Amazon calculates a product’s star ratings using a machine learned model instead of a raw data average. The machine learned model takes into account factors including: the age of a review, helpfulness votes by customers and whether the reviews are from verified purchases.
On the surface, The Sword of Kaigen can be summarised as Poppy War meets Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it is so much more than that.
In its heart, The Sword of Kaigen tells a story about the titular peninsula, where clans of warrior have been guarding the peninsula from foreign invasion for generations. After decades of peace the invasion is looming yet again, and this time, the ripples of the dark past it brings may break the families apart.
Delivered with crazy elemental magic action and musings about the natures of water, this book is a complete package of delight and melancholy, war and peace, lies and honesty, and family and duty.
A very solid 8/10 from me. I have to laugh at myself; it's so easy to accept strange made up words when reading fantasy, that when you're faced with real words from other languages, it throws you for a loop. Especially if you speak a little of them. I kept expecting to see hiragana or something on the page.
Anywho, that's a ramble. I loved the blend of different Asian cultures in this book. It's brilliant. I can't wait to read more of this world and see how it's developed and what's been done with it.
I'm writing on my phone, so won't talk for long. I'd recommend this book for fans of Jane Fonda's The Green Bone Saga for the blend of old and new, Will Wights Cradle and the other power fantasy stories for the adrenaline action scenes, and KS Villoso's works for the perspective of older characters.
And potentially fans of Jackson Bennetts The Divine Cities. They don't feel much the same, but thematically they share a bit.
One of the most unique fantasy books I’ve read. It is standalone, but set in a world in which the author has set previous books (none of which I’ve read). Written by a western author (female) but essentially is Japanese culture-analog fantasy, but set in a world that is diverse and politically dominated by an African culture-analog civilisation. Unusual in that the setting is a region that has kept to its traditional, millenia-old Japanese samurai-style culture and fighting ideals, while the rest of the world is in 2000’s-level tech (jets, mobile phones etc). Ultimately though, this is almost entirely a character story around a mother and sun. It’s about preparedness for war, but not really about war. It’s about the challenges a confident modern woman and an intelligent son face in a very traditional patriarchal society. Most of the story is not about events, it’s not a plot-driven story, but instead is mostly internal musings of the main characters. It’s incredibly immersive, very powerful and moving, and really made me feel what pre-20th century feudal Japan may have been like. Excellent worldbuilding, completely wonderful primary magic system, and outstanding characters. While the focus is not on plot, the plot points that are there are surprising and traumatic at times, but it’s not a grim tale, the focus is on hope and understanding. I completely powered through the 600 pages in a few days. 9/10
'But the moment the wind hit the house, the world tilted like the deck of a ship, pitching them all in the same direction'
Wow...this was a wonderful read. At its heart, It’s an in-depth character study of war and violence, and the consequences of both on families and communities. The character work in this book is stunning and the world building rich and detailed. If you like Japanese-themed fantasy that is largely character driven I think you’ll love this book
Enjoyed this Asian inspired magic fuelled fantasy tale immensely. This book is full of action with some violent fight and war scenes. Alongside that there is an emotional depth to the interpersonal relationships. One of my favourite books of 2019.