FINALLY! I know, I know — this book has sat on my TBR shelf for almost an entire year. I tried and tried again to start this book but, honestly, I just wasn’t in the mood for it. And this is a book you totally need to be in the mood for – if you’re not, the initial pacing might drive you a little mad.
It is a wee bit slow to start, but that’s because Mr. Kristoff has to set up one HELL of a world. I mean…how many books have you read that are a fantasy-steampunk set in a warring Japanese shogunate empire? I can’t think of any. And, yes, the world is rich, well thought out, and cohesive. But what really makes this book work — what’s really the true glue that holds this novel together: the characters.
Yukiko is one HELL of a strong protagonist. Tough as hell, but still vulnerable; brave as all get out, but still cautious and wary; and so desperate in her determination to live that it’s sheer will that is beyond admirable…it’s fucking awe-inspiring. And then we have Buruu, the arashitora whom Yukiko captures, saves, and then befriends. Their relationship is the very best part of this series. ALSO Buruu is literally the only thing I would want more than a dragon…and we know how much I love dragons. I’m just sayin’…
By the time you think you’re ready to put this book down, you’re suddenly not able to. Also, I highly recommend listening to the GHOST IN THE SHELL film soundtracks by Kenji Kawai while reading. It’s astonishingly good mood music.