Nightblade represents a whole year spent taking chances on books I’ve never heard of, all with the hopes of finding new authors and hidden gems. Some ..Show More »didn’t turn out that way but most turned out to be excellent and fun choices. Nightblade is truly one of those gems.
Instead of your run of the mill, European based fantasy we are treated to a world with Japanese/Chinese parallels with a very rich history. The land is split into three main Kingdoms, with other nations surrounding that, and each has a tenuous and fragile peace with the other. But our story takes place on a smaller more personal scale. Ryuu isn’t tasked with changing the world or bringing peace to a set of kingdoms, instead he us simply trying to live a life where he can use his strength to protect those without choice or means of doing so themselves…which is refreshing after reading so many books where the main character sets out to utterly dismantle the status quo. I think that difference really brings the raw emotion of the experiences he goes through to the forefront. The kingdom itself is oddly beautiful despite it’s issues and the author’s skill with building worlds is fairly apparent. I could see the busy streets of the city, and the shadow streets of the red lit road where men go for companionship, I could easily picture the old forest and stone paved courtyard of the monasteries. One can go a long time without experiencing world building on a scale where everything becomes an actual sensory memory, as opposed to just a plot line, and I never realize how starved I am until I find one.
Ryuu is definitely a fantastic character to follow, as is Moriko and Takako…who all come together in different ways. Each of them shares the loss of their family and the chance of a normal life but the way the view the world is different. Ryuu is headstrong and curious, and he wants to help others no matter what and most of the story centers around each consequence of his actions and the weight it puts on a single person. While he is skilled and hardened in many ways in some others he is a bit naive, which joins nicely with Takako’s loving personality and her knowledge of what the world is really like.
Nightblade is definitely a highlight to this year’s books, and I’m glad I took a chance on it when I did.
With the brutal torturing of Book 1 not present, Book 2 was better for it. While both Ryuu and Moriko had formed a loving strong bond, it wasn't long ..Show More »before the pending war sent them on different paths to accomplish some critical tasks. The thrust of this book was really focused on Moriko's plight of survival from hypersensory hunters and their more powerful leader, along with her Nightblade capabilities improving along the way. Ryuu, too, improved his capabilities but under less harrowing conditions.
Unfortunately, the story suffered from very predictable battle situations. The opponent(s) were always stronger and/or more numerous than before but somehow, just before the protagonists were to meet their doom, some unknown inner strength propelled them forward to win and live to fight another day. It was like listening to a Naruto anime and I kept imagining hearing "BELIEVE IT!".
Also, the whole method for them leveling up seemed rather thin, some just magically happening by a snap in their consciousness.
Still, the writing and narration was still good enough to maintain my interest.
Enjoyed series but in this book the author made several irrational plot twists that didn't support the flow of the story. Seemed forced at times as th..Show More »ough character development was an afterthought. Having said that, I'd still recommend the series.