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find this review others on my blog The Kusanagi Peninsula bred warriors, and not just any warriors, but the fiercest that ever were Years of defending the Kaigenese Empire against its foreign enemies earned the province the nickname the Sword of Kaigen , and enshrined it as deeply as any truth whispered to the gods before an altar Fourteen year old Matsuda Mamoru wants to claim his legacy as the son of the most eminent warrior family in the Kusanagi Peninsula, but it is too hot to th find this review others on my blog The Kusanagi Peninsula bred warriors, and not just any warriors, but the fiercest that ever were Years of defending the Kaigenese Empire against its foreign enemies earned the province the nickname the Sword of Kaigen , and enshrined it as deeply as any truth whispered to the gods before an altar Fourteen year old Matsuda Mamoru wants to claim his legacy as the son of the most eminent warrior family in the Kusanagi Peninsula, but it is too hot to the touch Mamoru s friendship with Kwang Chul hee, a new transfer student at the elite Kumono Academy, had forced him to confront uncomfortable truths about the government and the insidious lies they circulate to justify bleeding great gouts of Kaigenese men in never ending wars, so those in power could pull the world s riches to themselves like well dressed spiders in the center of a golden web The questions are something of a snake eating its own tail, and Mamoru could not dig himself out, so he turns to his mother, Misaki, for answers But Misaki who had once been a warrior herself, walking side by side with death, but who gave it all up to seek some mute purgatory where she could live as the wife to the distant and hard hearted Matsuda Takeru could only offer him halting truths.Misaki had left the past behind, like a photograph abandoned on asphalt under an unforgiving sun, but when an attack sends her family careening alone into the fearful darkness, it is as if someone had removed a fuse in her mind Misaki will protect her family and she will not count the cost She had thought she was water that could adjust to fill any container, be as strong in the shape of a mother as a warrior, but in the end, maybe Koli had been right about her She was a knife, a sharp edge, that killed or cut anything it touched It is always a pleasure to find a book you could give yourself up to, that you could curl up inside and let the rest of the world flow around you The kind that leaves you marooned, like a sleepwalker awakened mid dream wondering what exactly you d been doing.The Sword of Kaigen is quite a massive book The sheer volume of backstory provided here amounts to literary whiplash the world of potent gods, undaunted warriors and horrific monsters is brimming with detail and full of different approaches to gender, sexuality, faith, and language In a lesser author s hands, this could easily become potboiler, but Wang plots with the meticulous deliberation of a piano tuner She keeps the dialogue slashing, the prose detailed yet concise, and the action so enthralling my own heart often flied out ahead of me There s also a persistent sensation of dread throughout, a sickening suspicion of where the story might be headed that I didn t dare speak out loud, lest that would make it true.As a result, The Sword of Kaigen speeds by at a quick clip, and for the space of a few hundred pages, everything else in my mind took a step back to clear space for this book I found my eyes reluctant to look anywhere else, and, I kept going, going, going, as if someone were about to snatch it from my hands I read as plot twist after plot twist went off like a shotgun blast in the quiet of my room, and I thought the words should make some kind of sense A text I sent to a friend read please tell me this did not just happen The Sword of Kaigen brims and bubbles with suspense and nonstop, cleverly choreographed action sequences that will have readers on the edge of their seats But some of its most memorable moments occur in stillness, and the reader would come to think of these moments, small and ordinary though they may have seemed, as a harbinger of what was to come The novel is, after all, a source of scalpel sharp insight and unexpected power, and Wang is able to strike at so much of what ails not only her fictional world but also most areas all over the world today The true monsters of The Sword of Kaigen are eerily familiar propaganda, disparity, militarism, and the ways countries can both liberate and dehumanize What sort of a man closed his eyes to the world and called it clarity It s the novel s greatest triumph, however, that its characters seem to carve out their own patterns organically, without being prodded into place by the shape of the story Wang never takes the easy way out she mercilessly tightens the noose on her characters from the very first page, offers them a few outs only to deny them right as they leap to accept, and pummels them until they think they have nothing left to give This drives the plot to stunning moments that had me laughing from somewhere deep inside, and crying, too my tears raging, practically leaping from my eyes in full, fat drops like rain.Crafting a multi voiced novel can trip up even the most seasoned of authors, but Wang succeeds on that front in spades Her characters radiate an extraordinary vitality, and their points of view are raw and sharp by turns Wang is exceptionally good at flipping the reader s perceptions and offering unexpected moments of clarity As the plot tightens, these people tell us who they really are Too often, it is as if we have always seen them from one angle, and now that they have turned, rotated, we are confronted with another facet The fact that the author had me feverishly rooting for characters I spent most of the novel hating with a Casanovian passion is quite the remarkable achievement.Misaki, in particular, is an exquisitely refreshing protagonist Through a series of flashbacks, we witness how her personality had flipped from a sharp, hot tempered teenager to an older, detached, mute facsimile of herself The insolence is gone, that old aggressive glint Misaki had curled into her good wife place like a bird bred in a cage, too dull to fly even when the door stands open But over the course of the novel, she becomes something else entirely a column of red energy, the inside of a coal furnace Misaki grows tired of listening to her husband, tired of the weight of his will crushing her smaller and smaller, tired of minding her place She was a woman not just a body, not just skin and softness, not a toy or a tamable creature.But it s Misaki s relationship to her sons that snagged at me the most Misaki had four children, and for years, she had not seen any of them clearly When she looked she saw only the mirror of her own faults, and she had stood, and watched them recede from her, shrinking to the end of a tunnel The exploration of motherhood is so acute, so candid that we feel the sting of it as as surely as one feels the sting of shards when an hourglass tips off a shelf and smashes How had a soulless block of ice like Takeru and a selfish thing like her , Misaki muses at one point, created something so bright All in all, The Sword of Kaigen is an adventure and a half, and I do not doubt that every single fantasy reader will hungrily devour this novel ko fi blog twitter tumblr 5 Stars Masterpiece The Sword of Kaigen is a masterpiece in standalone fantasy writing and the story and characters are so captivating that the story transcended into an emotional and deeply rooted literary experience I admit I have a real soft spot for well written, plotted and developed fantasy books There s something about the fantasy genre that lifts me from my everyday life and catapults me into pure bliss The Sword of Kaigen represents the BEST that a fantasy book could elicit fro 5 Stars Masterpiece The Sword of Kaigen is a masterpiece in standalone fantasy writing and the story and characters are so captivating that the story transcended into an emotional and deeply rooted literary experience I admit I have a real soft spot for well written, plotted and developed fantasy books There s something about the fantasy genre that lifts me from my everyday life and catapults me into pure bliss The Sword of Kaigen represents the BEST that a fantasy book could elicit from a reader I was so blown away and connected to the story and main character Misaki , that the book left me with tears in many instances Thanks again to super reviewers Petrik and TS for their wonderful review and endorsement of this magic book, otherwise I would have never had the privilege to read it The Sword of Kaigen achieves near nirvana in storytelling, mostly because the characters were so well developed and the story so personal and engaging This wonderfully gifted writer, M.L Wang has my utmost admiration I m used to fantasy demi Gods like Sanderson, GRR Martin, Tolkien, etc Never in a zillion years would I expect a freshman writer to create such a unique and powerful story The story is heavily influenced by old Japanese military culture and battlegrounds, where samurai swords and martial arts played a vital role in combat The Kaigenese empire is fractured and always surrounded by enemies At the snowy mountain of Takayubi at the Kusanagi peninsula, rest the legendary Matsuda family who have protected the empire for generations Known as The Sword of Kaigen , the Matsuda family, along with many other prominent families form an essential role in the defense and history of the empire As story unfolds, we follow the Matsuda family in their everyday life and the perils they face defending the empire The characters are the prized jewels of the narrative, and provide the backbone of this astounding story Misaki s,plight is filled with so much emotion and fluidity, that it s hard to compare a character I felt so connected in recent memory Misaki is so well characterized, she parallels to perhaps, my favorite fantasy character of all times Sanderson s phenomenal Kaladin in the Stormlight series M.L Wang s inspiration carries over to the supporting cast, and Misaki s son Mamoru and the entire Matsuda family are brilliantly portrayedAt its core, The Sword of Kaigen is a story of love between a mother and her son, a story of irreversible loss, a story of redemption from a troubled past, and a story of survival for those you loveM.L Wang s use of magic system is seamless integrated in story, allowing for awe inspiring scenes throughout the book Each cast of families have different magical abilities , that allow the control of snow, wind and fire Their magical abilities create an organic feel to everyday life and the battles For instance, the Matsudas are able to master the Whispering Blade , a sword made of snow that is so pure that it can cut through virtually any object, including steel Awesome I was blown away by the unrelenting,and brilliantly written action scenes M.L Wang s prowess as a writer is in full display during the action scenes I completely agree with other reviewers, that thought the unbelievable battles with sword martial arts and magic, are very similar to Sanderson s brilliant writing The zenith of the narrative comes at the 40% and 70 75% mark , and it will leave you breathless The Sword of Kaigen is a masterpiece in standalone fantasy storytelling The narrative and characters are so powerful and emotionally charged and the M.L Wang s writing is so personal , that I was moved and inspired in the end This is why I love reading 10 Brilliant Stars Holy shit I can t I m having a damn panic attack I m so hyped up on this damn book Someone run over and buy me the paperback This is going on my shelf, I don t just want the kindle I m getting it in July And I missed out on all that swagDamn it all to hell I ve actually had this book on my kindle for awhile but like most things kindle it takes awhile But, when I started out with the book, I couldn t get into it I was on crack apparently but my sweet friend told me to Holy shit I can t I m having a damn panic attack I m so hyped up on this damn book Someone run over and buy me the paperback This is going on my shelf, I don t just want the kindle I m getting it in July And I missed out on all that swagDamn it all to hell I ve actually had this book on my kindle for awhile but like most things kindle it takes awhile But, when I started out with the book, I couldn t get into it I was on crack apparently but my sweet friend told me to push on so I m naming her as a recommendation and I love her for telling me to keep going Anyhoo.I freaking love, Misaki And for the moment, Misaki let herself be thankful for the thing she was After all, a lady wouldn t have been able to slice a man s legs out from under him and then plunge a blade into his mouth when he opened it to scream A mother wouldn t have been able to cut a young woman s head from her shoulders A human being wouldn t have been able to turn from their dismembered corpses without a single pang of guilt Thank the Gods she was a monster Omg Why Omg THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING WENT TO FAVORITES LIST MISAKI IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL You lost your right to my obedience when you stopped being a man Misaki cut him off If you want me to go back to the house, you ll have to fight me I ve stood by too long while you disgraced yourself, but this this is the last time you will be weak in front of me One of us is going to rest here with our son Draw Read the damn book Mel BLOG This Review Blog Twitter InstagramYou learn over time that the world isn t broken It s just gotpieces to it than you thought They all fit together, just maybe not the way you pictured when you were youngI have to agree with the quote above, the pieces of this book fit together perfectly You can t understand the crazy expectations I had for this book and yet it was able to blow me away I have some bold confessions Best Self published book I ever read, Best Fa This Review Blog Twitter InstagramYou learn over time that the world isn t broken It s just gotpieces to it than you thought They all fit together, just maybe not the way you pictured when you were youngI have to agree with the quote above, the pieces of this book fit together perfectly You can t understand the crazy expectations I had for this book and yet it was able to blow me away I have some bold confessions Best Self published book I ever read, Best Fantasy Standalone I ever read and one of the best books I read this year Okay I made them in bold and then realized it became a bad pun for the previous sentence I don t know where to start with this one, it was just perfect in all aspects as if it was written and tailored to my taste But I love that almost everyone who read it gave it 5 stars 4 if not 5 and I have to agree with my friend Petrik that it is a master piece The writing was so good, it was so atmospherical and I felt that I was part of that word There were a lot of quotes I like and the book uses dialogues to touch upon very important, very sensitive subjects It took me a few pages to get used to the Japanese terms and the glossary surely helped But after those few pages that I invested some time in, it was like winning the million dollar lottery The book is unputdownable I am writing this and I am suddenly in the mood to reread it soon The characters are some of the best characters I read at all They were so well written and so fleshed out, I could relate to them and I loved them and I mourned them and I can t stop thinking about them I think the author was smart because the book had 2 POVs, one of the characters was a young kid and the other was his mother and I am assuring you that this worked a 1000% positively for the book But the great thing about the characters is that I even cared about the secondary ones and I can still picture them all in the village in my mindA life of dangerous adventures might seem worth it now, when you are young and seemingly invincible, but one day, you will have children, and you will not want that life for themThe world building is amazing, I saw many people comparing this to Avatar the air binder and I can see why given the magic system but I also think it is not a fair comparison because this was a bitmature due to delving into the war and the tragedies it entails But if you love Avatar, then I am pretty sure you will love this one The Plot is just so clever and so well thought the synopsis sounds good but the book is actually better This book has lots of action, and I like to think of it as 3 thirds, the first third is an introduction and setting the world and preparation for everything The second third is where most of the action and War take place and it may be my fav action scenes in all the books I ever read The last third is like an epilogue but at the same time it had a scene I really dreamt of having in the book and I was so happy it was there in this part The pacing was so well done that I was glued to the book the whole time I also loved how the book discussed very important things without feeling it tried so hard to do so, or without feeling like there were checkboxes it needed to have The author genuinely approaches topics such as family and martial arts and feminism and racism The thing that still blows my mind is that she did this by herself, It was better than 90% of the traditionally published books I have read so Wang just raised the bar of self publishing and she just destroyed the stereotype that self published books are bad The book even had its maps, glossary, characters list, and chapter headerI ve never needed a sword to protect you to raise you the way your father wanted Caring for my family meant putting away the fighter, so I didSummary and Prescription If you are a fantasy fan then do yourself a favor and read this book Petrik picked this as his book for my 10 bloggers, 10 recommendations challenge Thanks a million Petrik You can getbooks from Book Depository [ FREE BOOK ] ♗ The Sword of Kaigen ⚕ 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 allWhen 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 liesMisaki 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 Congratulations to M.L Wang The Sword of Kaigen is the SPFBO champion for 2019 with the joint highest score in the contest s 5 year history from 1,500 books I ll be reading it soon.Find outhere Congratulations to M.L Wang The Sword of Kaigen is the SPFBO champion for 2019 with the joint highest score in the contest s 5 year history from 1,500 books I ll be reading it soon.Find outhere Simply phenomenal A true masterpiece The Sword of Kaigen is a stunning achievement of empathetic and masterful storytelling.Every once in a while, a book comes along that sinks its hooks and claws into your very soul It transcends beyond what a 5 star book usually means to me It is a book that I will plead, beg and maybe even force everyone to read, so that they can experience the same awe and emotions as I did Thus far, I have not gone down the road of awarding 6 stars to some of my favou Simply phenomenal A true masterpiece The Sword of Kaigen is a stunning achievement of empathetic and masterful storytelling.Every once in a while, a book comes along that sinks its hooks and claws into your very soul It transcends beyond what a 5 star book usually means to me It is a book that I will plead, beg and maybe even force everyone to read, so that they can experience the same awe and emotions as I did Thus far, I have not gone down the road of awarding 6 stars to some of my favourites, but there are several that I could easily place in that category Namely The Stormlight Archive, a few titles from Malazan Book of the Fallen, and Heir of Novron, the final omnibus of The Riyria Revelations Now, this extraordinary stand alone fantasy novel, which is a rarity in itself, has earned itself a well deserved spot among these masterpieces.The Sword of Kaigen is the most well balanced stand alone fantasy book that I ve had the pleasure of reading From its convincing worldbuilding and awe inspiring elemental magic system to the spectacular action scenes and intensely emotional moments, and most of all, its stellar character development Throughout the entire novel, there was not one moment which did not matter, and a palpable tension permeated every turn of the page.The world was heavily inspired by our Far Eastern cultures and its people The Kaigenese are reminiscent of the Japanese and the Ranganese the Chinese A lot of new and unfamiliar terms, such as those used to describe time, length, clothes, social classes and honorifics, did result in a rather steep learning curve at the beginning Fortunately, there is a detailed glossary available with the book, and after reading several chapters, context helped to enhance the understanding of these strange words I do not know much Japanese, but I have an inkling that a lot of these words are derived in some form or another from this language A lot of care and attention to detail evidently went into creating a world that was entirely new and yet felt familiar and believable.I will not elaborate on the plot as the book s synopsis did a great job of revealing just enough without any spoilers Misaki is the only daughter of a well standing and powerful family who had to turn her back from her exciting life of adventure and the man she loved when she married the second son of the Matsudas, one of the formidable old warrior houses whose bloodline wields the legendary Whispering Blade Such a union of powerful families through arranged marriages was a tradition observed to maintain the lineage of the bloodline Wives are expected to bear as many sons as possible for their husbands or are deemed a failure The treatment of women as portrayed in The Sword of Kaigen was a brutal reality in our Far Eastern patriarchal societies While advancement and progress have decreased the extent of such gender discrimination, it still exists in thetraditional and prominent families who treasure the continuation of their lineage above all else.It was entirely by chance that I ended up finishing this book on International Women s Day This book, which honoured the strength and courage of women, and their capacity for sacrificing all for the ones they love, could not have come at a better time I have either too many words or not enough to describe the characterisation of Misaki As an Asian woman, the distinctive cultural sensibilities in Kaigen, and Misaki s inner turmoil as she teetered between resistance and submission, resonated like a windchime The empathy and strength of her character made for one of the most enthralling and relatable portrayals of a woman that I ve come across Undoubtedly, Misaki is now one of my favourite female characters of all time, if not the favourite She had taken every hardship like a stroke of a hammer, turning it into strength No character, regardless of how well written, can stand on his or her own What made The Sword of Kaigen spectacular was that the author gave even the supporting characters equally masterful strokes This enhanced my level of emotional investment which made the story so intense and gripping.I had high expectations when my co reviewer mentioned that the action and magic battle sequences were Sanderson worthy I was far from being disappointed, and was gifted with two exceptionally memorable scenes Barely halfway into the book, the power of the gods made manifest in humans clashed in a devastating battle of wind and ice Sometimes action scenes in fantasy can be written with either just a bit too much of a technical or abstract quality that I find it hard to picture the actual fighting In The Sword of Kaigen, this was astoundingly well written and with such clarity and simplicity that I could see and feel everything that happened I could feel the force of the wind crushing the air out from my chest, and the sharpness of ice piercing the armour of my soul The unrelenting power of destruction rained upon the civilians, defenseless in its wake The vivid imagery of the forces of nature wielded by men and women of superlative skills, battling for supremacy The vicious desperation of a lone mother protecting her family As the madness of war abated, I could see the hauntingly blank faces of survivors grappling with loss and grief The poignancy in the evocative contrast of snow and blood amid the peaceful yet ghastly aftermath of violence and death dark red essence of life against the purity of white.Then came one of the most breathtaking scenes that I have ever read From each of the little or not so little moments that have transpired, and from each flicker or flare of emotions, culminated an intense scene of such ferocity and strength of will that it belied how small it was on an absolute scale The sheer intimacy of this fight, fueled by anguish and anger suffered in silence for years, overwhelmed me in an emotional hurricane of ice and snow My already crumbling armour shattered into a million pieces.What followed after that was a beautifully written and lovingly crafted closure to Misaki s story I appreciated that the author took the time to draw out the ending in what I felt to be a fitting send off for these characters in whom I ve grown so invested I cannot imagine saying goodbye so quickly after that emotionally powerful scene I needed to see better times ahead for these people, who after so many years of harbouring pain and loneliness, have finally found hope Sword of Kaigen was for me a love story, or to beexact a story about love It was about the love of a mother for her children, the love between a man and a woman, the love between siblings, family and friends, and the love for one s home and its people It was about being a bigger person than you thought possible to protect what you love, no matter the costs And to let go when you had to, no matter how hard In Misaki, it was ultimately about a woman s capacity to love and forgive, and in doing so, achieving wholeness Maybe this was the how Robin had been looking for, the simple magic by which she held herself together Love for what she had and what was gone Love no matter the pain I can t praise this book and its author, M.L Wang, enough I also can t believe that I ve not even heard of her before This exceptional book only proved that the fantasy genre has once again been blessed with the emergence of a brilliant young talent.Do I need to elaborate any further on how amazing The Sword of Kaigen is Run, don t walk, to get this book and read it Now You can thank me laterYou can order this book fromUSUK Book Depository Free shipping worldwide You can also find this, and my other reviews at Novel Notions. We are the Sword of Kaigen If we ve let it rust, then we deserve to die on it, along with our enemiesIt is 3 27 AM and I finished reading the book There are 73 people among my friends who want to read it too If you are one of them, do this today If you are not do it anyway.I don t think enjoyment is an apt word to describe my experience with The Sword of Kaigen It took me a while to compose this review because even now I do not know how to put together a coherent sentence that could poWe are the Sword of Kaigen If we ve let it rust, then we deserve to die on it, along with our enemiesIt is 3 27 AM and I finished reading the book There are 73 people among my friends who want to read it too If you are one of them, do this today If you are not do it anyway.I don t think enjoyment is an apt word to describe my experience with The Sword of Kaigen It took me a while to compose this review because even now I do not know how to put together a coherent sentence that could portray the sheer magnificence of this book especially that I most definitely do not possess an ounce of Ms Wang s stupendous writing talent This book appeared out of nowhere, grabbed me by the throat and then shattered me only to rebuild me in a new shape I cannot remember last time that a book shook me out of my complacency and annihilated the ironic subconscious voice that offers snark comments whenever I read to leave me both awed and grateful The Broken Earth maybe But I m not sure.The main idea is persuasive, yet deceptively simple and relies on a universe where humans have supernatural powers relying on natural elements air, water or earth Some humans that is, roughly those inhabiting lands modelled after what we call South East Asia in our world, with the derivatives of Japan Kaigen and China Ranga being at the focal point we, the Westerners are weak and backward peoples worth only some pity in the best case, with no magic or civilisation to our name More specifically, the story unfolds in a remote and obscure corner of Kaigen, seemingly backward village, neglected and forgotten, keeping to the traditional ways and values of a warrior culture that are no longer respected or remembered elsewhere in Kaigen Indeed, the Empire seems to be bent on denigrating the way of life they represent while the enemy is closer than anyone thinks But the overall settings and the high politics serve only as a backdrop for harrowing individual stories with the members on one particular family a father, a mother, and a son, at the fulcrum of the tale The Matsudas don t cut corners and they are the epitome of their culture And what a difficult culture it is A culture of austerity, of perfection, of denial Of silences measured in years and weighted in ice mountains You can already see that this persuasive, yet deceptively simple design I mentioned is rendered into a masterpiece thanks to the sublime and complex characterisation of each of the protagonists Misaki s unflinching ferocity, Mamoru s heart breaking stubbornness, Takeru s pertinacious skill are a mixture of virtues that are flaws and blessings at the same time I hated Takeru but was forced to respect him for his principles and deadly skills My heart cried for Misaki but I had to grudgingly acknowledge the darkness inside her I loved Mamoru knowing that my love is doomed from the onset They were all both alien and relatable at the same time, and always, always surprising until the very end of the story As they breathed and bled on the pages, I breathed and bled as I read.While the relatively modest scope of this harrowing tale might sound discouraging, do not be deceived as The Sword of Kaigen is a novel of rare density and potency The pacing is relentless in spite of retrospective flashes The chapters are short but well crafted and with a superbly balanced description to reflection to action ratio Regarding the latter, I simply must note that since Ms Wang is a martial art practitioner herself, she means business when she writes fighting sequences These are simply phenomenal, take my word for it I normally tend to skim through battle scenes because I don t find them that interesting since they habitually serve the authors as mere tools for plot advancement In The Sword of Kaigen these scenes are a form of art And the best thing about The Sword of Kaigen is that to achieve all of the above the Author does not need a ten instalment long series sprawling over thousands of pages and millions of words No, it takes her one modest novel Which of course meant, that immediately upon finishing I longed for tenbooks like this to exist in readiness to be devoured by me before you check there are not.As a final word of caution, please be prepared for the fact that especially at the beginning of the book you might have the impression that English is peppered with numerous words you will probably not know or understand unless you are a manga pro In my case, this somewhat lessened my reading experience There is a glossary at the end of the book but a I hate when these things are at the end instead of the beginning so I can at least familiarise myself with the terms b a book is written in such a way that the reader essentially needs to check every second word I m all OK for introducing specific terms and names like in Inda for instance but it must be done intuitively or gradually to give the reader a chance to internalise the meanings Having said this, by chapter 7 I was comfortable with the narrative but I can see some readers being dissuaded and frustrated.What else to say I kept reading until small hours of the night and then I couldn t sleep for a reminder of it This book is everything you need to read this year It deserves words of the highest praise and as wide a readership as possible Please make it happen PS The end of the world is coming, I loved the same book that Petrik did he agrees PS 2 Thank you for reading In case you do not know me my average GR rating is 3.4 and I really do hoard and guard my 5 starers withalertness than a paranoic dragoness could wish for I do not hand those away like candies When I reluctantly do so, it counts, it matters and it is supposed to mean something A book I read for SPFBO as a judge and which I quickly fell for as a fan Trigger warning Rape, Abuses of various kinds, Violence, extreme War Onto the full review This is a story set in an icy landscape on a mountainside The book draws heavily on Asian culture and there are many parallels with Japanese training and family structures, and this is something I think has been done very well For a frozen mountain at the end of the Empire this spit of land is home to some of the most prolific A book I read for SPFBO as a judge and which I quickly fell for as a fan Trigger warning Rape, Abuses of various kinds, Violence, extreme War Onto the full review This is a story set in an icy landscape on a mountainside The book draws heavily on Asian culture and there are many parallels with Japanese training and family structures, and this is something I think has been done very well For a frozen mountain at the end of the Empire this spit of land is home to some of the most prolific and highly qualified fighters out there, including the MatsudasWe follow two main characters in this book, Mamoru and Misaki Mamoru is Misaki s son, and he is the first born Matsuda of the new generation He is brilliant from birth, and there are heavy expectations placed on him by his family to master thier family skill, The Whispering Blade, and exceed all expectations He is young when we meet him, still in school and learning fast, but he is also creative and clever He s been fairly sheltered by the location he has grown up in, but he values his friends and family highly and his honour too.Misaki is a woman who holds a lot of regret when we meet her Her story is sad as she was once a great hero and now she is reduced to living with a man she s not sure she can love and loathing the life she has She s not sure how she managed to let things get as bad as they are, but she knows she needs a shakeup and when her some Mamoru finally asks for her help she sees an opening to soften herself to him.What I love about these two characters is that the author is not afraid to put them out there in all kinds of ways There are emotional and heartfelt moments and also many moments of sheer brilliance It s not even just these characters who shine from the page, it s all of the characters within the book They all have a life and a sense of reality to them which makes them feel genuine when you read.The fighting in this book was insanely good I hate fight scenes usually but when they are fighting with magical blood powers and ice swords it makes things way cooler I also think ML Wang has a very good way with words when it comes to fight scenes and the way that she portrayed the characters when fighting allowed me a visual image I do not usually get.The magic of this world comes from the family houses and their inherited powers Some families are highly regarded in the society as historically they have defended the Empire from its enemies and they also have a strong power There s a lot of different types of magic in this world but the two we become most familiar with are the Matsuda ice and the blood magic of Misaki These two powers were cool enough on their own, but there are others which are hinted at and discussed such as heat magic andThe break up of this world is interesting as there is an old world feeling to this area where the Sword of Kaigen sits and the people we follow live, but there is new technology and travel between areas We follow an exchange student who joins and bring with him info towers and news of the outside world which is most unwelcome to those that live on the frozen peninsula and mountain This divide is a key part of the plot and it s almost self inflicted at times, but it s fascinating to learnabout.There is a very interesting economic scene within the book which I feel is worth mentioning as it s something you do not often see in detail, rebuilding This moment touched me as it was somethingthan just a dramatic scene in a book, it was based on reality that people face when they have a tragedy There is much trauma within the story, but there are also practical and realistic solutions alongside the magic and I appreciated this Finally, I think that this book has it all Great characters, amazing fight scenes and loads of action, heartfelt moments, awesome magic and mayhem, and culture that is inspired by some of my favourite parts of the world A brilliant book which is so SO worth a read and I have to say I recommend it very very highly I wish there was , and I will certainly have to read the series this one is a prequel for 4.75 s which is 9.5 10 for SPFBO The Sword of Kaigen delivers the kind of fantasy you did not know you needed, and leaves you wantingIf it s not on your BEST OF 2019 list, you must not have read it yet THIS BOOK It is the surprise of the year for me, up to now It should not have been Petrik did tell me to read it TS loved it too All my other friends who have read it since have loved it And yet it still surprised me with it s AWESOMENESS I should have read it sooner, but you know how it is sometimes books just g The Sword of Kaigen delivers the kind of fantasy you did not know you needed, and leaves you wantingIf it s not on your BEST OF 2019 list, you must not have read it yet THIS BOOK It is the surprise of the year for me, up to now It should not have been Petrik did tell me to read it TS loved it too All my other friends who have read it since have loved it And yet it still surprised me with it s AWESOMENESS I should have read it sooner, but you know how it is sometimes books just get lost on the mountainous elephant that is your TBR list So having just finished a book, there I was on Twitter, browsing around when the book cover popped up Why not I thought, making a spur of the moment decision right there to jump the list and read The Sword of Kaigen next I am so smart sometimeshigh fives self and makes a mental note to reward self with a new bookThe blurbs do a pretty good job of explaining the basic premise, so let s not taint them with my ramblings, other than to say JAPANESE MILITARY FANTASY JAW DROPPING ELEMENTAL MAGIC DEVASTATING BATTLES SCINTILLATING SWORD FIGHTS Got your attention Great Now forget those things, because while all those things are present, there is another something which elevates this book to magical That something else is the thing that many of us readers cannot do without, and it makes or breaks a book Compelling characterization ML wang has written characters with such depth and humanity, that had the plot completely flown out of the window, I might not even have noticed, so engrossed was I And there are a bevy to choose from I mean, we have Mamoru And Takeru And Takashi And Setsuko And you have no idea who I am shouting about Ok, let s backtrack slightly the book takes us to a place called Takayabi whose inhabitants have for centuries been responsible for protecting their small corner of the Kaiganese empire from its enemies While this is no small task, the warriors are exceptional unrivalled in their fighting expertise and also wielders of deadly elemental magic, they are a force not to be trifled with At the head of this village, stands the Matsudas, of whom Misaki and Mamoru Matsuda are the two main characters we follow This noble house is well known for being without peers in terms of sword fighting, and their almost mythical bloodline technique called the Whispering Blade is a legend all on it s own As young Mamoru, son of Takeru Misaki Matsuda grows up in this peaceful and isolated place, learning to fight and master The Whispering Blade, he tries to figure out his place in the world Takayabi is steeped in lore and tradition, and there are very clear expectations of him But his foundations are rocked to the core when he meets an outsider and the possibility comes to light that much of what he believes may be a lieYou learn over time that the world isn t broken It s just gotpieces to it than you thought They all fit together, just maybe not the way you pictured when you were young The path Mamoru follows as he grows and learns is a joy to behold, and the way the author has written it is something else that elevates the story Often times we are told to believe that characters have evolved from a to b, without having spent the time or effort validating the change for us readers, but here it is not the case, and character arcs are well thought out and believable There is a particular character I loathed throughout If you have read the book you are in no doubt as to whom I am referring He inspired many a stabby thought The word irredeemable might not be strong enough, and yet I was shocked to be proven wrongslow clap The most significant example of the sublime characterization is reserved for Mamoru s mother Misaki, the outright star of the show She is a housewife, bound by tradition and duty to play the role she has been assigned Obedient, subservient, loyal She is so muchthough The ways she has grown from what we get to see of her in the past to present, the choices she has made Misaki is probably one of the best female characters I have ever had the pleasure to encounter on the page To say nothingmay be a huge injustice to the complex characterization captured, but it is also a huge favour to you future reader, for I would prefer you to experience this masterful portrayal for yourself Misaki by Coralie Jubenot merwild While the characters are the lifeblood of this story, that s not to say that this fascinating world Wang has built lacks for anything I know almost nothing about Japanese culture, their way of life, as I have had little exposure to any of it apart from my love of martial arts, but this little microcosm of an age gone by mixed with a fantastical world is just another added element that helped to cast a spell on me The only thing I struggled with slightly was learning all the unfamiliar foreign words used throughout the book I did not realise that there was a handy glossary in the back until a friend mentioned it, and by that point I was a fair way through the book already The glossary made it easier, but it was a mission going back and forth on the Kindle I have since learned that there is a downloadable pdf on the author s website, so rather grab that if you can Eventually though, I did learn most of the words and and was able to read without worrying if I was missing something, adding just another level of immersion for the eastern setting And even with the learning curve it felt like I had barely picked the book up before story had transported me, bringing that magical whoomph of a rush that you get when a story just whisks you away You re with me, right One minute you re getting a feel for it, yes, this is fascinating and entertaining and how did we end up here, this is the ending, WHEN DID THIS GET SO AMAZING Woah Did ML WANG just get a new fan Yes, yes she DID Takeru by Coralie Jubenot merwild Lastly, it would be very remiss of me to forget to mention the explosive action sequences filled with exhilarating and creative elemental magic, the breathtaking duels and the cutthroat sword fighting that makes up much of the action packed second half of the book And when the dust settles and the frantic drumbeat of your skewered heart wanes, the story eases you into a denouement that fittingly takes it s time in assuring you of the final outcome, the future ahead and the power of empathy Take a bow dear author, for you are a storyteller, and The Sword of Kaigen is a tale, beautifully told