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The Yakuza Path: Blood Stained Tea (Volume 1) Paperback – December 8, 2016
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Blood Stained Tea not only lives up to the promise of its blurb, it goes beyond that. Yakuza and m/m sounded intriguing enough but there was a lot more that kept me glued to the book throughout.
Amy Tasukada's writing style is crisp and lyrical, like snowflakes dancing in the night. She describes with the same ease and elegance steeping of tea and spilling of blood. Without getting into unnecessary detail, she transports us to historical Kyoto as the background of the war between the Japanese and Korean mafia and the impossible love of Nao and Saehyun.
The dialogue is witty and dynamic, with entwined bits and pieces about their cultural differences that are quite interesting. Keep in mind that if you've never been exposed to Japanese/Korean culture in any way , you may find some of the character's behavior and decisions questionable and irrational but they are not such in the least.
The chemistry between Nao and Saehyun is wild and rugged. It's not a sugar coated romance and there's no pink bubbly end. It's a raw romance amidst violence, love wounded by honor and necessary lies - harsh, beautiful and broken.
<i>Blood Stained Tea</i> was thrilling throughout but the last third was a total twist in the gut. I really don't know what Amy Tatsukada has mixed up for us in <i>Better Than Suicide</i> (Yakuza Path #2) but I'm sure it would be as strong and sensual as oolong tea.
And I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it!
Oh, don't get me wrong, this is a very well written book. The story is delivered in a great way. I'm just not sure I liked it!
Here's why I *THINK* it didn't quite work for me.
Both men, Nao and Saehyun, are members of their respective mafia. Nao, the Japanese Yakuza, and Saehyun the Korean equivalent. And the book is HEAVY on the mafia side. Very violent in places, too much for me, which is odd since I don't mind getting into the twisted minds of some characters, and hearing and seeing what they are doing, so why should it bother me here?? I don't know, its the overwhelming feeling I'm left with, that it was too much. For me.
Here's what I DID like. Both men have their say. For a little while, I thought this not to be the case as it is a while before Saehyun speaks. Both men find out about the other being their enemy way after they get together, and independently of each other. I liked that one knew before the other, but didn't let on.
I did NOT see what happened towards the end coming at me, not at all, not even when one warned the other that's what he would do! Nao and Saehyun's story is by no means finished and this is billed as book one in The Yakuza Path series.
Will I read any more?? Possibly not. But I did finish this one, and if you took the violence out, I would have loved it, I think.
** same worded review will appear on Goodreads, Booklikes, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble**
One of the aspects I enjoyed most about this novel was the author's attention to detail. She clearly did her homework with regard to the setting of the book, which takes place in Kyoto, Japan. From the specifics of proper tea drinking and preparation, to Nao's traditional dress, to the Gion Matsuri which plays an important role in the story, Ms. Tasukada does not disappoint.
If you are looking for a bittersweet romance, you'll find it here. If you're looking for blood and guts, you'll find it here. And if you are looking for a glimpse into a Japan which very few of us will have the chance to know, you'll find it here.
(So when can I buy the sequel???!??)
Most recent customer reviews
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