The Night Itself (The Name of the Blade #1)
by Zoë Marriott
What is it about:
When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana - an ancestral Japanese sword - out of its hiding place in her parent's attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.
The paralysing paranoia that descends on her before she gets to her friend's party is her first clue. The vivid and terrifying visions that nearly get her killed are a pretty good warning too.
The giant nine-tailed cat demon that comes after the sword and tries to rip her throat out? Overkill.
Seconds away from becoming kitty-food, Mio is saved by Shinobu, a mysterious warrior boy. But it's already too late. Mio has ruptured the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and now the gods and monsters of ancient Japan stalk the streets of London, searching for her and the sword.
With the help of her best friend Jack, a fox spirit named Hikaru - and the devoted protection of the betwitchingly familiar Shinobu - Mio attempts to discover the true nature of the sword and its connection to the Yamato family. Because if she doesn't learn how to control the katana's incredible powers, she's in danger of being overwhelmed by them. And if she can't keep the sword safe from the terrible creatures who want it for their own, she'll lose not only her own life... but the love of a lifetime.
What did I think of it:
This is a really cool read.
I really liked the use of Japanese mythology combined with the London setting. The creature that's after Mio is creepy and fascinating at the same time. The story was suspenseful and full of action. Mio and her friends do get out of sticky situations a bit easy at times, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment.
The adults in Mio's life were all conveniently out of the picture, and apart from one scene at the start Mio and Jack are separated from the 'normal world' they usually interact with, but that didn't bother me too much either. I will confess I had wanted to know a bit more about why Mio and her father don't get along though.
I really liked Mio's best friend Jack, she is quirky and fun, although I wondered why she's introduced as only liking girls, but seems to be set up to end up with a boyfriend in later books. I seriously hope I'm reading this wrong, but am afraid to find out.
All in all this is a fun and action-packed YA read with an original use of setting and mythology. I will most probably pick up the next book in this trilogy somewhere in the future.
Why should you read it:
It's a fun Paronormal YA read.