Now to me, this was what I hoped to read about and it’s representation. Setting it in the Edo era as an alternate history, during the times when Japan is indeed struggling to modernize itself or keep to their ideals.
And I do really like how it handles female characters here. Masuyo is just more than the love interest, I do feel her strength and also her love for her family. Besides, she outsmarts her father but still will try to abide by his wishes when he insists. As well as being truthfully loyal, and never wavering from her beliefs. And her favourite moments were with the Lady Tomatsu as she is a woman who thinks survival is above all, and her ask to just have her denounce her own father. Although it does show her tenacity, but I find Lady Tomatsu to be a more sensible character than anyone else.
As for Toru, he was indeed middle ground. He dreams and wishes to see, and doesn’t like people taking advantage of his country. Strong patriotism, nice personality. But to me, he doesn’t really have much of an arc and his identity is just there and under utilized when it could have added more tension and is it just me but it does seem that he has no noticeable flaws. The one who I did feel was stuck a little more in between and still someone who will dream is Masuyo. And that he doesn’t seem to have much of any character arc apart from that.
The setting is basically perfect, I mean who wants to be overthrown in their lives. Their fear was real, and unless the whole bakufu power really weakened until the Meiji restoration which allowed it implant changes. Otherwise, I can see why almost anyone who was rich back then really wanted to keep their power. Same thing with the need to keep up with them, since they were facing plenty of threats from outside. And I do like the way that it does, although the Meiji restoration is still far away but nonetheless a step to the Japan we know of today. Although the other complaint is that it doesn’t make sense how industrialization can happen over the span of a couple months, not really believable if you ask me.
So, overall I just like this book due to the Japanese culture which was authentic. The way that it generally was for Masuyo did feel real, but she still overcame those boundaries. And last but not least, that this tale was satisfying overall, as my complaints was as above. But otherwise, it was pretty much enjoyable.
Rating: 3 out of 5