Quick Review: ASTRAL SEASON, BEASTLY SEASON by Tahi Saihate (Honford Star)

SaihateT-AstralSeasonBeastlySeasonUKAn interesting novel about obsession, violence, and grief

The story follows Morishita and Yamashiro, two high-school boys approaching the age in life when they must choose what kind of people they want to be. When their favourite J-pop idol kills and dismembers her boyfriend, Morishita and Yamashiro unite to convince the police that their idol’s act was in fact by them. This thrilling novel is a meditation on belonging, the objectification of young popstars, and teenage alienation.

This is the first novel I’ve read published by Honford Star. Their mission is to publish major, overlooked-in-English East Asian authors, and also modern authors who combine both literary and genre sensibilities. Astral Season, Beastly Season is a more contemporary novel, and one that examines how obsession can twist someone to commit horrific and violent acts, and also the fall-out of such violence. It’s an interesting read. Continue reading

Excerpt & Covers: TOMOE GOZEN Series by Jessica Amanda Salmonson (Open Road Media)

SalmonsonJA-TG1-DisfavoredHeroOpen Road Media will be publishing Jessica Amanda Salmonson‘s Tomoe Gozen series in eBook for the first time this year. The three novels — The Disfavored Hero, The Golden Naginata and Thousand Shrine Warrior — will be available from April 7th, 2015. Here’s the synopsis for the first novel:

Forced to betray her lord, a disgraced samurai fights to regain her honor

In the fabled land of Naipon, there is no warrior more feared, no samurai more respected than the legendary Tomoe Gozen, whose twin blades can change the course of any battle. After years of service to Lord Shigeno, she is about to renew her oath of loyalty when the sky darkens and a cry of rebellion comes from the hills. Possessed by an evil wizard, the peasants are marching against their master. Tomoe holds off the wave of pitchfork-wielding farmers for as long as she can. Finally, the battle overwhelms her, and the greatest samurai in Naipon falls dead.

She awakes in hell, on a slope lined with bloody corpses. After an eternity of fighting, she reaches the summit and finds herself in the chamber of a wizard who restores her to life. She is alive — but now she must do his bidding. Her honor has been shattered, but Tomoe Gozen will do whatever it takes to win it back.

Read on for an excerpt from The Disfavored Hero. Continue reading