“The Iris Fan” by Laura Joh Rowland

The Iris Fan: A Novel of Feudal Japan

(Author: Laura Joh Rowland) + (Year: 2014) + (Goodreads)


Review:

I’ve been reading the Sano Ichiro books for the bigger part of my teenage years, up until now. Considering the gap between the publication of each book, it’s sort of hard to keep track of the storyline. That’s also why I prefer reading a series after all of the books come out. But I’m not seeing an end to this.

What I think is positive about the Sano Ichiro series is that the books are not too long so the author doesn’t have enough time to make it too lame, like, for example, The Wheel of Time series. But much like the latter, repetitiveness is bound to appear. At the beginning of each book the characters are overcome by one single emotion which turns into their personality trait for the entire book and only changes at the end of the book. This time we had Sano as vengeful and proud, even though he has already lost so much, Reiko – devastaded by the loss of her baby, weak and scared, Yanagisawa, maybe the character who is most consecutive in his moods, still decided upon ruling the empire, and so on. This time around though, I was really annoyed by Reiko’s condition. As a character I’ve always found interesting, she was very off-putting with her constant weeping and self-pity.

The most unlikable part of this book, though, was Hirata‘s story. I’m firm in my belief that such an arch doesn’t have a place in a series which until a couple of books ago was pretty normal. I find it very convenient for the author that when she can’t solve a problem between the characters with normal means, she can just send her almighty magical characters. Thumbs down.

There were some interesting parts in the book, I can’t lie about that, but as a whole, it lacks a lot in comparison to the early installments, the weakest point being the magic, obviously. The rest of the things I didn’t like would be considered as spoilers so I’m just going to leave this as it is.

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