Friday, September 9, 2016

Book: "Nightblade" by Ryan Kirk

I'm not going to lie to you. "Nightblade" by Ryan Kirk is about ninjas. Except that the 'N' word is never uttered in the book.

So I finished "Nightblade" the other day. Today I started on book two (which tells you a bit of what I thought of book one). I've been trying to figure out why I loved "Nightblade" so much but disliked "Keeper of the Eye" so much.

Both have a protagonist who is a born badass. I guess I just liked the point-of-view scenes offered in "Nightblade" that made the hero's journey less-obnoxious.

I guess I should rewind a bit. "Nightblade" is about three people in a not-quite-pseudo-Japan land known as the Southern Kingdom. Ryuu is a boy orphaned at an early age and adopted by Shigeru, a badass who saves Ryuu and trains him to be an utter and complete badass of all badasses in a land with a fair number of badasses. Moriko is born with a similar badass ability (they call it "the sense" in the books) and becomes a different kind of badass. And poor Takao, a beautiful girl sold into prostitution for her father's debts. Yeah, you see how that's going to go.

"Nightblade" is a solid, entertaining tale of three young people caught up in a seriously fucked-up life situation due to circumstances beyond their control. Turns out two of them have superpowers. And bad stuff happens.

I'm not inclined to get more detailed. Honestly, if you've watched any kind of ninja story about the protagonist being a gifted badass who lays waste to all other badasses, you know this tale.

For all that, Ryan Kirk does a fantastic job with both his characters and his narrative. Amazon's recommendations have almost redeemed themselves by how much I enjoyed "Nightblade". I didn't even hesitate to get the other two books in the series.

I'm just praying he doesn't go Anthony Ryan on me and flame out after book one, but I'm into book two ("World's End") and it seems solid thus far.

There's parts of "Nightblade" I did not enjoy, truth be told. There's some horrific stuff that happens to characters who do not deserve it. I found some scenes a bit stomach-wrenching for my tastes. Still, overall I enjoyed the series enough that I'll read the other two books. I'm invested now.

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