The Sword of Kaigen by M.L Wang

“Most strong things are rigid. If you are water, you can shift to fit any mold and freeze yourself strong. You can be strong in any shape. You can be anything.”

Love, Pain, Heartbreak, Peace, War, Life, Death, Joy, Anger, Sadness, Family, Religion, Culture, Beliefs.

The Sword of Kaigen: A Theonite war story, is not just a war story, it’s not even just a story, it’s a feeling, it’s an emotion. It’s a book that shows, that when executed properly, a book can control our emotions. And I think the author M. L. Want did great job of that.

I fell in and out of love with this book, had my heartbroken just for it to be put back together, cried tears just for them to be wiped away and replaced with a smile, had hope, just for it to be ripped away and brought back to me.

Now, you might be wondering what it is about this book, that’s got me on this emotional rollercoaster.

“I know you might feel broken, but we’re jijakalu. We’re water, and water can shift to fit any mold. No matter how we’re broken and reshaped, we can always freeze ourselves strong again. It’s not going to happen all at once,” she added. “You have to wait for the turn of the season to see what shape the ice will take, but it will form up, clear and strong. It always does.”

This book is set in one of the most unique worlds I’ve ever read. It didn’t remind me of any other book or story. It’s a war story that deals with not just the war but everything else. We get to know our characters, see them grow and develop right in front of us, get to love them. It also deals with sexism and feminism.
It’s a war story that does not just focus on the war but the aftermath, everything else that comes after it. It’s a fantasy book but it’s still very realistic. The magic in this book is elemental, but it’s not redundant. It’s not presented in the same old way we’re used to, the author takes it a step further and makes it her own. The book is also very unpredictable, I didn’t see one thing coming.

The story takes place mainly in Takiyubi, a village on a mountain, but that doesn’t make it one dimensional.

Like the blood of gods, the things Takayubi knew went back thousands of years, and they would echo, wordlessly, in the tolling of the temple bell, for a thousand more. They would remain like roots, no matter what wind or bombs came upon the mountain. Yammankalu might need jaseliwu to sing their history aloud for them to weather the centuries. Hadeans might need theirs written in books. The truth of Takayubi was something one felt, from the depths of the ocean and the roots of trees.

The writing was direct, simple but still effective and engaging. They were a few terms that took a bit of getting used to, but I didn’t mind. With the writing, the author was able to convey her message clearly without it getting boring. The world building was great, it wasn’t done in a tiresome way, and I understood the culture, religion and ways of the people without getting confused. The beginning of the book draws you in without you asking yourself “when does the fun bit start”.

They all had their unique personalities, they weren’t alike or one dimensional. No character was annoying to the point I wanted them dead, I believe that is a good thing.
Every character in this book had a reason for being in this book, had their roles and purposes. Yes, I do believe that they can be useless characters in a book but I don’t believe that this book has any.

I would recommend this book to people in a slump, people who want to start reading fantasy, people who love reading and people who hate reading.

Theresa Ijachi

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