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The Name of the Blade by Zoë Marriott ARC {4 Stars}

The Name of the Blade by Zoë Marriott is a fun and funky adventure through London running from Japanese myths that suddenly have become all too real. Forget anything you’ve heard about The Name of the Blade already! I honestly disagree with a lot of the negative things I’d been worrying about so much that I don’t really understand how I read the same book as everyone else D:. The Name of the Blade is a seriously delightful adventure that is different from the YA we read all too often here in the States and one of the reasons why I love getting books originally published elsewhere :D.

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Name of the Blade from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Name of the Blade by Zoë Marriott ARC {4 Stars}

The Name of the Blade by Zoë Marriott (The Name of the Blade #1)
Published by Candlewick Press on Nov. 11th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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When Mio sneaks the family's katana -- a priceless ancestral sword -- from her parents' attic, she just wants to spice up a costume. But the katana is much more than a dusty antique. Awakening the power within the sword unleashes a terrible, ancient evil onto the streets of unsuspecting London. But it also releases Shinobu, a fearless warrior boy, from the depths of time. He helps to protect Mio -- and steals her heart. With creatures straight out of Japanese myths stalking her and her friends, Mio realizes that if she cannot keep the sword safe and learn to control its legendary powers, she will lose not only her own life . . . but the love of a lifetime.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • The magic in The Name of the Blade is all based on Japanese myths. We have terrifying cat demon things, we have awesome kitsune and spirit worlds, we have magical ancient swords, what else can you ask for?? I have clearly not read enough fantasy based on Japanese mythology and I’m so delighted to have this problem fixed :D.
  • The Name of the Blade is set in London which is a whole other ball of fun. I was relieved that there wasn’t so much London slang that I got tripped up, so no worries there. It was fun seeing the slight differences in the life of an average teen as depicted in books in London versus a major city in the US though. Plus, I got to imagine everyone had a British accent!
  • The characters in The Name of the Blade are refreshingly diverse. The main character is at least partially Japanese (I was a little unclear of her mother’s heritage). Her best friend is a lesbian and is quite outgoing about it. It was so refreshing to see a gay character that wasn’t just shuffled off to the side when she became inconvenient and it was hilarious to see certain silly boys making silly assumptions ;-).
  • All right, this is my biggest sticking point with everything I previously read about The Name of the Blade: the romance is NOT insta-love! Seriously, it’s just not. There are in fact wonderful moments where Mio looks at the potential romantic situation and realizes that it is kind of ridiculous. Plus, Shinobu has known Mio a lot longer than the span of the book, making me quite understand his strong feelings for her. >.> *hides from tomatoes*
  • The writing of The Name of the Blade was fun and fast. The characters were always running off to the next adventure and jumping into solving the problems at hand. There wasn’t any random moments of sitting around on their hands because we need some silly development to happen. I had a hard time putting The Name of the Blade down when family demanded my attention!

Weaknesses:

  • The climax of The Name of the Blade went fairly predictably. I completely called a certain supposed-to-be-plot-twist coming because it is the exact sort of thing that annoys me, oh well.
  • Things were going fairly well until the last page or so where Mio did a strange commentary on the events of The Name of the Blade. It was kind of like in the Pokemon TV show where Ash would discuss what he learned and what he was happy about from the episode >.>. No, just no.
  • The parents are gone for all of The Name of the Blade in an overly convenient manner. This is a problem with a lot of YA, but particularly obvious this time around.

Summary:

The Name of the Blade was a light and fun fantasy adventure. I loved reading about Japanese myths coming to life for London teenagers and just found myself so happy while reading. It was great to see diverse characters being represented well in The Name of the Blade, and I’ll definitely be getting my hands on book two. I’ve honestly been debating between ordering the UK edition of book two or waiting for it to be published in the US >.> *grabby hands*. There were some stumbling blocks at the end, but I’m quite hopeful for the series as a whole!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 The Name of the Blade by Zoë Marriott

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. This sounds very interesting! I almost skipped over it as I’m trying to control my book-buying urges, but it’s now on the need-to-get list

  2. I’m totally up for reading this one!! You know I love Japanese culture!
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. CareyMy Profile

  3. Ohh, this sounds so good! There have been a number of really strong YA fantasies with a Japanese setting recently – you won’t hear any complaints from me! An I love YA with diversity, especially ones that make fun of silly assumptions. ;) Definitely intrigued by this one.
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Graphic Novel Reviews: Anya’s Ghost & Through The WoodsMy Profile

    • Yey! What other YA books with Japanese are you thinking of, I feel like I’m missing them! Besides Endsinger of course, haha

  4. Japanese myths + London setting = exactly my kind of read!! Gotta get my hands on this book – great review! :)
    Skye @ Skye’s Scribblings recently posted…The #FridayReads Review (12/12/14)My Profile

  5. I’m a huge fan of Japanese mythology so this sounds awesome! Hooray for non-instalove, and even if the ending is predictable I think this would still be a fun read. I’m going to keep an eye out for it!
    Kritika recently posted…Happy Holidays!My Profile

  6. Well, since this was the first review I read for this one, I had no problem forgetting what I’d heard ;-P I HAVE seen it quite a bit around lately, and the cover is quite eye-catching so seeing how much you enjoyed it got me really excited! I need more Japanese myths in my life, I LOVE London settings and…NO insta-love. YAY I’ll be adding this one to my tbr based on your review here. Thanks Anya xx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: The Hero of AgesMy Profile

  7. I love mythology so this looks good. I actually know a bit about Japanese mythology (from anime) so it will be fun to watch for certain things! Yay about not instant love! I could use a fun fast book! lol @ Pokemon like recap. How corney!
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Angelfall and World After by Susan EeMy Profile

    • Hopefully the mythology is all pretty accurate, I don’t know very much about Japanese mythology so I wouldn’t have caught any problems D: It seems unlikely there would be anything too glaring though, she definitely did research!

  8. I do get tired of YA where entire groups of kids have no parental involvement at all. But I have heard nothing but positive reviews for Marriott so I wouldn’t oppose reading this one.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Tough Travels – DrugsMy Profile

    • To be fair, her parents are on vacation and it is only a couple of days, so it does make sense *shrugs* yeah, it is annoyingly convenient still, no consequences ya know??

  9. This sounds unique and adorable! It’s not the kind of fantasy I’d typically read, but the Japanese influences and the sense of humor it seems to have pique my interest. And no insta-love or love triangles??? Yay! *lol*
    Sara L. recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday Vol. 2: “Rebel Queen” by Michelle MoranMy Profile

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