Sword of Kaigen

A Theonite War Story by M.L. Wang
Published on: February 17, 2019

Sword of Kaigen

“It was a harrowing climb to the high school. Eight hundred twenty-one steps.”

To be honest, I delayed writing this review. I realize now what the issue was.  The issue that I have been ignoring or dreading.  The issue is the emotional trauma I felt after reading this book. Before I picked up the book, when I read others reviews there were several that mentioned that there are 2 climaxes in the book. But these climaxes are not both at the end.  One occurs about 1/2 way in and the other occurs at 70-80% in.  When I initially heard about the 2 climaxes I was like “Awesome. More greatness!”  That, of course, was before I experienced the first climax first-hand.  Before I experienced the emotional trauma.   At that point, I put down the book down for a longer period than I thought I would and I wasn’t even sure I would ever pick it up again.

This book is excellent.  I could tell in the first paragraph that this was a well written book, even in the first two sentences quoted above, which have a type of poetry about them.  What I wasn’t expecting was the emotional journey along the way that has left me somewhat traumatized.  The beauty of this book is the character growth.  The journey they take was so well done that it is difficult to describe. I remember in the early stages of the book in a scene with Misaki how I wished Misaki would stand up for herself just a little by doing ‘x’, but knowing in my heart of hearts the author would wait till the very end before we would see Misaki actually grow. But to my surprise the author started growing Misaki’s character in the beginning of the book and didn’t wait until the end, but then she kept growing Misaki’s character more and more.  And it wasn’t just Misaki’s character that grew, but all of them changed and transformed in some way.  Every character had depth. It was amazing.

There is beauty in this book.  The story has depth and just builds and builds and builds and the writing is beautiful – even the fighting scenes and what I call the ‘history’ lesson. “5286, the year that the Carythian Union…”  It is a beautiful book, but it is also emotional.  But bewarned – sometimes it can be a little traumatic to the heart like it was for me.

I am rating this 4 stars for two reasons.  1) I did put the book down for a considerable amount of time after the first climax and wasn’t sure I’d come back to it.  2) Misaki’s background stories with Robin didn’t quite feel natural to the rest of the book – the length of them felt out of place and I never quite fully understood the emotional importance of these stories as much as I think I should have.

All in all, this book is one that you will not experience very often and I can definitely recommend it for its powerful story, character development, and even perhaps the emotional roller coaster it will take you on.

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