This was a spontaneous read from my school library. I saw it displayed on the little plastic holders that just scream: ‘I’m new!’ and thought ‘Yep, I’ll read that’. As this was a completely unplanned read, I knew little about the plot or the author.
‘The Night Itself’ is about a girl called Mio who inherits this ancient sword. When she touches the sword, or katana to give it its proper name, she is drawn to it and finds that she can’t put it down. Some crazy stuff then happens because the sword has been unveiled, involving murder, kidnap and travelling into a different dimension. Great stuff!
The novel was really action packed – there was never a dull movement. I really enjoyed the relationship between Mio and her best friend, Jack, who was a girl and homosexual and that was not a big deal (it was lovely for this to be dealt with subtly.) When Shinobu arrived, an invisible boy who was trapped in the sword, romance is suddenly on the cards for Mio. This did feel quite rushed, but the author notes this herself, saying that Mio and Shinobu fell in love within 24 hours. Not completely unbelievable.
Basically, there were a lot of things I liked about this book. I thought that the Japanese mythology was woven in well, without alienating the audience with a lot of jargon. Things were explained in a way that was easy to understand. Excellent.
I thought that the ending was fairly rushed – I kind of lost my way a little bit, but I was speed reading, so this could have contributed to the struggle. I do love a good action scene, and I’m more than used to fight scenes because of my beloved Percy Jackson. In the end, though, I knew what was going on, which is the main thing.
I don’t know how many times I can say I enjoyed this book. One fault, however, was the borderline racist description of the main character’s eyes. Obviously, she and Shinobu were of Japanese descent but that was obvious because of their names. On the other hand, on GoodReads, the author did apologise for the description, and I’m sure has worked hard to correct herself in the sequel that came out in June this year.
Something different about this book was the female protagonist. After reading a lot of Rick Riordan, it was nice to see a girl take the lead role as a mythological descendant. I’d recommend this to anyone that does enjoy Rick’s writing, but is looking for a plot that is a lot less hard core.
Overall, I’d give ‘The Night Itself’ 3 stars. I was impressed, but it didn’t wow me. Compared to my favourite books that received 5 star reviews, this novel was exciting and kept me gripped but didn’t leave me wanting more after the final page. Perhaps if the library gets the second book in the series, I will continue to enjoy Mio’s world!