It took me a long time, like a long time to finish this book. Because of deadlines, tests and countless stuff. And it was on my to-read list for a long time.
Why? A story with a Cinderella retelling and set in Japan. With acutally a strong female character, I casted away Stormdancer and decided to borrow this instead. Even though it had nothing to do with the Cinderella retelling and way more with the Japanese inspired fantasy. Such books are sparse and rarely seen.
And it satisfied me to no end, even without taking up a sword, Suzume is no doubt a strong female character. She is my favourite as she’s very balanced as a female character, she isn’t physically strong, but holds honour and even her own family the first and foremost. Which is exactly what drew me in, what grounded me in her character. All the while she struggles, and even thinks herself as a monster for an actual mistake that she has done.
Her anger, it was just so completely understandable. To her mother, that married another man, and eventually had children with him. To her own inability and refusal to see another way out, that doesn’t end with her avenging her family. It represented the culture there, where it was duty and honor more than anything else.
As for Otieno, he was pretty good. Although a bit forceful, but never comes of creepy or poseasive. That he cared about her, that their first meeting wasn’t just an instant love scene. They met and never forgot each other, Suzume due to him saving her life. And him because of her.
And as I went along this book, I felt as though the story was taking shape. Especially Akira who is by far a very diverse character, he is a pretty guy, and because of that sold to a theatre and raised as a girl. And he still remains as one, but never was I awkward about it, but felt comfortable and even liked her. For his sense, and his willingness to help Suzume and eventually both growing much closer.
As for Terayama, he was a pretty interesting antagonist one that waited and bided his time. All the while used all means necessary and at the end, was quite apathetic as someone who wanted to win. And for once, I was glad to read a antagonist who wasn’t pure evil or boring. He knows what needs to be done, and uses all means necessary to get what he wants. Which to me makes it a lot more interesting as he just simply opposes Suzume and have some shred of humanity in him to care.
And for the background, it was just so well researched. Even though I was never someone who read tok much about Japanese, but did enough research to satisfy my own curiousity.
As a whole note, I would fully reconmend this book it was deep and well delivered all the while hooking me as I went on reading this in small bits, which made me hold on to the story even more.
Rating: 5 out of 5