Imagine a world where all your favourite stuff about Japanese mythology, anime, and magic kung-fu movies come together with gritty urban fantasy in modern Japan. This is the world of the Liminal Chronicles. It’s a book I didn’t know I needed, but now I need more!
This is Winters-Voss’ debut novel, and independently published, so I admit, I started it with a bit of trepidation, even though I had agreed to review it. I hate giving negative reviews (even though you’ll see I have given several,) but I believe that my integrity is at stake if I am not honest. Worse yet, the author is part of my personal community, and it’s even worse when you have to tell someone you know and like that you might not like what they wrote.
My fears, I am happy to say, were totally unfounded. This was an amazing book! Winters-Voss’ prose is liquid and absorbing. She draws you into her world by engaging all the senses, and immediately makes you invested in the characters and their struggles. You are kept reading by a mystery to solve, and by the time it has unfolded, you are deeply emotionally invested. I found myself unable to put it down. I missed sleep, laughed, and cried. This is everything I want from a book.
Umeji is an ex-yakuza gangster, trying to build a new life in a new town. You learn that he was driven into it by necessity and poverty, but he is no angel; he does have a violent past, and there is blood on his hands. His desire to start over, however, is sincere, but it is made difficult by the fact that there is a lot of stigma in having been yakuza. A lot of people don’t want to give him a chance, especially when his former life becomes known in the small town he is trying to rebuild in.
The aunt of the person who is overseeing his parole learns that he was yakuza, and she makes it very, very clear that he is not welcome in her little town. Then something happens, a mystery is discovered, and the two are drawn together – and I really can’t be more specific without totally spoiling it for you, which I won’t do. We start out with something very grounded in the reality we know, and then slowly, supernatural elements are unfolded, until we are completely immersed in an enchanted world where anything seems possible.
I was deeply impressed by how beautifully human all the characters were, too –even the non-human ones.
I cannot recommend this book enough, and I am eagerly looking forward to the sequel!
I was given a free review e-copy in return for an honest review.