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quote 2016-05-12 17:24
Smettila di...piangere cosí. Quando piangi...io perdo la testa.

•Kamisama Hajimemashita•

 

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review 2015-03-26 15:55
The Disfavored Hero (The Tomoe Gozen Saga Book 1) - Jessica Amanda Salmonson

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

 

                This is a strange book, but strange in a good way.  Salmonson takes the real life samurai Tomoe Gozen (a woman samurai who fought in the Genepi war) and creates a historical fantasy set in an alternate Japan.

 

                The thing is, the book is meditation disguised as an adventure story.

 

                Gozen starts as a sworn samurai who is debating taking a deeper oath with three others, but then a battle occurs in which despite heroic deeds, Gozen loses her status, loses herself.  In many ways, the sequence of the rest of the book is about a re-discovery of self in terms of Eastern belief.

 

                It is that quest, which is done in conjunction with various other adventures that is most engrossing as well as the look at what is a samurai, a wife, a lady, and who controls power.  It is a thought provoking book.

 

                Gozen comes to realizations about her place in the world though her adventures as well as in the mirroring of the past of those of that surround to her own.  Salmonson combines Japanese folklore with Western fantasy elements to do so.  The effect is beautiful.

 

                The weakest part of the story is  the love affair between Gozen and Tomiska.  It is weak, not because of the lesbian relationship (which was beautifully referred to in the beginning of the book) but because the development of a two sided romance does not seem quite realistic.  Gozen is too dispassionate.  This could be playing on the idea of the dispassionate male hero that appears in several stories and films, but for some reason it falls flat here.  Yet, when one considers when this book was first published, this relationship would have been far more different than it is seen today.

 

                Enjoyable.

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review 1984-01-01 00:00
Tomoe Gozen
Tomoe Gozen - Jessica Amanda Salmonson This is one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time. This is basically the story of the 12th century civil war in Japan that established the samurai class, and it's historically accurate except that it's set in an alternate-earth version of Japan where magic and magical beings are real. Thus, Japanese history and myth are combined in an exciting, epic tale.

Tomoe Gozen was an actual historical figure, though of course Salmonson has created a completely fictional version based on what little is known of the real person.
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