Monday, September 26, 2016

At Yomi's Gate


About the Author:
(Taken from Amazon)

John Meszaros graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Biology, which combined with his love for world cultures and history has served him well in his writing and art. He's worked a variety of jobs and volunteer positions: Cancer Research Lab Assistant, Museum Docent, Aquarium Diver and Cleaner, Traveling Marine Life Educator, Graphic Layout Artist, Zookeeper and Landscaper, and Stay-at-Home Parent. When not writing or drawing, John is often outside in nature-- or underwater when he can get his SCUBA gear out-- doing research for his art and stories. John lives in Connecticut with his wife, children, a dog and way, way too many plants.


Storyteller and scroll-painter Fumito has been forced by his paranoid and homicidal uncle, daimyo Kotoheisei, to track down a young woman named Sakura who bears the destructive god of fire imprisoned in a tattoo on her back. At stake is Fumito’s family, who will be brutally tortured and executed if he cannot capture her. 

Yet when he finally finds Sakura and her rescuer, the imposing but shy priestess Ikuko, he decides to help them escape rather than turn them over to his uncle, who will use the fire god’s power for terror and slaughter. The fate of Fumito’s family is sealed, but that is a price he desperately hopes he can live with. 

When an ancient artifact merges Sakura with the god, granting her control over fire and the magma that is the very lifeblood of the world, she resolves to repay Fumito’s sacrifice by saving his family and defeating his uncle. But Sakura does not realize the full extent of her power and her rescue mission may end up hurting more people than it saves. And eventually her actions will bring her, Fumito and their companions into a confrontation with the creatures of the underworld whose dark magic is responsible for Sakura’s transformation.



I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is an amazing story that kept me enthralled and reading well into the night.

The audience follows a band of unlikely heroes — a tiny woman who'd been abused most of her life, a story-teller who is also Byronic (IMHO), an uncommonly tall priestess, and a woman with a massive chip on her shoulder.  There is also an outcast. a person considered filthy and beneath everyone else, who can't read but has taught himself how to be a doctor.  While Fumito (the story-teller) is my favorite character, all of the characters warmed up to me after a while.

One of the things that I loved about this novel is that the author was not afraid to put his characters through life-altering events.  This resulted in a read where I felt anything could happen.  I didn't feel like any of the characters were safe, and this guaranteed that I stuck with the novel.

I don''t want to go into too much detail so as not to spoil this, and I think the author's blurb does more than enough to relay the story.  I will say that there were a number of fascinating concepts/minor plots brought up and I am still upset that they weren't elaborated on.  For instance, there was a plot line concerning ten liars.  By the end, I had enough of an understanding of who the ten liars were and why they deserved to be punished as they were, but I did want to hear more about the tenth liar and why he was kept in the particular manner depicted in the novel.  But these few questions were not enough to keep me from enjoying the novel.  Besides, I have a strong feeling that these were threads to connect in later books, which would help create a rich world.

The novel is set with multiple point-of-views, so the readers are able to get to know multiple characters and receive information that would not have been available had there only been one point-of-view.  So while I typically shy away from novels with rotating POVs, I thoroughly enjoyed this with no issues.

The writing style is smooth and easy to read.    All in all, I can't wait for the next installment!  This has landed on my must-read list at kcgray (dot) com.

Do yourself a favor and grab your copy at Amazon.

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