And the Eastern World Gets Shafted Again: The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott


Ancient Japanese gods and monsters are unleashed on modern-day London in this first book of an epic trilogy from acclaimed fantasy writer Zoë Marriott.

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.

Source: GoodReads

YA and Asian mythology do not mix.  I’ve never seen it done correctly.  All of the books I’ve read, have all been over hyped and then essentially Twilight  in Asia.

And The Twilight Saga is over ten years now.  That’s how stale these tropes are.

So, why use those with an Asian inspired paranormal, I ask?

Like The Name of the Blade.  It could’ve been interesting.  I could’ve finished it very easily if it didn’t rely so heavily on these tropes.

The interesting this though, is that I’ve had discussions with other people about tropes.  They’re almost a part of YA, you’re going to have them regardless of how original the book claims.  And I’ll admit it, I like some tropes.  But what I don’t like is short cut tropes-aka instant love.

And the whole in love with an object/animal that the narrator personifies as human and then low and behold becomes human.

I always hate those sort of stories.

I think it’s why I never finished The Shiver trilogy.  When Mio started obsessing over the sword, I sort of knew I was a goner.

I should’ve known from the premiss though, it reeked cliche.  But the thing is, I’d have been okay with a little cliche.  Some cliche would’ve been nice and good.

And there I go back to the elephant in the room.

The cliches.

I feel like a lot of YA genres have been so influenced by cliches, that it just makes reading less than enjoyable it seems like a chore.

And that’s what The Name of the Blade felt like to me.  A chore.

I wasn’t reading it to get compelling characters, or an amazing plot.  Because hello, I’ve already read it already.  It was more or less a rehashing of the same story.

Can I just say something?

I’m tired of that feeling.  Tired of feeling like I read it before and what’s the point of reading it again.  It makes me feel like I’m in a hamster will.  A hamster will of never ending YA paranormals where the exact thing happens over and over again.

To reiterate: Twilight is about a decade old now.

Why are we still following this formula?

I have no idea, but what I do know is that books like The Name of Blade that have an interesting premises and use a mythology that most Westerners aren’t familiar with seem to have been hit the worst by this.

I theorize its because the editors want the audience to have a foot hold in something, The Twilight Saga.  But it really seems quite silly.  With proper world building it’s very easy to get use other types of mythology.  After all, lots of fantasy rely on made up mythologies so I really don’t see using Asian mythology is going to throw off a reader enough where you have to have a Twilight plot.

But that’s what it seems.

Sigh…in the end I ended up DNF-ing this one.  It wasn’t horribly written.  There were some occasional moments where I smiled, but there was nothing truly original about it and I was bored.

So there you go.

Overall Rating: DNF.  Not a total failure though, just  a big fat bore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s