Tuesday, May 12, 2009

HEART OF THE RONIN by Travis Heermann

My husband swiped this one from my stack of ARCs and I only just pried it out of his hands. While it reads like Young Adult Fantasy, it's borderline with graphic content. HH read this, not me, and he calls it 'PG-13' according to the movie rating system. It probably isn't anything a 13 year old wouldn't see at the movies, but, you know, use your discretion. If it's a gift and you don't know how the parents feel, ask them first. Show a little respect. On the Enduring Romance Heat Level, I'd rank it as Sensual, but very well done.
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Anyway, on with the review.
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HEART OF THE RONIN is Fantasy inspired by and set in the Japanese Middle Ages and the author is a confessed Star Wars fan. If the ending doesn't please you, don't lose heart. This is the first in a trilogy.
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Ken'ishi is an orphan raised by a stork-like creature who taught him how to fight and the ways of the sword. Ken'ishi has no idea the sword in question belonged to his father. He grows up and sets out to find a lord to swear his loyalty too, because a warrior without a lord to be loyal to is nobody. On his wonders he meets up with a constable and is challenged in honorable combat. He defeats the older man, but the powers that be don't respect that it was honorable and so Ken'ishi flees.
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Ken'ishi encounters a beautiful Samarai's daughter, Kazuko, and her maid, and rescues them from attacking demons. The maid is injured. Ken'ishi and Kazuko carry the maid home on a stretcher and fall in love along the way.
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Once the they arrive to Kazuko's home, they find her father grateful for her rescue, but not at all pleased with their romance. Ken'ishi is just a Ronin, a warrior without loyalty to any lord. And the Samarai has arranged for Kazuko to marry someone else, a powerful lord more than twice her age. The husband-to-be isn't a bad guy, but, hey, she doesn't love him. The Samarai won't have Ken'ishi swear loyalty to him, because he knows Ken'ishi is in love with his daughter and will mess up the marriage he's arranged for her. This is the Japanese Middle Ages we're talking about and girls, especially noble ones, didn't get to marry who they wanted. It's her duty to marry who her father tells her to and dishonorable to refuse and all that. However, before the young couple are parted, they discover the difference between making love and just having sex.
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And so Ken'ishi is parted from the girl he loves and with no lord to be loyal to he is still a Ronin, a nobody.
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This book was released in February and should still be at Barnes & Noble. Here's the author's very cool website- http://www.travisheermann.com/

4 comments:

Yunaleska said...

Roughly how much of the book contains content? Glad of the heads up :)

Kimber An said...

Good morning, Yuna.

It has the kind of violence you'd expect from the Fantasy genre and just one love scene. The book isn't listed as YA as far as I can tell, probably because of the love scene.

Kimber An said...

Oh, my husband just told me there's one other scene. The Hero saves the life of a harlot later on in the story and ends up accepting her, ahem, gratitude, which is probably why this novel was not published by Harlequin.

Yunaleska said...

Thank you for this. If I see it in the library, I might give it a go. If not, I won't necessarily buy it :)