When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana - an ancestral Japanese sword - out of its hiding place in her parent's attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.
The paralysing paranoia that descends on her before she gets to her friend's party is her first clue. The vivid and terrifying visions that nearly get her killed are a pretty good warning too.
The giant nine-tailed cat demon that comes after the sword and tries to rip her throat out? Overkill.
Seconds away from becoming kitty-food, Mio is saved by Shinobu, a mysterious warrior boy. But it's already too late. Mio has ruptured the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and now the gods and monsters of ancient Japan stalk the streets of London, searching for her and the sword.
With the help of her best friend Jack, a fox spirit named Hikaru - and the devoted protection of the betwitchingly familiar Shinobu - Mio attempts to discover the true nature of the sword and its connection to the Yamato family. Because if she doesn't learn how to control the katana's incredible powers, she's in danger of being overwhelmed by them. And if she can't keep the sword safe from the terrible creatures who want it for their own, she'll lose not only her own life... but the love of a lifetime.
Beth says 4.5 Stars...
I've been a fan of Zoë Marriott for a while and was super excited to find her new book while perusing the shelves of the library. I didn't even bother to check the description before grabbing it! Marriott's previous work has been high fantasy, so the urban setting took me aback at first. I got over my surprise quickly enough to enjoy it! The plot moves really rapidly once the initial set up is over. The combination of Japanese mythology overlaying modern London was a delight to read. I should also admit that I find reading about various mythology I don't know much about fascinating. I actually learned while reading! I must admit that I love the whole magic sword bit (one of my all time favorite books is The Blue Sword), especially when said sword isn't exactly easy to deal with. Throw in various animal spirits, good, evil, and indifferent, and I'm hooked. The actual plot isn't that original (read: heroine must defeat evil monster by discovering new magical powers), but is executed in a wonderful way. Marriott juxtaposes ancient and unfamiliar traditions atop of the expected and familiar. It doesn't hurt that her writing is just wonderful and expressive, drawing you in with every new word.
I loved the characters ever so much. There's so much sass that happens and it makes my little heart smile. Mio has her moments of doing stupid things, but then who doesn't at 15? Granted, most of those mistakes don't release evil ancient spirits, but welcome to literature. Mio manages to remain strong and resilient while freaking out like a normal human being. Although I'm not a huge fan of the immediate relationship between Mio and Shinobu, Marriott posted some tidbits about their future on Goodreads and I'm excited to see what happens in the next book. Shinobu is the least compelling and realistic character in the book. He doesn't have a strong individual personality and I want to see it develop. I think my favorite character might have to be Jack, though. Sassy and fiercely loyal, she's a perfect counterpoint to Mio. Plus, a constant stream of witty remarks always makes me a happier girl. Her ability to believe in the seemingly impossible is an added bonus when dealing with legendary creatures. I want to see where some of her relationships (not spoiling the fun!) head as well.
I'm still a huge fan of whatever Marriott does. Although this represents a change for her, it worked out well. I'd recommend this for people who enjoy urban fantasy, but are tired of reading about the same vampires/werewolves/faeries over and over. I can't wait to see where the series is going next and will certainly pick up the next book when I get a chance!
book from library
We are more than happy to review YA novels, however we prefer either physical copies or e-books via Netgalley or Edelweiss. If you would like us to review a book please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Here is our rating system: One Star - Use as doorstop Two Stars - Bearable while on pain medication Three Stars - Read once, do not repeat Four Stars - Definitely keep it on your shelf Five Stars - Use as altar
So we've decided to join the challenge! This is just a preliminary list, and is definitely subject to change (we'll be doing a lot of adding as books begin to be released in order to get to the 12 we need!). Also, this is no order whatsoever. (if the book is in a color, it means one of us has read it!)
1. The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
2. Human.4 by Mike Lancaster
3. Like Madarin by Kirsten Hubbard
4. The Emerald Atlas by John Stevens
5. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
6. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
7. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
8. Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley
9. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
10. Entwined by Heather Dixon
11. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
12. Possession by Elana Johnson
Fantasy Reading Challenge
1. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 2. The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal 3. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin 4. Sapphique by Catherine Fisher 5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins 6. Glimmerglass by Jenna Black 7. Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce 8. Entice by Carrie Jones 9. Hourglass by Myra McEntire 10. Wither by Lauren DeStefano 11. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr 12. Shadowspell by Jenna Black 13. Matched by Ally Condie 14. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Claire 15. Entwined by Heather Dixon 16. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney 17. Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst 18. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan 19. Possession by Elana Johnson 20. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford 21. So Silver Bright by Lisa Manchev
Welcome to "in BetweeN the pages." This is a little project that we've started and we hope that it will allow us to engage in some lovely book talk. Here's a little about us-
Beth~ I have a feeling that I may have a problem. I adore books. I read whenever I can, and most of the time feel that reading a good book would be a much better use of my time than working on anything else. I'm a recent college graduate with a degree in chemistry and love science! I'm currently living in Finland while doing some research as a Fulbright before embarking on my PhD. Hopefully you will enjoy what I say... but I tend to ramble.
Nathan~ For me, reading is the ultimate escape. A good book is so much better than any therapist can ever be. I am, what many might call, a book addict. It may be wrong, but it feels so right to blow off my homework and sit curled up with a novel. It's the ultimate relaxation. Books have gotten me through school and all the drama that accompanies it. I hope that my humble opinions can help you as you continue your literary adventure.