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.
Wow! Just wow! It has been weeks since I last finished a book this fast again because I am currently busy as a student; thus, it made me happy I was able to read this book in three days only. I love almost everything about this book.
Narration, and writing. The story was narrated through Misaki and Mamoru, her son. The story was not boring to read, and the pacing was also not too slow or too fast. What I love in M.L. Wang’s writing is how she makes you invested in each character while also experiencing what they have been into. Her way of narrating the story will also let you feel those intense action scenes.
World-building and plot. All I can say is perfect! I love reading about their world, their traditions, their customs, the histories of each family, their clothing, the different languages, and the magic systems. SOK let me feels as if I’m transported in the past in a parallel world where the people resemble that of Japanese traditions and customs and other Eastern Asian countries. It also has this vibe as if I’m in an ancient place, and it helped me vividly imagine each place in the story. It combined the different elements of the story very well.
Characters. We have a very diverse, unique, and well-written characters here. I like the development they had from the start and how they grow and change until the end. Of all the characters, it is Misaki that I’m most interested in. She intrigued me from the start, and I’ve been thinking of different hypotheses of what her past was like and especially, who was she before she became the wife of the second son in Matsuda family and a mother of four sons.
Action Scenes. I love how the author writes each action scenes in this story. She described it very well, and I don’t know if it is only me, but sometimes, I feel like I want to do those actions too. I want to imagine myself in those breathtaking and heartstopping duels and fighting.
Overall, The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang is one of the outstanding and magnificent fantasy novels that I’ve read this year! It was very emotionally moving and inspiring. I am really recommending this book! And oh, don’t forget to have the glossary ready when you read this.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy from Karina of AfirePages.
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
M. L. Wang was born in Wisconsin in 1992, decided she wanted to be an author at the age of nine, and never grew up. She received her Bachelor of Arts in history from Knox College in 2015 and currently splits her time between writing and working at a martial arts school in her home city of Madison.