Guest review by Kulsuma from sunshine and stardust
The second in the Blood Ninja trilogy; Lord Oda’s Revenge by Nick Lake, like its predecessor, promised action, gore and death. I am pleased to state that it delivered on all three counts. I wasn’t sure I would like Lord Oda’s Revenge as I felt the first book lacked character development; however this was not the case.
I felt much more sympathetic to Taro this time round because there were periods of contemplation in the book. He reflected on all that he had lost, friends and family he would never see again and a destiny that he never wanted. As if that wasn’t enough, he has self-esteem issues about his love interest and his love interest’s father wants to kill him!
Like Blood Ninja, Lord Oda’s Revenge starts off with a bang; immediately throwing the reader into the action. Already, there are twists in store that I never saw coming. After a brief recounting of the first book, the story follows Taro, Hiro and Hana as they journey to Mount Hiei in search of Taro’s mother whom he has not seen in almost a year. Though they are mindful of the dangers on the road, their old-friend-turned-nemesis Yukiko and the stone-cold Kenji Kira are close on their heels; hungry to fulfil Lord Oda’s deadly command.
There is a lot going on in this book which was great. I not only saw how the goodies such as Taro felt, but I was also permitted into the odious Lord Oda’s mind as well as Kenji Kira’s and Yukiko’s. While I detest them all for the things they did, I can somewhat understand why they did it. I really couldn’t wait for all these villains to get their come-uppance.
Though there were quite a few characters to keep track of, I found it remarkably easy to do so. There were a lot of journeys which gave me a sense of the incredible space the characters cover. The second half of the book was brilliant. Nick Lake out-did himself. It was very cinematic. I could completely visualise the abstract concepts Lake writes about such as death, hell and enlightenment.
I enjoyed the long, grim battle scenes that felt both fantastical and realistic. I really liked all the thought and research that went into writing Lord Oda’s Revenge. The small tales and fables that were interspersed throughout really added to the book. However, there were some characters that felt out of character at some points such as Lord Oda. I thought the book could have been shorter and still preserved its many good points.
One has to remember that this takes place in 16th century Japan and thus people viewed everything very differently; most notably the concept of honour. Ultimately, I really enjoyed Blood Ninja: Lord Oda’s Revenge. It was bloody, gruesome and unforgiving. If you hate blood, betrayals and beheadings, this is not for you. But if you love it, then what are you waiting for?
Interesting review, thank you Kulsuma!