One tries one’s best: ABNA semi-final review

ABNA Publishers Weekly Reviewer
The destinies of three youths are entwined in this enchanting tale set in a mythical Japan filled with dragons, magic, and ceremony. The Prydain boy Bran has just finished his secondary education and is unsure of his future. In the land of Yamato, Sato is a girl warrior prodigy hoping to inherit her father’s land rather than be married off. Sato’s friend Nagomi, training to be a priestess, is haunted by a disturbing vision of dragons and destruction that she must keep secret. With descriptions like a character who “sang a droning chant and clapped her hands in a slow deliberate rhythm, the tiny brass bells around her wrists ringing in unison,” this manuscript is full of highly crafted detail that will make readers shiver at times with fear and delight. The multiple points of view create a sense of vastness that is felt keenly in this story about characters from opposite hemispheres whose fates come together. However, a host of other points of view pop up throughout the novel, muddling the characters established in the beginning of the story. Yet with prophecy and destiny, young heroines and Japanese poetry, this novel is a familiar yet highly original fantasy that is a worthwhile read.

One thing I’m slightly disappointed with is the length. I was hoping the semi-final review would be a tad longer. But I can’t complain about the rest. The multiple PoVs will be the make-or-break of this book and it’s a gamble I’m prepared to make. If that works, everything else should as well.


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