Mariko Oshiro is not your average Tokyo cop. As the only female detective in the city’s most elite police unit, she has to fight for every ounce of respect, especially from her new boss. While she wants to track down a rumored cocaine shipment, he gives her the least promising case possible. But the case—the attempted theft of an old samurai sword—proves more dangerous than anyone on the force could have imagined.
The owner of the sword, Professor Yasuo Yamada, says it was crafted by the legendary Master Inazuma, a sword smith whose blades are rumored to have magical qualities. The man trying to steal it already owns another Inazuma—one whose deadly power eventually comes to control all who wield it. Or so says Yamada, and though he has studied swords and swordsmanship all his life, Mariko isn’t convinced.
But Mariko’s skepticism hardly matters. Her investigation has put her on a collision course with a curse centuries old and as bloodthirsty as ever. She is only the latest in a long line of warriors and soldiers to confront this power, and even the sword she learns to wield could turn against her.
So back in August we were approached to review “Daughter of the Sword” which I snapped up instantly because I am recovering from a mild obsession with all things Japanese. And by “mild” I mean “I haven’t spent my entire paycheck on capsule toys instead of food… yet…” Which is why it was such a shock that I totally forgot about it.
Flash forward to yesterday when we got a reminder. No big deal, I think to myself. I can have this sucker read and reviewed in a day. Sure, it’s 468 pages, but I’m a fast reader. Guys, let me warn you right now, this sucker takes FOREVER to read. Not because it’s dull, but because it’s dense. Even being obsessed with Japanese culture I still had to take my time. That being said, it is so worth it.
Now, I don’t know if I would necessarily call this “urban fantasy.” “Daughter of the Sword” is actually the story of three magic blades crafted by Inazuma. While half the story takes place in 2010, the other half tracks the three blades through history so you can see firsthand their mystical nature. Now, is this urban fantasy? Historical fantasy? I couldn’t tell you. Luckily the story is done so well, that you won’t really care. Past and present weave together seamlessly to leave you mourning for characters who had already passed on.
Since I don’t want to spoil that for you, I’ll focus on the two main characters. Mariko is our hero, and an unlikely one at that. She’s not only a woman, but was also raised in the states. Both of which do not bode well for a future in the police force in Japan. Luckily, Mariko isn’t big on taking the easy path.
Fuchida. Well, he was a brilliant character in his own right. Psychotic, yes, but captivating all the same. It’s interesting to think what might have happened had he not fallen under Beautiful Singer’s spell. But he did, so here we are. Watching his decent into highly entertaining insanity.
“Daughter of the Sword” is worth 4.5 stars. If you have any interest in Japanese culture, samurais, bushido… ah hell, just read it.
Okay, I lied. I am going to say something about one of the historical characters. The guy who wields Glorious Victory is freaking epic. I could’ve handled an entire book just about him.