Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? Seventeen year old Mariko, the daughter of a distinguished samurai, is to be married to the son of the Emperor’s favorite consort, a man she has never even met. On the way to the palace, she is left for dead when her party is attacked by the infamous Black Clan. Thinking quickly, Mariko disguises herself as a young man and sets out to infiltrate the bandits and discover who ordered her assassination. Mariko trains in the arts of the ninja and finds herself drawn to the inscrutable Otami, the wolf, who possesses powerful, mystical magic. Meanwhile, Mariko’s twin brother Kenshin, the Dragon of Kai, is tracking down the sister with the help of her betrothed. Mariko begins to realize that everything is not as it appears. Especially the Black Clan who seem to be more like Robin Hood’s band than cold-blooded killers. Mariko is soon torn between protecting her brother and the band of young men she has come to trust. Full of action, a strong female protagonist, a touch of magic, ancient history and romance this novel has much to recommend it. Readers will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series starring the Mulan-like Mariko.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? This title would be enjoyed by fans of Eona by Allison Goodman for the combination of ancient Asia and magic. Fans of adventurous novels with strong female heroines such as the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore, the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard will enjoy the mix of romance, adventure and fantasy.
Who should buy this book? Public Libraries and high school libraries
Where would you shelve it? YA fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA
Date of review: 5/21/17