I'm torn with this book. I loved the faux-feudal Japan setting, the political wranglings and the magical elements, but quite a few things let it down for me.
Takeo and Kaede are both apparently about 15 and yet behave not at all like 15-year-olds. I know it's a fantasy world etc, but their demeanours most of the time seemed no different to the adults they were dealing with, so very often I forgot they were meant to be much younger.
The love at first device was not to my liking at all - they take one look into each others' eyes and are immediately burned by passion and desire? Ugh, no thanks.
Much though I enjoyed the magical system in general, it was presented very haphazardly which really let it down. I've read many great books where a young student learns a new magical craft and it can be presented in such a way that the reader learns along with the character and really gets a lot from it. Aside from Takeo's hearing which was introduced quite naturally and quite well, the reader didn't witness him learning any of his other Tribe-endowed skills. We learned that the second self was a potential skill because Takeo sees Kenji use it, but it's never shown being taught. Instead Takeo sets off to research a mission and states that here he will use his second self (oh OK, so he can do that now?), here he will go invisible (WHAT, there's invisibility now?!) and so forth. Very disappointing.
There were however a couple of nice plot twists that kept me guessing right to the end and I was glad to see that Hearn wasn't scared to kill off some major characters in order to move the plot along. I probably will read the next to see what happens to Takeo now, but not in any big hurry.
- Perfect Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Picador (6 June 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330412981
- ISBN-13: 978-0330412988
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.2 x 17.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 200 g
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