Thursday 11 July 2013

Review: The Night Itself - Zoe Marriott

New UK Cover
When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana - an ancestral Japanese sword - out of its hiding place in her parent's attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

The paralysing paranoia that descends on her before she gets to her friend's party is her first clue. The vivid and terrifying visions that nearly get her killed are a pretty good warning too.

The giant nine-tailed cat demon that comes after the sword and tries to rip her throat out? Overkill.

Seconds away from becoming kitty-food, Mio is saved by Shinobu, a mysterious warrior boy. But it's already too late. Mio has ruptured the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and now the gods and monsters of ancient Japan stalk the streets of London, searching for her and the sword.

With the help of her best friend Jack, a fox spirit named Hikaru - and the devoted protection of the bewitchingly familiar Shinobu - Mio attempts to discover the true nature of the sword and its connection to the Yamato family. Because if she doesn't learn how to control the katana's incredible powers, she's in danger of being overwhelmed by them. And if she can't keep the sword safe from the terrible creatures who want it for their own, she'll lose not only her own life... but the love of a lifetime.

The Name of the Blade Trilogy:
The Night Itself
Darkness Hidden
Frail Human Heart

Visit Zoe Marriott's website more information.

I'm a huge fan of Zoe Marriott, I absolutely love her writing style and have been waiting to get my hands on The Night Itself since I first heard about it over a year ago. As you can imagine I had high expectations for this novel and I'm happy to say Zoe that absolutely smashed them! This is a fabulous start to her first urban fantasy series - you have strong, independent characters, great supportive friendships, a hot boy, lots of action and sword fights, wonderful use of Japanese mythology and it's set in London! What more can you ask for? My only disappointment is that I've got to wait another year for the next instalment.

Before he died Mio's grandfather showed her an ancient katana (Japanese sword) that has been protected by members of her family for over 500 years. He promised her that on her 16th birthday the sword would belong to her but warned her that she must always keep its existence a secret and told her to keep it hidden and protected. In the years since Mio hasn't been able to stop thinking about the sword but she has stuck to her grandfather's rules and hasn't touched it. Days before her birthday she comes up with the perfect excuse to bring out the sword though - it would be the ideal accessory for her fancy dress costume! She justifies her actions by telling herself that it will be hers in a matter of days anyway and with her parents away who is to know that she took it a couple of days early? But she has forgotten her grandfather's warning and removing the sword from its hiding place has consequences she never could have imagined. Now with demons roaming the streets of London it is up to Mio to find a way to stop them and her first task is learning just what the sword is capable of.

I have to say I loved Mio, she is such a strong character who is more than capable of defending herself when she needs to. She has a fantastic friend in Jack and the two girls are inseparable and always supportive of each other. Neither of them has had it easy but they have each other to rely on and their friendship has seen them through the difficult times. Jack added a lot of humour to the story and I really enjoyed the interactions between them. Mysterious Japanese warrior Shinobu was another great character and the relationship between him and Mio was great, they do develop feelings for each other quite quickly but it is a testament to Zoe Marriott's skills that I didn't even notice that until I sat back to reflect on the book after I finished reading it. I'm not usually a fan of insta-love but in this case it was done so well that it felt completely natural and believable and left me looking forward to spending more time with them both as the series continues.

I've already mentioned that the story was action packed and full of mythology but I have to tell you how much I loved the addition of the Kitsune characters, Hikaru in particular was a favourite and he stole nearly every scene he appeared in. I don't want to spoil the story by telling you much about them so you'll just have to read the book for yourself to learn more! If you've ever wanted to see demons on the loose in London then you're going to love The Night Itself. There are some truly creepy moments along with fantastic fight scenes full of magic, kendo moves and sword fighting. I was gripped from the first page and I can't wait to get my hands on the next instalment!

Source: Received from Walker in exchange for an honest review

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Original UK Cover
Paperback / Kindle

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