So, my original plan was to kick things off properly on the blog in the New Year (2020 here I come), with a top-five summary of the books I have read this year on Hogmanay. I will still be posting that because I want to share some of the books that have stuck with me this year – influencing both my reading and my writing.
However, I wanted to talk about a book that I finished on Monday and has pretty much consumed my thoughts since then and has firmly claimed a spot on that top 5 list, and that is the ‘Sword of Kaigen’ by M.L. Wang [Available here]. I had seen a lot of people talking about this book on twitter and through the SPFBO#5, and everything I read suggested that this book would be right up my alley, and I wasn’t wrong.
Admittedly it took me a couple of chapters to get into the story, but it had me intrigued enough to keep going and chase the threads of the story, and then I hit the point where I couldn’t put this book down – reading almost 400+ pages in one go.
The worldbuilding is fantastic, detailed and rich, and so expansive. I loved the glimpses of the world – past and present, beyond Kaigen that we got to see. The magic system is intriguing, and as with the world, we are given glimpses of just how diverse and wide-ranging it can be, without the details being overwhelming, or losing the sense of the main points. I had seen it compared to Avatar the Last Airbender online, and I can see the comparison, and yet at the same time, I would say it’s unique. Worldbuilding is always one of the main things I look for in a book, especially within fantasy were we shift away from the anchors in our world – and this book more than delivered – it quickly became a world I was invested in, and I have already started reading one of the other books in the same world.
However, it was the characters and the plot that got to me. I found myself thoroughly involved in their existence, their relationships and lives – both through the storylines, the character development, but primarily through the writing. The emotion in the words was inescapable, to the point where it felt as though I was questioning my world along with the characters, questioning myself, doubting myself, learning to open up. Another part of the writing that had me hooked was the fight scenes. Fight scenes are hard to write – I know that from personal experience – and here they involved the environment, people, weapons, and magic. Every scene was spot-on, a perfect balance of action and thought, and at no point did I find myself losing track or breaking immersion.
Honestly, I could talk about this book for days and still find new things to say. I have already recommended it to friends, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for something new and different to read in fantasy. I will also certainly be getting a physical copy of the book, as it’s one that I already want to reread
The Sword of Kaigen – M. L. Wang [Self-published, 13/2/2019] ***** (5/5 stars)
(You can check out the author HERE)
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.