Kindle Edition, 559 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by M.L. Wang
Literary Awards: BookNest Award Nominee for Best Self-Published Novel (2019), SPFBO Award for Best Fantasy Book (2019)
A mother struggling to repress her violent past,
A son struggling to grasp his violent future,
A father blind to the danger that threatens them all.
When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?
High on a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire’s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name ‘The Sword of Kaigen.’
Born into Kusanagi’s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.
Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface.
This book was a epic fantasy masterpiece. Heartbreakingly beautiful. I cried, I laughed, I even cheered these characters throughout the story. I fell in love with this world, and the unique magic wielded. The world-building was fantastic, and all of the characters uniquely developed creating an immersive reading experience. The story was brought to life around me I could feel the cold radiating from Takeru. Enjoy the warmth that was all Robin. This story was absolutely brilliant, and I do hope the author decides to revisit this world again. There are so many more stories that I want to hear.
Misaki is a character that I actually did not like much in the beginning. I could not understand, as a mother, her almost complete indifference toward her children. The lack of feeling love for them or any compassion was a foreign concept to me. I began to soften my feelings toward her towards the middle of the book and by a third of the way through I was absolutely loving her character.
Mamoru, Misaki’s first born son, was an amazing character that I felt such compassion and sadness for. A father who was too harsh and hard on him. A mother that showed no real love for him. How does one grow the way a child needs to grow to be a real man if they are not loved and directed properly. His story was the most heartbreaking for me, because I can not imagine not showing my children how much I love them on a daily basis.
Takeru, Mikasi’s husband, what to say about him other than I hated him in the beginning. I actually wished something bad would happen to him to take him out of the picture. He was harsh and cold to Misaki and their children. Never showing any love or tenderness towards his wife. Using her as a breeder, giving him child after child, and nothing more than that. It was utterly despicable to read. I was beside myself with how Misaki was being treated. Luckily, the tides turned a little later on in the book. Without giving to much away I was definitely glad I hung in there to the end.
I read this as a standalone, seeing as the other continuation of the story was discontinued. This can definitely be read as a standalone only and it is full and resolved and satisfying. I just want more, more, and more. This world is amazing and I absolutely adore these characters.