Disciple of the Wind (Fated Blades #3)

4aead39a3709b49364d78e03a6dd3775This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Disciple of the Wind

Series: Fated Blades

Author: Steve Bein

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Police Procedural

Pages: 528

 

 

Synopsis:

2 storylines this time around instead of 3. Thankful for that.

 

Modern Day:

Mariko must continue to hunt down Joko Daishi, the insane but genius mastermind who is the Leader of the Divine Wind. Only she has to do it on her own, as she’s been kicked out of the police force. And it turns out there is another group interested in bringing down the Divine Wind. Only Mariko isn’t sure she can work with this new group.

 

Historical:

Daigoro is still on the run from Shichio but now a mistress of politics and intrigue, Nene, enters the fray, hoping to lure them both to a mutual destruction for political gain for her husband. Can Daigoro survive Nene, Shichio AND the backstabbing of former allies?

And a mystical blade, one that gives immortality, is mixed up in it all.

 

My Thoughts:

Whoowhee!   Now this was a fun ride. While the transition from the first book, Daughter of the Sword, to the second book, Year of the Demon, was like a complete cut with brand new storyline, etc, this book was practically a direct continuation from Year of the Demon.

I did deduct a half star for lack of sword fighting, but the more I read, the more I realize that the Inuzama blades are more about their reality shaping powers than their battle prowess.

The pacing and cutoff points between the Modern Day and Historical Times was excellently done and kept me reading. I read most of this in one day. Came home from church, plopped down on the couch and just tore through it like a starving man into a steak.

In the afterwords, Bein did state who the model for this cover was [one Sayuri Oyamada] but I’m not sure if she’s been the model for the previous covers or not. Either way, once again, I love the cover. Exotic Woman with Deadly Weapon = Good Stuff.

Bein also mentioned a novella that accompanies this book, Streaming Dawn, which I’m assuming will be like the previous short story. I’m off to hunt it down now.

 

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Only A Shadow (Fated Blades #0.5)

4a5e9a37e09efc5289cb24655b9cf105 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: Only A Shadow

Series: Fated Blades #0.5

Author: Steve Bein

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 61

 

Synopsis:

A ninja clan must disgrace a local leader whose goal is to wipe them out. They must steal his Fated Blade, which will then allow them to destroy him.

The old crafty ninja-master is training a young man and part of the training is out-smarting the young man so he’ll realize that wisdom takes time to accumulate.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a fun little short story about one of the Fated Blades.

It was an adventure story with the stealing of the Blade. It was a teaching tale with the old ninja out-smarting the double-crossing young man. And finally, it was a Fated Blade Story, enough said.

The page count is a little mis-leading, as the story ends around page 45 and the rest was an excerpt from the first Fated Blade book, Daughter of the Sword. I really dislike when those type of things happen, even while I understand why the publishers keep doing it.

There was NO fantasy element to this story, nor any cross-over to present time with Mariko. I was a little disappointed, as I like the Mariko storylines more than the historical ones. However, this was still a great story and to be honest, I’d recommend someone trying this short story out if they weren’t sure of starting the series.

Bein is a good writer, and sadly, that is more of a compliment than it should be. However, it is refreshing to read a well written short story that isn’t boring or full of cardboard characters.

Year of the Demon (Fated Blades #2)

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Year of the Demon

Fated Blades #2

Author: Steve Bein

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

Mariko is now in the NARC department, with a new partner. She crosses paths with a delusional psycho cult leader who is in possession of a magic mask that has an affinity for weapons and her blade specifically.

The 2 historical storylines are about the making of the mask and an encounter between Victory Unsought and the Mask later on.

 

My Thoughts

I have to admit, I read the first book, Daughter of the Sword, because the cover showed an incredibly cute asian woman with a sword. Well, the cover for this book is even better in my opinion.

I think this is classified as Urban Fantasy, but the fantasy part is so slight that you might miss it if you sneeze. Plus, 2 of the 3 storylines take place in Historical Japan, not modern day.

Mariko’s storyline about the psycho cult leader was pretty good, but was more of a “plucky girl gets her mojo back” storyline than anything else. And there was no sword fighting. Also, the whole Sword and Mask thing didn’t seem to be a big part of this line of the story.

Which brings us to the second storyline. About Daigoro and his continued fight for his and his house’s survival. The Mask and Sword were focused on much more and there was lots of intrigue, fighting, politic’ing and moments of “ah ha!” that I enjoyed. We get to see how the Mask really affects its wearer.

And that leads us to the final storyline. The young girl Kaida who is a diver. Her little village sees a huge shipwreck and several days later some very scary men come to look for something specific in the wreck. One of the men makes the Mask and it is very evident that Arcane Powers are used and infused into the Mask.

All 3 storylines wrap up satisfactorily. Unfortunately, as I noted earlier, Mariko doesn’t get any sword fighting time. I was hoping for another sword fight duel in Tokyo, much like in the first book. Oh well, maybe in the next book.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Daughter of the Sword

Daughter of the SwordDaughter of the Sword

Fated Blades #1

Steve Bein

4 of 5 Stars

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this “Special Swords” book.

The 4 storylines, [1 current, 3 historical for each of the swords], eh, I wouldn’t have minded if the story had been all in the 21st century, but the history gave us the background and depth needed to make the current storyline have some “oomph”.

Samurai, swords, cops and killers. If the author writes more, I’ll be reading…