Title: The Night Itself
Author: Zoë Marriott
Series: The Name of the Blade (book one)
Who’s it for? Teens
What’s it about? When fifteen-year-old Mio steals the katana – her grandfather’s priceless sword – she just wants to liven up a fancy-dress costume. But the katana is more than a dusty heirloom, and her actions unleash an ancient evil onto the streets of modern-day London. Mio is soon stalked by the terrors of mythical Japan and it is only the appearance of a mysteriously familiar warrior boy that saves her life. Mio must learn to control the katana’s legendary powers fast or she risks losing not only her own life…but the love of a lifetime.
[Blurb taken from book]
What’s good about it? I’ve not read much urban fantasy, but I was impressed by just how imaginative this book was! There’s lots of ideas here, and hints and moments of a richer world beyond the one we know. Plus it involves Japanese folklore, which was lovely in the way it was woven into the story.
I loved Mio and Jack’s friendship. It wasn’t hard to see their friendship and believe that they were genuinely best friends, even though towards the end, their versions of who was more important to save diverged somewhat.
The Kitsune were AWESOME! I loved that part – hoping to see much more of them in the sequel!
What’s bad about it? There was INSTA-LOVE!! Alright, so it got pulled back a little bit when one of the characters sort of realised the weirdness of the situation but…no. There’s various explanations as to why it happened (and ergo how it’s not real insta-love) but yeah. I hate that particular trope.
The verdict? I love Zoë Marriott’s writing style – I adored FrostFire – but! But I didn’t love this one quite as much as I wanted to. Mostly because I still can’t work out how I feel about it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the overall story and I think it’s got some truly imaginative ideas. But still. There was insta-love. INSTA-LOVE! There was also a slight strangeness to the tone that I can’t quite put my finger on, which I’ll admit probably sounds a bit wishy-washy to say (or type). But there was just the odd word/phrase/section that would completely and utterly throw me out of the story.
I’ve already got my mitts on the sequel, so I think I’ll continue with the trilogy – like I said, some great ideas here, just not wholly convinced by the setup.