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Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: Year of the Demon (Fated Blades #2) by Steve Bein

Year of the Demon (Fated Blades #2) 
By Steve Bein
Paperback, 544 pages
ISBN13: 9780451465191

Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro has been promoted to Japan’s elite Narcotics unit—and with this promotion comes a new partner, a new case, and new danger. The underboss of a powerful yakuza crime syndicate has put a price on her head, and he’ll lift the bounty only if she retrieves an ancient iron demon mask that was stolen from him in a daring raid. However, Mariko has no idea of the tumultuous past carried within the mask—or of its deadly link with the famed Inazuma blade she wields. 

The secret of this mask originated hundreds of years before Mariko was born, and over time the mask’s power has evolved to bend its owner toward destruction, stopping at nothing to obtain Inazuma steel. Mariko’s fallen sensei knew much of the mask’s hypnotic power and of its mysterious link to a murderous cult. Now Mariko must use his notes to find the mask before the cult can bring Tokyo to its knees—and before the underboss decides her time is up....

Year of the Demon starts off where Daughter of the Sword left off, following Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro's recent promotion to the Narcotics unit. What starts off as a typical drug raid turns out to be anything but normal. A mysterious iron demon mask is stolen from the under-boss of a powerful yakuza crime syndicate.

Kamaguchi Hanzo “hires” Mariko to get the mask back. There is the added bonus that if she does, he will remove the hit that was put out on her (Daughter of the Sword explains why there is a hit on her). Along with searching for the mask, Mariko also needs to search for her recently stolen sword “Glorious Victory Unsought”. Little does Mariko know, both the mask and sword have a dark history.

This book, like the first one, follows multiple stories at the same time. The breakdown is very easy to follow.

Heisei Era, the Year 22 (2010 CE) follows Mariko and what is going on in her part of the story.

Azuchi-Momoyama Period, the Year 21 (1588 CE) follows the story of Daigoro Okuma, the Lord of House Okuma, at this point in time he is the owner of “Glorious Victory Unsought”

Muromachi Era, the Year 148 (1484 CE) follows the story of Kaida who is an ama (traditional Japanese free diver, best known for diving for pearls) and her connection to the cult “The Divine Wind” and the iron mask.

There were a few parts of the book that felt extremely slow getting to the point of what was going on. Other than this one small snafu, I had a great time reading about the history and finding out more about Daigoro and the introduction of Kaida.

One interesting side note, I noticed about the 3 main characters in their respective time lines, is each has been dealing with how to live their lives and overcome their obvious handicaps, while facing the naysayers on a daily basis.

This is a great series to check out if you are a fan of Urban Fantasy with a touch of Japanese history and the way of the Samurai.

4 sheep


About the Author:
Steve is a rock climber, mountaineer, SCUBA diver, skier, photographer, and avid traveler, and he enjoys just about anything he can do outdoors. He has dabbled in a wide range of martial arts (twenty-five at last count) and he holds black belts in two American forms of combative martial arts. These days he has returned to studying Brazilian Jiujitsu.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm I do love Japan and UF, but this is not calling my name.