When Mio steals the family’s katana – a priceless ancestral sword – from her parents’ attic, she just wants to spice up a fancy-dress costume. But the katana is much more than some dusty antique and her actions unleash a terrible, ancient evil onto the streets if unsuspecting London. Soon Shinobu, a fearless warrior boy, appears to protect Mio – and threatens to steal her heart. With the gods and monsters of Japanese myth stalking her and her friends, Mio realises that if she cannot keep the sword safer and learn to control it’s legendary powers, she will lose not only her own life… but the love of a lifetime.
I have enjoyed every one of Zoë Marriott’s books that I’ve read, and when I heard her new project was The Name of the Blade an urban fantasy trilogy I was really excited by the prospect. The early reviews for the book were brilliant, so I sat down to read it with pretty high expectations.
I fell in love with this book within the first couple of dozen pages. The characters grabbed my attention, and I was instantly drawn into their world – I did not want to put this book down for anything!
Mio, the leading lady, is a wonderful character. I loved how well rounded she is, whilst she’s strong and capable, smart and quick, she’s also real – she’s flawed, she makes some really stupid decisions, and she’s imbued with the singlemindedness that can come with being a teenager. I really, really love her – it’s so nice reading a character who feels completely genuine, and one that you think you’d be quite happy to spend time around!
There are a number of key supporting characters, I felt like I got to know them all well – they weren’t purely there for Mio’s benefit. I could happily have read many more stories of her times with her grandfather in particular, this was such a lovely relationship. I also loved the friendship she had with Jack, and how this evolved once Shinobu, the warrior boy, and Hikaru, representative of the London Kitsune, joined the mix. The dialogue between this group is just my kind of thing, the banter is balanced well with the sense of everyone having their role to play.
This is the first book of a trilogy, and as such has to establish the world, who the key players are and what’s at stake. I found this to be done really well, whilst there’s plenty of information to get across it never feels expositiony, there’s plenty of action and plot progress with some fantastic fight sequences. The air of mystery and creeping sense of peril grows throughout the book, keeping you turning the pages as fast as you can read them.
I loved the way Japanese mythology is woven into the plot, and how cultures are woven together. I found there were many things in the book I’d never come across before, and they were so interesting to read about. I ended up making a note of a few of them to read more about once I’d finished the book.
This is such a great opening to what I think is going to be a brilliant trilogy. I don’t tend to read a lot of urban fantasy, but when I do I always love it. This book is definitely right up there with some of my favourites. I can’t wait for the other books (even though I know I must)!
The Night Itself is the first book in The Name of the Blade trilogy. It is published by Walker Books in paperback and eBook. Whilst my copy was provided by the publisher all opinions expressed are my own.