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The Sword of Kaigen: A Theonite War Story…
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The Sword of Kaigen: A Theonite War Story (original 2019; edição 2019)

por M. L. Wang (Autor)

Séries: Theonite

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5971440,617 (4.18)8
"On a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful fighters in the world, warriors capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For centuries, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire's enemies at bay, earning their treacherous spit of land the name "The sword of Kaigen.' Born into Kusanagi's legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always know his purpose: to master his family's fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen's alleged age of peace, Mamoru ralizes that he might not have much time before he has to become the fighter he was bred to be. Even worse, the empire he was born to defend might stand on a fountain of lies. Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married to the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of invasion looming on the horizon, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface." -- Publisher description.… (mais)
Membro:dawnmkaiser
Título:The Sword of Kaigen: A Theonite War Story
Autores:M. L. Wang (Autor)
Informação:Independently published (2019), 649 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca
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The Sword of Kaigen por M. L. Wang (2019)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 14 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
4.5

Blood and ice wielding descendants, small mountaintop village and loads of political scheming and bloody battles.

The sword wielding badass Misaki reminded me a lot of Kiddo from Kill Bill. This book was filled with a TON of grief though- spent the second half constantly crying.
It took me a while to get into it but the reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because of the romance.
I’m sorry, but this dude did SO MUCH unforgivable stuff to her that I just cannot ignore or forget. ( )
  spiritedstardust | Jun 1, 2024 |
This is a self-published book but it's up to the highest professional standards. It's a standalone epic fantasy, inspired by Japanese culture. It's high-fantasy, with most people having elemental magic of one kind or the other. There are battles filled with spectacular displays of power and sword duels. However, it's very character-focused, and its main strength is the ability to make readers care deeply about the characters. Because of that, it's not all action and fights, there is also a lot of chapters devoted to character development.

The Sword of Kaigen of the title is a small peninsula in the Kaigen Empire, which is part of the first line of defense against foreign invasions. It is sparsely populated, but within its various mountain villages there are several families with strong water-based elemental powers, forming a warrior caste. The most powerful among them by far is the Matsuda family, so strong in their magic that they are described as having the blood of the gods in their veins. However, they are few, and the Kaigen empire is weak and decadent, while their traditional enemies have grown strong and have extremely powerful magical warriors of their own.

The two point of view characters are Misaki Matsuda, wife of the second son of the Matsuda family, and her eldest son, 14-year-old Mamoru Matsuda. Misaki's family sent her to study abroad, and she used to be a strong, confident young woman, with considerable fighting abilities of her own. In her new life as a Matsuda, women are confined to traditional roles, and it's not acceptable for them to fight or have a say in any important decisions. Misaki accepted her family's decision to marry her to Takeru Matsuda, but now she is not happy in this constrained atmosphere, with her cold, deeply traditional husband. It's only her friendship with other women in the family and occasionally her sons who make life worth living for her.

Mamoru, meanwhile, is training to be a warrior. As the eldest of the new generation of Matsudas, there is a lot of pressure on him to master the family techniques as soon as possible. Also, his friendship with a boy born in a different part of the empire is exposing him to new ideas and filling him with doubts.

Based on what I'm describing, you might think that this is based on a pre-technological Japan, but that's not the case. The characters live in a backwards, isolated area with very traditional values, but there is advanced technology like planes and wireless communication, even if we often do not see much of them.

It was difficult for me to understand why military conflict was mostly based on martial arts and elemental magic, instead of, say, on machine guns. Sure, the greatest warriors had powers stronger than technology, but surely the weaker ones could have used modern firearms. Also, there are some brief flashbacks to Misaki's past, which represent a puzzling change of tone. We go from epic fantasy to vigilante superhero fiction. I understand it's a connection with a YA trilogy that the author has written, taking place in a different part of the same world, but nevertheless it was strange. (That trilogy may be YA, but that's not the case with this standalone book, which has adult themes).

These are minor complaints, however, in a very readable and addictive story, harsh and sad at times, heartbreaking, emotionally draining, but also with hopeful elements. I recommend it highly. ( )
  jcm790 | May 26, 2024 |
M.L. Wang’s The Sword of Kaigen has been my favorite read this year so far. In fact, it’s now one of my top favorite books. I’m so glad that Kat and I choose this one as one of our buddy reads!

The Kusanagi Peninsula lies on the edge of the Kaiganese Empire and has been it’s front line of defense for hundreds of years, earning it the name “The Sword of Kaigen.” Due to this legacy, the ancestral households of the island continue raising their sons to be warriors and protectors above all else. Of these families, Matsuda is held in highest regard. While water is one of the elements any of the Jijakalu class of superhuman Theonites are able to control, the Matsuda family is capable of a special blood line technique called The Whispering Blade. Mamoru is the eldest Matsuda son at the age of 14 and has yet to be able to produce a Whispering Blade. And while there hasn’t been a war in a long time, Mamoru might need to be ready to fight sooner than anyone thought. As a new transfer student begins to show Mamoru that not everything is as it seems, the Matsuda boy begins questioning his role, the empire, and everything about his life. Meanwhile, Mamoru’s mother, Masaki, struggles with all the secrets she has buried from her life before marrying into the Matsuda family. Now that rumors of war are in the air, Misaki may need bring her past back into the light.

There is so much I love about this book. First, I love how the chapters are split between Mamoru and his mother, Misaki. It’s so interesting to see both sides of this relationship. And I absolutely loved both of these characters. Their development was gorgeously written. I also loved the magic system of Theonites who are able to control different elements and Sub-Theonites who are able to use different sorts of powers. The fighting scenes are also probably my favorite in anything I have read because they keep my attention and interest the entire time. Wang knows her martial arts and the way she incorporates that into this book is stunning.

This book definitely gets a strong 5/5 from me
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ( )
  rianainthestacks | Nov 5, 2023 |
I read this book because of a recommendation in a book group on this site. I don't regret it one bit. An excellent book with very well developed characters, a great pace to the story, a well defined and interesting magic system, and engaging action scenes. I absolutely loved this book. I will be reading the theonite series to follow up on the characters and will be following M.L. Wang in the future. ( )
  PREagles | Oct 20, 2023 |
Whew! What a ride!

This is I believe my 3rd SPFBO 2019 finalist read, and I can clearly see why The Sword of Kaigen is one of the top three choices that might win the competition. When you look at the map of the world of Duna, it seems like a strange mishmash of unfamiliar places. Look more closely, and you will soon realize the map placed North and South upside down for some odd reason. Switch the map into a proper North direction and you will soon gasp and be taken as a fool the whole time. The world of Duna looks around 70% identical to the continents on Earth just with very differently named countries. When I made this realization, it soon reminded me of the anime Hunter x Hunter whose author decided to imitate Earth's continents and just move them around all over the place.

Most of the story occurs in a little town called Takayubi, a part of an archipielago of islands belonging to the Kaigen Empire which speaks Kaigengua (sounds very similar to Korean). The Shirojima peninsula of islands in Kaigen is reminiscent of Japan. Within these lands filled with frosted mountains is a culture inspired in ancient Japan where water controlling warriors marry women from similar powerful noble families to breed the most magically powerful children and train their sons in the sword extensively in order to protect their land from the Ranga invaders (similar to China in our world who are capable of using wind magic).

Among these many families, the story centers on the powerful and ancient Matsuda family whose head of the family passes the knowledge of an ice sword capable of slicing steel called the Whispering Blade. We get to meet the carefree current ruler of the family Takeshi and his robotic but equally powerful younger brother Takeru. Mamoru is one of the two MCs of this story and he is Takeru's first son. At 14 years of age, he is a promising swordsman and water magician called a jiyaka in his own right. But being good is not enough for him. He wants to master the Whispering Blade at all costs but he has so far been unable to unlock the secret towards summoning the full fledged blade. It is one of those things you have to learn on your own and Mamoru's school sword teacher Yukino Dai claims he is almost there. Meanwhile, Mamoru's life will start to suffer a drastic change when a city boy from another much more modernized region of Kaigen named Kwang Chul-Hee has moved to Takayubi alongside his father to install cellphone towers (apparently Kaigen is one of those oddball rural places where the internet and modern medicine are oddities). Chul-Hee causes an initial disagreement with Mamoru when he tells him a lot of the Empire propaganda they are being taught at school are lies. Mamoru then starts to have an internal struggle between being loyal to the cultural customs of the people he loves so much and the disturbing stories that might be true afterall.

The book has a second protagonist, and quite frankly a very shocking one. We usually get stories starring angsty teenagers or full fledged adult males that have reached their combat pinnacle. It is very odd that an epic fantasy would star a humble middle aged housewife. Many books make moms dull filler characters because quite frankly, what kind of a mother would let her children go to war? And how can you make a person whose job is to raise babies seem... well... interesting? This is one part where this book shines because Misaki is such a multilayered character. Once you peel off the demure smile as she obey's Takeru's arsinine orders, you meet a conflicted woman who battles between tolerating an unhappy marriage and a fierce opinionated warrioress just itching to hatch from her shell for the fake of saving Mamoru from his own self destruction as he starts to unravel the truth of his country. Misaki is no saint and she admits it. She barely tolerates even touching her own children and wonders the what ifs of her life if she hadn't married Takeru. She compares her emotionally distant husband to the outspoken Takeshi and his happy marriage with the even more boisterous fisherwoman turned noblewoman named Setsuko. Misaki hates herself for feeling so much hatred at herself and yet her she is with her very confused teenage son Mamoru who is begging her to offer him her guidance.

A good portion of the book, I felt rather indifferent towards Takeru. He was never violent towards his family, but by being so rigid with his ideas, he only hurts those around him. But he is no weakling. When it comes to fight, I instantly started to like his calculating style which nicely complemented with Takeshi's brash out-in-your-face magic. It is much later into the story where Misaki starts to dig into Takeru's real self hidden deep under a block of ice that I really started to appreciate him and know there is greatness.

Robin's chapters threw me off at first, but they are very important to understand why Misaki is so frustrated with her life. I really enjoyed how this book is so much about how to make a marriage work between two equally proud and difficult people once they found a common goal. This book would definitely make a great movie or tv series, and considering most of the cast are POC, it would lure a lot of attention. If there is any bad side to the book, it is the massive length. The book literally feels like it is 600 pages long and the first 25% is spent building the complex life of Mamoru and Misaki which is no small feat. Other than that, if The Sword of Kaigen wins the SPFBO 2019, I would applaud the win because it has been surely worthy of all of the hype it has been garnering. Enjoy! ( )
  chirikosan | Jul 24, 2023 |
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"On a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful fighters in the world, warriors capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For centuries, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire's enemies at bay, earning their treacherous spit of land the name "The sword of Kaigen.' Born into Kusanagi's legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always know his purpose: to master his family's fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen's alleged age of peace, Mamoru ralizes that he might not have much time before he has to become the fighter he was bred to be. Even worse, the empire he was born to defend might stand on a fountain of lies. Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married to the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of invasion looming on the horizon, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface." -- Publisher description.

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