While this isn’t the best fantasy novel I’ve ever read, it is a nice, light read.
Set in a world remarkably similar to feudal Japan, it primarily follows Takeo as he has his world turned on its ear, discovers himself, and indulges in a bit of rebellion. It also follows Kaede, a young lady held as a hostage for her father’s good behaviour, and then shipped off to be married, with quite a bit of teenage angst about her impending marriage thrown in.
There is nothing ground-breaking in this book, it would be silly to pretend otherwise. Switching from Takeo’s first-person chapters to Kaede’s third-person was a bit jarring the first few times. The plot is fairly easy to predict from beginning to end. All the hallmarks of a below-average book, right? Instead, I found myself quite unable to stop reading, finishing the book in just a few hours. The predictability and simplicity of the whole thing was quite pleasant - I didn’t have to think too hard, I could just sit back and watch it all unfold.
When all is said and done, I will be finishing the series, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting something to nibble at.