An antique Japanese sword causes havoc in contemporary London in this series opener.
Growing up in the U.K., Mio has little knowledge of her Japanese heritage. What she does have comes mostly from her late grandfather, who on one unforgettable occasion showed her their family’s heirloom katana. Mio knows it’s stupid to use a priceless family treasure as part of her costume for a Christmas party, but she can’t resist the temptation to accessorize with the Japanese long sword. Of course, when she removes the katana from its hiding place, she unwittingly awakens its powers and unleashes a monster from Japanese myth on London. In her first foray into urban fantasy, Marriott (Shadows of the Moon, 2012) wears her influences on her sleeve. Many details of the plot will feel familiar to fans of shonen manga and anime, like Tite Kubo’s Bleach or Kazue Kato’s Blue Exorcist. While Mio’s wry narration is appealing, her romance with Shinobu, a boy linked to the katana, progresses too quickly to instant love to be compelling. In the end, it’s a shame the London setting isn’t more fully explored, as the contrast between the setting and the use of Japanese myth has the potential to make this otherwise derivative adventure feel fresh.
Fast-paced but forgettable. (Urban fantasy. 13-16)