Tuesday, March 11, 2008

'Tis Swordy...

When the first two pages of a book have to do with rabid animal-types and the cover shows a focused warrior you know that you’ve picked up a sword book. I am perhaps a little obsessed with sword books. These are the novels that have saber/rapier/broadsword/general Drizzt typhonicism. And to add to the brilliant, it was just one element of the first novel in The Twelve Kingdoms series, entitled the Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono.

Thankfully the novel lived up to both cover and sword. Yoko is a somewhat normal Japanese girl (other than that crimson hair), haunted by dreams beyond her comprehension and perfectly satisfied with playing the innocent daughter and gifted schoolmate. But then a strange man arrives, shoves a sword in her hand, touches her foot to his head, and implodes the windows of the teacher’s conference room with a storm of glass shards that leave her hardly scratched. Things will never be the same again.

Yoko finds herself battling it out with demons and transported to a world she doesn’t understand. A world where 12 kingdoms (no. really?) exist that haven’t even heard of Japan and blame the recent destructive storms on Yoko’s arrival. The people appear to speak her language but are decidedly not Japanese in features and want nothing more than to deliver her to the nearest magistrate for a fate worse than death. No one can be trusted. As intrigue builds around our heroine and she seeks out the truth in a universe where children grow on trees, she unknowingly enters into a glorious destiny.

The culture built by Fuyumi Ono is detailed and spun with silver thread into the lore of China and Japan. Impressive fight scenes abound, beautifully described creatures crawl from every page corner, and the heroine develops admirably through the upheaval. Originally written in a manga-like form there is that constant underlying sense of the epic legend, accompanied by fantastic inked drawings that appear every now and again. Happily, the sequel comes out *checks calendar* TOMORROW! If it counts for anything, I am quite eager.

KRRRRRACK! SWHOOM! 6.5 Lightnings out of 7! Cheerz...the sound effects are back!!

I wantz a sword,

*Aella Siofra*

7 comments:

Medeia said...

DRIZZT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bri said...

Oooooo! I love swords/sword fights! That is why Act 3, Scene 1 is my favorite part of Romeo and Juliet. Sorry. We're reading it in Language Arts and it's kinda getting to my head... *SHIING*

Medeia said...

You know, the title of this post reminds me of the beginning of Jabberwocky... twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe....

serafina-zane said...

*drools* pretty cover...pretty colors...

hmmm...sword books are cool, but i somehow drift off during them. i like books about mundaneness and angst and priceless dialouge, but interspliced with werewolves.
i'm one of those people who starts to skim action scenes.
because i am wierd.

anyway....*goes to try and get that book*

serafina-zane said...

also....
WHY IS THERE STILL NO HEADER IMAGE? i see NOTHING.

and Act 3, Scene 1 (assuming that's the whole Mercutio/Romeo/Tybalt deal. finished R+J 2 weeks ago so have forgotten everything) was sort of ruined (or enhanced, depending on how you look at it) by watching classmates re-enact it with lightsabers and real soundtrack.
TYBALT! I AM YOUR...COUSIN IN LAW!

Bri said...

Dude! If Shakespeare and George Lucas joined forces they would be unstoppable!!! He he he he he he. Cousin in law.... funny.

Book Chic said...

I'm like a month too late, but did you know that this was an anime first? I own an episode of it, lol.

Great review!! :)