I love Marie Brennan’s work but wasn’t sure about this one because I had no prior knowledge of the game world it’s based in and I have only a smattering of knowledge about Japan’s mythological creatures. I requested it anyway and I’m so glad I did.
Apparently I’ve read more about Japan’s yokai than I’d thought, because I recognized a great many of them. The setting was easy to accommodate myself to, as it’s just a small mountain village in Imperial Japan.
What really shines here is the two main characters. Ryotoro and Sekken are samurai from different clans who arrive at the town for different reasons that eventually turn out to be the same. Told through alternating perspectives, we get a slow, thoughtful investigation of what exactly has been happening in the village. We also are privy to the secrets they are keeping from one another and their slowly burgeoning attraction as they work to save the village from the rampaging yokai.
I loved the slowly building layers of story and will definitely be seeking out more of Marie Brennan’s work.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Aconyte Books fro providing an e-arc to review.