Author: Zoe Marriott
Synopsis: When fifteen year old Mio steals the katana – her grandfather’s priceless sword – she just wants to liven up a fancy dress costume. But the katana is more than a dusty heirloom, and her actions unleash an ancient evil onto the streets of modern-day London. Mio is soon stalked by the terrors of mythical Japan and it is only the appearance of a mysteriously familiar warrior boy that saves her life. Mio must learn to control the katana’s powers fast or she risks losing not only her own life….but the love of a lifetime.
My Rating: 4 Stars
My Review: I found this book by chance in my local library, and since I was looking for something new to read, and since both this book and its sequel ( Darkness Hidden) were both on the shelf, I decided to take a chance on a new book and read them. The first book was devoured within two days.
Basically the plot is this: The main character Mio (a typical YA heroine at first glance) has been having dreams almost her whole life, dreams which have her jolting upright in the middle of the night. These dreams have been inrelatively infrequent, up until she’s nearing her 16th birthday, which is where the main part of the story takes place.
Despite past warnings from her deceased grandfather to leave the katana where it is until her sixteenth birthday, Mio steals the sword to use as a costume prop. Stealing the katana releases a five-hundred year old extremely charming warrior boy called Shinobu (insta-love alert!) but also unfortunately attracts the attention of a mythical nine-tailed demon-cat who happens to drink human blood. Ew. That’s one kitty I wouldn’t want to adopt.
With the help of Mio’s best friend Jack ( lesbian character! Yay!) and a kitsune – a fox spirit to you and me – called Hikaru, Mio and Shinobu try to save themselves and all of London from this evil kitty. It’s the perfect story if you like books such as the Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
Protagonists: Mio is a likeable enough character, although like the majority of YA heroines, she doesn’t listen to any important warnings or details until it’s too late. I’m mainly indifferent in regards to her, but Shinobu on the other hand…. From the get go I was totally head over heels for him. Fictional boyfriends are the best. Shinobu is polite, and a gentleman, and he doesn’t tell Mio that she isn’t allowed to do anything or that he isn’t good for her ( looking at you, Edward Cullen!). Jack was by far my favourite character though – she wasn’t just a supporting character, she fought just as hard as Mio or Shinobu, and I love her style and her straight-forward way of speaking.
Antagonists: The Nekomata – evil demon kitty – was bad, but really not enough to get me interested, to be honest. It wasn’t the kind of antagonist that you can really despise ( *cough* Umbridge *cough*). However, the Nekomata mentions its Mistress, with a capital M, so I’m still holding out hope for a really awful villain to hate.
Ships: Mio and Shinobu obviously, since I do love them despite the whole insta-love thing, and platonically I ship Hikaru and Jack. I patiently wait for a female love interest for Jack, because everyone loves a good gay romance, and Jack deserves romance.
Verdict: I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in YA fantasy fiction. It has everything – mythical creatures, a kick-ass sword-wielding heroine, a sarcastic and fabulous best friend, romance, and it’s short enough (only just 360-odd pages) that you can read it in one sitting.