My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I won this book in a giveaway. I don’t usually read fantasy but thought it was time I tried a new genre and read an author I’m not familiar with. Spreading my book wings, so to speak. Because of my reading problems from my brain injury, I still don’t do well with stories that have grand themes or complex plots or many characters. With those caveats out of the way, here’s my review.
I liked this book because of its characters. As I got lost trying to remember who was fighting whom and why (never really did understand the why), I realized I was still reading because the characters were drawing me in, in particular Nayla/Takaro/Little Warrior, the heroine of A Warrior’s Tale. The interaction between the characters was relatable — the irrational dislikes, the hidden attractions, the need to protect a person who has a need to be independent and to prove her prowess. I became interested in her life, in her struggles and her hurts. I began to waffle between which suitor I preferred and liked how she seemed to have chosen the one I liked best, though that was not spelled out for the reader, a plot point I appreciated. Because the characters were so strong, it didn’t matter to me that I never really followed the plot.
According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, a romance is “a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious.” This book is this kind of old-fashioned romance. Sure, it is a fantasy with characters who can do supernatural things, but at its heart it is a romance. And best, the author doesn’t get lazy and bury this kind of romance under a simple and simplistic love affair.
There are many fighting scenes, and it’s clear Suzuki knows her martial arts. The details come across as authentic and make the chaos and gruesomeness of the battles pulse in the imagination. It is also a long book, and it ends where it begins, which fits with the words Nayla recalls at the beginning of her tale. In fact, if it wasn’t so difficult to navigate back to the beginning and then back to where I was reading, I would’ve gone back to reread Imagine, Prologue, and Chapter 1, then finished reading Chapter 18 so as to see that scene more clearly. Since it took me a long time to read this book, the first scene was hazy in my memory. Still, the ending worked for me, the kind of ending that’s not really an ending but a beginning into the next book.
I had received the PDF ebook. The PDF is beautifully laid out, but PDF is a format best suited for documents not long books. In short, it’s a pain to read. I experimented which platform would work best. When I bought my Kindle Paperwhite, I finished reading it on that, mostly because I had the Kindle with me on my way to appointments. I am sure they could create an ePub with all the software that is out there now for the amateur, one that could include some of the graphic elements that make the PDF a pleasure to look at. Also, within this well-edited book, there were only a couple of editing issues. What is it with editors using semi-colons like commas? Only between independent clauses, people!
Still, the story rose above the format and physical-reading issues to hold me. A Warrior’s Tale is the first book in a series, and so the tale continues into the next book. Would I buy the next book? I am curious as to what happens with Nayla. But I have a stack of books I’m supposed to be reading, and that more than anything is what is holding me back right now. If not for my reading issues and for that stack, I probably would.