Thursday, June 13, 2013


by Keith Yatsuhashi

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.” 

Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession--that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honor her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the gods.

*** 1/2
3 1/2 stars

I'm a fan of anything Japanese lately so when I was able to get a copy of this book to review I jumped all over it. I don't think there has been a book that had me liking so many things but feeling like I was gearing up for battle to read it. I liked the book a lot, but it took me about half the book before I entered my reading zone.

There is a ton of different characters and I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and what role everyone played in the beginning. The book is told from all these different point of views, which is something I normally love, but this time it made it harder for me to grasp what was going on. For the first half of the book I was really confused, and kept feeling like I missed some important piece of information somewhere. But as everything progressed and I started to get a feel for everyone it became much easier to follow. 

I really loved the way the different gods where portrayed. I'm in no way an expert when it comes to Japanese culture so I can't really judge on that front, but to me it seemed like it was being put across as correct, and I guess that is all that really matters.

I do have to say that putting Japanese words in might not have been the best of ideas. Because I watch anime almost as much as I read I was able to know what words meant what most of the time, and the few times I didn't and tried to look them up with my kindle I didn't get the meaning so it got frustrating.

The plot itself started of confusing but started to make more and more sense the farther into the book you got. When it was all said and done I was very satisfied with the ending and how everything pulled together. There wasn't any lose endings dangling around all my questions where answered. 

Would I recommend this book? Yes and maybe. Yes to people the enjoy Japanese culture and maybe to people that aren't very interested in it.

On a side note. . . I would suggest to the author to put a glossary in somewhere. Most of the Japanese words used are the same through out the entire book so having the meanings somewhere would be really helpful. Also a match of god and guardian would have been really helpful as well.

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