Started: April 24, 2017
Finished: April 29, 2017
Rating: 4/5 stars
“As she grew from a curious child into an even more curious young woman, the word she most often overheard at her back was odd. Much too odd. Far too prone to asking questions. Far too apt to linger in places she wasn’t meant to be.”
I received a copy of this through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This. This was probably the best ARC I’ve received from NetGalley in a long, long time – and I’m still in shock that I got to read it earlier than I’d planned.
This story is a loose retelling of Mulan, set in feudal Japan. The main character, Mariko, is the daughter of a samurai, the sister of the legendary Dragon of Kai and betrothed to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the Emperor’s favorite consort. En route to the capital, Mariko’s escort is ambushed and she is the only one to escape. Having overheard some of the mercenaries she believes the attack was conducted by the Black Clan – a gang of bandits living somewhere near where she was attacked – and in order to find out the truth she disguises herself as a boy and infiltrates the clan. Soon Mariko realizes that things are not exactly as they seem – and what she once thought was the truth is a mere mirage.
To be fair, even though I knew this would be set in a Japan-inspired country upon starting this I would have liked to see it set in China. The legend of Hua Mulan is, after all, Chinese and we seriously do not have enough YA books set in China – and before you ask, China and Japan are as different as England and France, so one does not replace the other.
Still, I found myself loving this story. Bits and pieces were a bit predictable and sometimes felt rushed, but the majority of the story was amazing. The ending blew my mind – I had not expected that twist – and I am now very, very excited for the next book. Even though that one doesn’t even have a release date.