I really loved this book!
Marika is on her way to the imperial city to meet with her betrothed. A marriage her father a prominent samurai arranged for her as she had known would happen her whole life. On the road her convoy is attacked by the Black Clan, a rogue group of bandits, who’ve been hired to kill Marika. As the lone survivor Marika makes the decision to take her life into her own hands, track down the Black Clan and find out who wants her dead.
I really enjoyed Marika’s character. She wasn’t naïve or overly innocent and immature which I kind of don’t like in female protagonists. I thought she was quite forthright and speculative and unwilling to bend. She asks questions, she wants to be informed, she doesn’t want to be in the dark or unaware and she pushes for information. Her growth over the course of the book was great to read. She has decided she doesn’t want any man to make decisions for her. She is in charge of her own destiny. I also really liked how self-aware she became towards the end of the story. She understood how much she overlooked as the daughter of a samurai and how skewed her perception of the world and those around her were.
At first I didn’t find any of the members of the black clan to be likeable. I didn’t really connect with any of them until around the half-way point of the book. When they decided to trust Marika and we got a few more details about who they are and what they are doing and that’s really when I started to be more invested.
I loved reading about the backstory of Ranmaru and Okami. Everything about their father’s and the emperor and how it wove together into the plotline was beautiful. I loved that their friendship was based on loyalty and honour. You could really get a feel for the lengths that they would go to protect each other and the rest of the Black Clan.
I love that this book is so unique and different culturally, learning about the samurai’s and the different clans in the empire. Seeing the political manipulations of the emperor and his son’s and how they interact with others around them. How the plot unfolded and the way the characters interacted kept me highly entertained. Though there were passages at the start where it got a little boring and I was skimming a few paragraphs but overall the actual story was fantastic!
⭐️4.5/5 Twists and turns, samurai’s and sword fights!