Title: Toru: Wayfarer Returns
Author: Stephanie R. Sorenson
Published: February 16th 2016
Length: 274 ages
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
So I just realised that the books from my last TBR couldn’t have been more varied in terms of their genre! I find it keeps me motivated and interested in reading, if I keep switching up the genres I’m less likely to get bored or fall into a reading slump! This book is a steam punk/urban fantasy which I actually don’t think I’ve read before. The one thing I appreciated is that the blurb didn’t give away too much, you went in knowing the basis/foundation of the story but you weren’t spoiled for the anything! Generally, I really enjoyed this book, here’s the synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)
‘Revolutionary young samurai with dirigibles take on Commodore Perry and his Black Ships in this alternate history steampunk technofantasy set in 1850s samurai-era Japan.
In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as the commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial values decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation’s closed borders like vultures, growing ever more demanding.
T ru, a shipwrecked young fisherman rescued by American traders and taken to America, defies the Shogun’s ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland from foreign invasion. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, T ru must transform the Emperor’s realm before the Black Ships come.
T ru: Wayfarer Returns is the first book in the Sakura Steam Series, an alternate history of the tumultuous period from the opening of Japan in 1853 to the Meiji Restoration in 1868. This volume covers the year prior to the American Commodore Perry’s arrival in Japan and follows the hero and his young allies as they lead Japan through a massively compressed industrial revolution, dramatically altering that pivotal moment in history.
While T ru and his dirigibles are fictional, the story unfolds against the backdrop of the “real” Japan of that period, with historical figures and their political environment woven into the tale, staying true to their motivations and agendas even as the alternate history warps their actions, history and a few laws of physics. Underpinning the adventure plot is a young man’s yearning for his father’s approval and an honorable place in his world.’
Characters: Let’s start by talking about the characters, Toru is this comes back from America with a renewed passion to be involved in developing Japan, and helping defend it! He’s a lovable character and the portrayal of his sincerity in saving his country really does come through in the writing style. I genuinely believed that he had no ulterior motives! Masuyo was a character with ideas and perspectives the reader and even Toru deemed to be ahead of her time. Being a woman in that time was enough to keep you in the shadows, stripping any independence you could have, let alone being a Lady! She was a feisty, yet realistic character, she knew which battles to fight and when to back down as she already saw another opportunity approaching!
World Building: I don’t know much about modern Japanese culture, let alone 1850s, so initially I worried I wouldn’t be able to full immerse myself in the story. BUT the world building in this book was just so good! The author found ways to connect the culture of that time to the current time, so the reader could at least somewhat relate to Toru and his story.
Plot: Okay, so I feel like it’s really dangerous to talk about this plot because the blurb doesn’t reveal anything at all, so I’m going to say this. There was a build up to the plot that helped you still follow the story yet it didn’t really spoil anything, HOWEVER I just didn’t find that there were any mind blowing plot twist.
For a first read of genre I really enjoyed this, I would recommend this to pretty much anyone, but if you have an interest in politics or enjoy reading historical fiction I definitely think it’s worth checking out! I’ve written up quite a few reviews but I don’t want to just spam you with posts so I’ll have a discussion post up tomorrow! The topic is how I keep organised, from the books I’ve received to review to the posts I have to upload etc.
Thanks again for tuning in peeps, next up discussion post!