The Future of Mystical Japan: The Shattering Waves by James Calbraith

The Future of Mystical Japan: The Shattering Waves by James CalbraithThe Shattering Waves by James Calbraith
Series: The Year of the Dragon #7

Published by Flying Squid on May 15th 2016
Also by this author: The Shadow of Black Wings, The Warrior's Soul, The Islands in the Mist, The Rising Tide, The Chrysanthemum Seal, The Withering Flame, The Last Dragon King
Also in this series: The Shadow of Black Wings, The Warrior's Soul, The Islands in the Mist, The Rising Tide, The Chrysanthemum Seal, The Withering Flame, The Last Dragon King
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 298
Format: ebook
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It is the time of Darkness, as prophesied by the priests and soothsayers. Armies clash, cities burn. The sparks of hope are few and scattered.

The Kiheitai, leaderless and purposeless after the disastrous Battle of Heian, flee to the harbour city of Naniwa. Hiding among them, Bran and Nagomi plot to release Sato from the clutches of the Serpent. In the South, Dylan, Gwen and Edern assist the rebel army marching against the Taikun, just as the Gorllewin dragon riders begin to have second thoughts about their alliance with the Fanged.

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We’re almost at the end of an epic story. Today I’m talking about the seventh, the penultimate, book of The Year of the Dragon series, The Shattering Waves by James Calbraith. As always, this review might contain spoilers if you haven’t read the previous books.

The Shattering Waves starts off where The Withering Flame left off. The civil war is ongoing with the southern daimyos uniting against the taikun. The rebel army is slowly diminishing after several disappointing encounters. Civilians join, but they are nowhere near as experienced with war as trained samurai are.

As with the previous books, some of the major players in the war have secret agendas. Some more obvious than others. The grand plan of the The Eight Headed Serpent is revealed though. One of them reveals their motives and with that, the biggest mystery of the series is revealed.

Bran is doing the best he can to save his friends. Sato is taken by the abominations and Nagomi is still an outlaw. With her copper hair, she stands out even more than before, and she’s separated from her bear companion. With no one to protect her, Bran takes up this task again. Her visions show her where she’s needed and Bran accompanies her. In the end both want to save their friend.

Sato was taken by one of the serpents. They want her to become one of them. The magic she used to save Bran’s leg was just a start. They’re trying to break her. With the help of some torture techniques, they’re manipulating in giving up on her friends, since they are all she has.

Nagomi shows the most growth as a character. She also made an attempt to break the fourth wall by talking about being the hero of her own story. She has always seen herself as a sidekick for Bran and Sato. At the end of the book she has decided to be the hero of her own story.

It’s a book that needed to be written as a continuation of the story, but it doesn’t have a highlight such as some of the previous books have. The style is still fast paced, action packed, and using the right rhythm to keep you reading. With three stars out of five it’s enough to keep reading, to see what the last book brings.

About James Calbraith

James Calbraith is a Poland-born British writer, foodie and traveler.

Growing up in communist Poland on a diet of powdered milk, Lord of the Rings and soviet science-fiction, he had his first story published at the ripe age of eight. After years of bouncing around Polish universities, he moved to London in 2007 and started writing in English.

His debut historical fantasy novel, The Shadow of Black Wings, has reached Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finals in 2012. “The Year of the Dragon” saga sold over 30,000 copies worldwide.

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