Genre: Fantasy/Japanese Mythology/Children’s Literature
Length: 286 pages
Back from the UK! Will be posting a few book-related things from my trip soon!
In the meantime, here’s a book I finished just before leaving. A few months ago I posted my thoughts on the design of this book since I thought it nicer than your average hardback. It contains illustrations that give the book a nice touch. Click HERE to check it out!
In the author’s afterword, she says this book has elements of Japanese mythology but is not inspired by any one story from it. This book has two central characters; Saya, who appears to be the reincarnation of the Water Maiden and Chihaya. More on Chihaya further on. The forces of light and darkness have been clashing for years. Saya has been raised to love the light and hate the darkness but now everything she has been taught is put into question when she discovers that as the Water Maiden, she is a child of the Goddess of Darkness. But not everything is as black and white as it sounds. Saya tries to find her place either in the light or darkness after falling in love with a Prince of Light, as the two forces face off for control of the land.
All of the characters, in general, I found to be a bit flat or bland but in a book like this, I feel it centers more on the mythology and how the story unravels. Still, the author helps us get into Saya’s mindset as she struggles to reconcile two parts of herself and find a balance between her conscience and what the god of light demands of her.
Chihaya, a child of Light, is a sort of interesting character not without his flaws. Since he has been closed off from the world he is rather naive and innocent; he doesn’t seem to understand things like deception or aggression or even perceive the world the same as humans do. This makes him rather vulnerable when faced in a world full of it. While some may consider Saya the book’s protagonist, Chihaya plays a pivotal role in the book.
There is a range of secondary characters that give the book some extra flavor; the Prince and Princess of Light, the generals of the forces of Darkness, the old lady full of wisdom and the boy turned crow.
“Like the swift flowing waters, Parted by a rock in midstream, We shall be reunited.”
This was an entertaining read for those who wish to try something different who also enjoy fairy tales. I find I really enjoy Japanese mythology and literature in general and it helps me switch things up in my reading. This book seems to be written for children/YA audience in general but adults can enjoy as well as long as you’re not too critical or overthink this too much. I say this because Saya can get rather annoying sometimes as she is a rather passive character and is not very proactive regarding the circumstances that surround her; for nitpickers, this will annoy you to no end! Haha!
The writing style is rather simple and you can’t be sure if this is due to the translation or simply its the author’s style but it gets its point across.
There’s a bit more to the story but I’ll leave there so I won’t spoil it.
A somewhat light, enjoyable read regarding Japanese Mythology that reads like a fairy tale; not ideal for nitpickers.
3 mortars out of 5