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Blade's Edge (Chronicles of Gensokai Book 1) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- File Size : 2145 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 393 pages
- ASIN : B00RWV9XQM
- Publication Date : January 23, 2015
- Language: : English
- Publisher : Artemis Dingo Productions; 2nd Edition (January 23, 2015)
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : 150305733X
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #201,672 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Kisōshi are an elite, magically enhanced protectors of the realm. Only men can join them as no woman is born with elemental powers. At least that’s what the Rōjū council wants people to believe. They’re ready to kill innocent children to keep the truth from citizens. Mishi and Taka, two orphan girls who meet in an orphanage, share not only a beautiful and lasting friendship but also immense elemental powers they need to hide.
The girls are separated from each other in the early chapters. We observe their growth and development of their powers as their plotlines start to converge. Mishi becomes a fierce and dangerous warrior, more competent and deadly than any male Kisōshi. Taka becomes a healer. Both undergo training from Kami (powerful spirits). Both meet sweet boys they initially dislike (although things don’t turn the way one would suspect. A good thing.)
Blade’s Edge builds the plot on well-known tropes (magic school, an orphan with immense powers etc.) but also crafts an intriguing new angle on the formula. Because I have a soft spot for magical training arcs I wish McClain had spent more time showing Mishi and Taka’s training with Kami. She didn’t but I understand the choice. What we get allows us to understand the extent and limitations of their powers and focus on a well-thought-out plot and strong twists instead. The narrative stays focused and things develop at a steady pace.
The cast of characters is diverse, and it’s good to see the female characters playing leading roles as convincingly as their male counterparts. Both Mishi and Taka are bright, proactive, resourceful and good at heart. As a warrior, Mishi struggles with all the killing she has to do, but her inner conflicts lack credibility and could use some fine-tuning. McClain repeats time and again that Mishi feels bad about the killing and won’t do it anymore, but, truth be told, it’s not something I felt as a reader. I think showing instead of telling is one aspect of an engaging storytelling McClain has yet to fully master.
That said, the plot engaged me and the build-up to the climax kept me at the edge of the seat.
Unfortunately, the ending itself felt too tidy and convenient. Don’t misunderstand me - I have nothing against stories that don’t finish with everyone broken and miserable, and the world destroyed. I just prefer when things don’t get too easy the closer to the end we get. Here, though, everything felt too tidy, happened too fast, was slightly anticlimactic. And we’re speaking about a huge social change.
Sure, we’re told one of the characters can no longer live the life she used to live but I must take the author’s word for it as I don’t think she portrayed this change convincingly enough.
One more thing. McClain uses a lot of Japanese or pseudo-Japanese terminology throughout the story, and I applaud her for including an excellent glossary at the beginning of the ebook version. Seriously, more writers should do it. Having a glossary at the end of the paperback comes handy, but in ebooks, I prefer to read and memorize it before starting the story.
I liked Blade’s Edge. Victoria McClain has a smooth touch with characters and plotlines. Her focused narrative should keep most readers engaged in the story and the characters’ arcs. I’ve already bought the sequel and plan to read it soon.
The world building and magic are exceptional in this one. The magic is explained well without being over-explained, leaving tantalizing mysteries about the way it works. The complexity the magic system offers allows it to play an important role in both the story and the development of the characters without ever becoming confusing. I always love when fantasy stories are able to make magic an important aspect of the world, and that’s certainly the case in Blade’s Edge. The Japanese-inspired world building is exquisite and creates a wonderful ambiance for the story, right down to the haikus that open each part of the story. The world building is so detailed that it almost feels like historical fantasy, but it isn’t. The two main characters are engaging and serve—to some extent—as foils for one another. Separated as children, the two spend their early adolescent years growing up on their own, apart from one another. But their individual arcs mirror one another in fascinating ways. Partly this is because magic is forbidden to women in their world, and that forces them both to hide their magic. But there are other elements of the story that are similar in each of their arcs and the similarities and dissimilarities create a sort of harmony and counterpoint. Part of what unites the two stories is the driving need of each to overthrow the system of oppression in which they find themselves. Overthrowing oppression always appeals to me in stories, and that’s certainly the case here.
Not every element of the novel worked for me. The largest frustration I had was in the large time jumps that sometimes occur. This happens not only when one begins a new part of the story, but sometimes between chapters within a particular part. Flip a page and weeks, months, or years have passed and you have to play a little catch-up, figuring out what has transpired in the interim. This is especially frustrating when a chapter ends and you expect an important event to happen next. The event happens, but off-screen, and we learn about it only in retrospect, as a character remembers the event. I’m never a fan of this sort of literary device. It only created frustration for me here and took me out of the story. Too often I felt like I was missing the climactic part of a scene or arc. This is particularly noticeable in the first third of the book. After that, it settles down and either through exposure or because it genuinely happens less the story feels to flow more naturally.
Blade’s Edge is a coming-of-age story set in a world where women have few rights and certainly can’t do magic. The two viewpoint characters work well, especially as their stories mirror one another in engaging and sometimes surprising ways. This will appeal especially to fans of Japanese-inspired fantasy, Samurai stories, and coming-of-age tales.
5 – I loved this, couldn’t put it down, move it to the top of your TBR pile
4 – I really enjoyed this, add it to the TBR pile
3 – It was ok, depending on your preferences it may be worth your time
2 – I didn’t like this book, it has significant flaws and I can’t recommend it
1 – I loathe this book with a most loathsome loathing
Top reviews from other countries
As a first book in a series, Blade's Edge has its own stand-alone plot, but also has an ending that leaves many things open for the sequel.