loved it, so when I went online and found this recent offering, I snapped it up. Would Ash’s ability to spin a great story and interesting world still hold me?
Two rival clans. Two sacred pearls, the Tide Jewels, that can summon the Tide Dragons to protect the empire. Two young men, Kaito and Naoki, one a Black Crane healer, the other a Red Kite shinobi, are sucked into an ancient, unresolved conflict between the gods of land and sea, when the exiled Red Kites steal the Tide Jewels and re-ignite a bitter clan war. Kaito must find a way to restore the emperor’s jewels – but how can it be done without betraying his own clan or angering the gods?
The magic persists. I was immediately pulled into this engrossing, beautifully depicted world that is clearly based upon the closed society of Japan, as the book starts with a bang and the pace doesn’t let up. This epic story cris-crosses the country as the main characters Kaito and Naoki find themselves pitch-forked right into the middle of a family feud, with devastating consequences for all concerned… The story is told in multiple pov, as others also become embroiled in this clan war.
This isn’t a simple good versus evil conflict, where some shadowy nasty villain lurks whose motives are as murky as his scheming, for we are taken into the heads of sympathetic protagonists on both sides of this vendetta. I cared about all the people in the story and could see where they were coming from – even the wilful, high-handed Naoki.
The other dynamic I thoroughly enjoyed is how things are not as they initially appear. So while we are presented with what seems to be the facts at the start of the book, as the plot progresses, we begin to realise that there are other forces at play. Done well, this tactic never fails to have me humming with pleasure as I delve ever deeper into the world, absolutely hooked and wanting to get to the bottom of the mystery. And this deftly balanced plot pulled me along to the climax, with me reading waaay longer than I should to find out what happens next.
The initial storyline is all wrapped up satisfactorily – but there are a whole lot of dangling plotpoints and I’m fervently hoping the second book in the series is on the verge of being released – because I need to know what happens next! I’ll be buying more of Ash’s books – and if you are looking for a really strong, exciting fantasy story with plenty going on, that doesn’t descend into too much gore, then give it a go.
Ohhh, that book looks really interesting!
I really like her writing style – and the good news is the second book is in the editing stages, so shouldn’t be too long coming:)
I’m slowly working through my reading backlog, so I don’t worry too much about the second book yet (I started reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, I hope to finish it this week).
I hope you’re enjoying it! I look forward to hearing your reaction in due course.
Yes and no ;). I think I expected too much from the book, but so far it’s a nice, leisure read, perfect for my workout time. 🙂
I particularly enjoyed the fact that nothing is black or white and we get to see clearly both sides of the feud. And that the writing style is so smooth.
I like the positive “feeling” of the book. I miss a plot and tension: almost everything is resolved within pages of introduction, followed by “it’s ok to be yourself, we love you” talk or info-dump talk. It leaves me with a bit of soap opera episodes feeling ;). On the other hand, I’m still reading the book, so it’s not that bad.
Sarah is very immersed in anime and her writing rhythms and patterns tend to follow the conventions within the genre. That said, I really enjoyed the storyline and stayed up really late to get to the end… I don’t do that all that often.
It’s interesting to see how different people perceive the same book even if they both enjoy it :). I like anime and I found very little of it in the book (except maybe for Kizzy who is anime-like through and through). It does have the episodic feel though, each chapter is almost a stand-alone (with a problem introduced and instantly resolved, before the “episode” ends).
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