I read this because the squister insisted. I had heard of it but thought it wasn’t really my thing. However, having read it, I thought it was excellent. In a strange way it reminded me of a Raynmond E Feist book I read ages ago… I think the series he wrote with Janny Wurts, about the other side of the Rift… it involved a stranger living in a very Japanese world and making his way there. The main similarity is the fact that it is a Japanese-type world; the author acknowledges this, saying at the same time that she (I think) has taken a lot of poetic licence.
It often really annoys me when books follow two – or more – different main characters and then they eventaully meet up and the story starts to cohese better. It is one of the few things that sometimes drives me stark mad with Lord of the Rings. This book does it. I totally understand why you would do it, but that doesn’t usually make it any easier to deal with.
I liked the characters here. Takeo was well-drawn; his emotional swings and warring loyalties were realistic, I thought. And the supranatural elements to him and others were introduced quite deviously, which I admired greatly. It may well class as a fantasy, but only just I think, and mainly because it is set in an obviously non-real place.
I don’t have the other two in the trilogy. I may have to find them.