Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Daughter of the Sword is this conglomeration of historical Japanese lore, true Japanese history and urban fantasy. I received a copy with a really great cover from Literal Addiction which received the copy from the publisher for review purposes. I have to admit this was already on my to-be-read list already so when I had the opportunity to review it for L.A. I jumped at it and though there were times I was lost in the Japanese terminology, I enjoyed learning them. Steve Bein did such a good job with character development that there were times I had to put the book down or scream at the bigotry and misogynistic treatment that Mariko received from her co-workers, especially her new lieutenant.
Mariko is a worldly, intelligent, butt-kicker. She is a great cop, much to the dismay of both her family and her fellow police officers. She has the great honor of being the first female detective and the only one of her rank. She has a family that she is at odds with because of some problems her sister has that has put a wedge between them. They were so close that most in their community can tell the difference in their relationship and are watching and gossiping like the Oshiros are a soap opera to be monitored by all. Their mom is caught in the middle and it is quite interesting to see the dichotomy between the three of them as they juggle the past with the present.
Daughter of the Sword tells the history of several of the swords created by a great master named Inazuma. One of the swords has a terrible history and is the focus of a lot of the backdrop told in the book. There are multiple periods covered that tell the story of the sword and all who have owned it along with a lot of information about samurai. We also learn the history of a Professor Yamada who is very renowned for his knowledge of swords and martial arts. He also has a very deep history and some of his actions possibly reverberate throughout the history of his homeland. There are some aspects of World War II discussed and it allows the reader to see things from Yamada's and his friend's points-of-view.
Another interesting aspect of this story is the relationship between the police and Yakuza. I was a little lost with some of the Japanese terms for the different legs of the organized crime in Japan but, it made for another aspect of this story which is that it is also a Japanese police procedural with tons of action and a fair bit of gore which is to be expected when swords are involved. The sword play was described beautifully and it was interesting to see Mariko’s initiation into her version of a samurai’s way of life. If you love reading about far-away places, historical fiction and fantasy this book should definitely be on your list.
This review can also be seen at LadyTechies Book Musings http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo....