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Through the Last Door (Sacred Guardian Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Kaori Sansa is the heir to the seat of the High Lord of Kazure and away attending university. On the cusp of graduation he learns of his father’s sudden untimely death. His father, Akashi, was a larger than life figure, one that Kaori didn’t believe he could live up to. He and his father were such different people. Kaori the scholar his father didn’t understand, and Akashi the war hero and ruthless leader that Kaori barely knew. Taking up the mantle of High Lord comes with more dangers than Kaori would have ever guessed.
But Kaori isn’t alone. He has Hunter his bodyguard from the Assassin’s Guild who has been at his side since Kaori was six. Haku Tomana, his childhood friend, who is now a Guard of Heavens Gate. Plus there is his father’s adviser and Kaori’s former teacher, Ishaya Kamahize. All three come together to give Kaori much needed support.
From the beginning, the comfortable relationship between Kaori and Hunter was very important to Kaori. Hunter wasn’t only his trusted bodyguard but also his friend and as the story unfolds, it was easy to see how much more the two wanted but didn’t dare to wish for.
““How do you deal with fear?” Kaori asked curiously, momentarily distracted from his examination of the landscape outside the window.
Hunter smiled slightly. An expression chased across his eyes, there and then gone, that Kaori had never seen there before. It made him shiver without knowing why.
“Usually, I kill something.””
Both the story and the characters are like onions, each layer revealed something more after I thought I had a grasp on the who and the what. Sometimes the waiting for the next reveal was excruciating because I wanted to know more and gobble it up but this was a story that couldn’t be rushed.
Kaori began as sweet and endearing as well as very inexperienced in many ways which was quite refreshing from the common theme of a spoiled promiscuous heir. There was something about him that made me worry for him because I could imagine court life crushing the individual presented to me at the beginning of the book. But Kaori was also smart and approached everything with thought and consideration, surprising me and his adversaries.
Sometimes he asked the most naive questions within the hearing range of seasoned advisers and (frustratingly so) no one gave helpful hints when I had already surmised what the issue was… well, there was a couple of times I drew conclusions that were bashed so that kept me second guessing what I thought was going on.
Hunter was my favorite character and I found that most of the sections that I highlighted in the story had to do with him. There is something about wounded heroes that draws me. Hunter was a fighter in so many ways with a quiet strength but he still had secrets that he couldn’t bare for Kaori to know.
““But the thought of Kaori knowing what he had been—what horrible depths he’d had to climb out of—filled Hunter with a biting shame. He didn’t think he could survive it, if Kaori were ashamed of him.””
The writing was excellent leaving me suspicious of everything. Quickly I found myself engaged and invested in the outcome of all the characters. A sentence or two could set a scene to lead me to beautiful vistas or setting the stage for an unknown trepidation. Bits of philosophy highlight some of the character’s insights. The romance was a slow burn that had me rooting for Kaori and Hunter. I loved this Pseudo-Japanese world. I enjoy the subtle insertions of names, place names that have a meaning tying the name to the land and the people. I found the author’s note at the end delightful, giving me that look into the ground laid in the building of this colorful world.
This is an excellent book that I would highly recommend whether you like fantasy, or adventure, or a bit of intrigue. If the author ever writes a sequel, I will be first in line to buy a copy. As it is, I’m going to go look and see if this also comes in paperback because I want it on my bookshelf.
Kaori is the Heir to the throne of Kazure, he’s been away studying for three years when he gets a message that his father is seriously ill and he should return home. Upon arrival Kaori discovers he is too late and his father has passed, throwing Kaori into a responsibility he isn’t sure he is ready for. Kaori grabs his new position with two hands determined to prove to the Lords of the Council that he can be the High Lord they need, Kaori is thrown head long into danger as he discovers corruption and a country on the brink of war. With the aid of his assassin bodyguards Hunter and Yura, his best friend Haku and his advisor Ishaya Kaori must hold together a country on the verge of falling apart and discover the secret to summon Shinja, the sacred Beast of Kazure.
~Lies on sofa *blissed out* revelling in the pure joy of a superb fantasy~ Oh all you fantasy lovers out there are about to get a true treat when you crack open this book, you will be transported to an incredible world that has a feel of feudal Japan and incredible characters who draw you into a journey that will have you gripped from the first chapter.
Kaori is a wonderful character who doubts his ability to run a country, he’s not the strong warrior that his father was but he has other qualities that will help him if he could just have confidence in himself. We see his doubt in himself especially when in the presence of the Lords of the Council, but it doesn’t stop him from doing what he thinks is for the best. We see the growth of his character throughout the book but he doesn’t change fundamentally so he is still the beautiful naïve/sheltered man we met on the first page.
Hunter has been Kaori’s primary bodyguard for many years, his past is harsh and he lives for Kaori. We quickly learn that Hunter has feelings for Kaori that he would never act on, he knows Kaori’s responsibilities and is just happy to be close. Yura is another of Kaori’s bodyguards who becomes a friend in the short time he is with them, he offers advice even when it isn’t wanted but he is a true friend in all ways. Haku was Kaori’s childhood friend who would do anything for Kaori, but when Kaori returns their relationship is slightly strained… yeah and that’s all I’m telling you ;-) .
I loved this incredible story, the way that J.A. Jaken wrote this story was just perfect, and I fell into this story easily and didn’t put it down until I turned the last page. The setting we find ourselves in is wonderful, a very old world feel with a high lord and several lords below him taking care of the country that has been isolated for years, carriages and horses are the main transportation, and we are given rich descriptions so you can easily imagine the country of Kazure. The characters are beautifully written, with each one coming alive for you, you become immersed in their world as you take the journey with them, feeling their fear, anger, happiness and joy. The storyline is fantastic, it might be about Kaori coming into his own but we are treated to an adventure that includes giant bugs, magic, deceit, betrayal and love. The relationship that we see developing between Kaori and Hunter was exquisitely presented, there were doubts on both sides, caution was practiced with upmost care and when they finally grasped the courage to admit their feelings it was just beautiful.
I recommend this to those who adore fantasy, who love characters discovering themselves, who love getting lost in a story, who love adventure and danger going hand in hand, who love fantastic characters who you root for, and who love a romance that is slow building but long lived and incredible.
Most recent customer reviews
hero saving the day.Read more
The cover of this book is stunning, it catches the eye perfectly.
Firstly I must say this not my usual type of read.Read more