Publisher: Smith Publicity
Publishing Date: July 2013
Publishers Description: When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”
This novel was well received by most reviewers on Goodreads. Pretty trippin’ fantasy novel with an Asian theme. Dragons, guardians, elemental Gods, etc. round out a great story-line and well crafted character development. In a short span of reading, your drawn in through the action and sympathetic to the characters.
While some reviewers thought the subject matter was “too heavy” (as opposed to too light?), what they may have meant was that there may have been too many tangents to the main story line. The author gives a little background on those prior relationships, which I think is just enough to develop your understanding and current placement of the characters in the story. Does it enhance the novel? Maybe. I am in between detraction and enhancement on that one.
While Keiko should annoy the crap out of me, I find that she is just the right amount of incredulous, blended with a growing acceptance of her role in the weakening of the Boundary. As the story grows, so does her inner strength and subsequent abilities. The author is careful not to retro or incapacitate her emotional/physical abilities like a lot of authors do. When authors periodically weaken the main characters through second guessing, emotional frailties or loss of physical/magical ability, it creates a frustrating scenario for the reader. Those author’s goals are to draw you in to the character, and root for the home team, so to speak. This is a failed formula that is too often repeated in novel after novel, especially the Fantasy genre.
This author is a great find. Powerful (and short) scene descriptive really helps the reader to visualize the story as it unfolds, with practiced ease. As you learn the authors style, you no longer read the words but live the dream. There are some scene developments that you just can’t visualize, as the authors intent is not discernible. A little frustrating, as you have to conjure your own imaginative depictions. I love the cover art, as in clouds you find the answers to life.
My recommendation is to buy it if you like heavy duty Fantasy, coupled with non-stop action. If you like prancing unicorns on quests to find the fabled One Tree of Flagicornia, then this novel is not for you.