Friday, 15 August 2014

Review - The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott

The Night Itself (The Name of the Blade, #1)
A breathtaking new urban fantasy trilogy from the critically acclaimed, award winning author of The Swan Kingdom and Shadows on the Moon.

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 betwitchingly 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.

I love unique urban fantasy and I love Japanese mythology, so I jumped at the chance to read Zoe Marriott’s first YA fantasy which takes place in our own world. Set in modern-day London, The Night Itself follows fifteen-year-old Mio Yamato, whose decision to borrow the ancestral sword that once belonged to her grandfather to liven up her costume for her birthday party has unexpected consequences. The katana was meant to stay hidden for a reason, and now an ancient evil is unleashed on London.

I absolutely loved the characters. Mio is a strong, independent lead with a supportive best friend in Jack, and their interactions leap off the page. Shinobu, the warrior trapped inside the sword, is a swoonworthy hero, and I really like how Zoe turned the ‘insta-love’ trope into something not only convincing, but emotional and compelling.

The world-building is just as compelling as Zoe’s wonderful fantasy novels, and I love the way the modern world of London is juxtaposed with the spirit realm of Kitsune. This book is action-packed from start to finish. There are terrifying monsters, nail-biting fight scenes, and twists and turns throughout. A fantastic start to what’s sure to be a favourite trilogy!

Rating: 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I haven't heard of Zoe Marriott before, but this book of hers sounds fantastic. (I adore fantasy, so no wonder, haha.) Think I'll need to add this to my wishlist!