Author: K. Bird Lincoln Series: Potential sequel Publisher: Self published Publication Date: April 2012 Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Pages: 277
Book Description: Lily isn’t supposed to hunt game in the Daimyo’s woods. She’s just the cook’s daughter. It isn’t her place to talk to nobility. And she definitely isn’t supposed to sing the forbidden old, Jindo religion songs.
But Lily was born in the year of the Tiger, and can’t ever be like other village girls. In the woods snaring rabbits one day, she finds instead the Daimyo’s son, Ashikaga, wounded, in the gooseberry brush. When the Pretender Emperor’s men arrive to kill Ashikaga, Lily, desperate, sings a forbidden Jindo song.
The song wakes a powerful spirit – as well as Ashikaga’s interest. The prickly lord has hidden secrets of his own and a burning desire to prove himself to his father. He will stop at nothing to defeat his father’s greatest enemy.
All Lily wants to do is take care of her sisters. But the Pretender-Emperor’s forces are drawing near, and now the Daimyo’s son knows she communes with Jindo gods. She wants to trust Ashikaga when he swears he will not tell her secret, but he is a noble – and Lily only a peasant. Lily’s heart is leading her down a dangerous path. She may have to defy her father, Ashikaga, and even the spirits themselves in order to defeat the Pretender-Emperor’s magic and keep safe all that she loves.
*Book read for Three Nerds and a Book Club’s September read*
This book isn’t one that I normally read in that the pace is a bit slow. The story, the pace and just the feel of the book was slower than many of the books I’ve been reading lately. Rather than action and adventure at the turn of every page, Lincoln took to the time for the reader to get to know the characters and their lives. A big part of this novel was the lifestyle of the characters; the differences between Lily and Prince Ashikaga.
While it may seem slow for many people, there was plenty of action or heart-racing moments. The story and the plot was fascinating and different. I thoroughly enjoyed reading a story set in historical Japan times (since a lot of novels I read seem to be western focused). The fantasy portion of this story was also very well done. It fit with the story as well as the location and time frame.
I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Lily and Prince Ashikaga grow and evolve and develop. The plot twist halfway through the story blew me away. I did not see it coming and it definitely put a whole new outlook on the relationship. The story ended with a powerful and intriguing confrontation, one I also did not expect to see but was glad to. The book ended with many things unanswered and I’m glad to hear that the author is considering writing a sequel.
While this story did take me longer than usual to read, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it and can’t wait to read what happens with Lily and Ashikaga next.
My Rating: ★★★★