Welcome to one of the July 12th stops on the blog tour for Sairō’s Claw by Virginia McClain with Storytellers on Tour. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, and author guest post content!
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About the Book
Gensokai Kaigai Book One
by Virginia McClain
Published 7 May 2021
Genre: Fantasy Action-Adventure, LGBTQIA+
Page Count: 471
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
An action-adventure fantasy romp featuring sword lesbians, sea battles, and a grumpy wolf spirit.
Torako has done many things to protect the valley that she calls home, but she’s never looted a corpse before. So when the katana she steals off the still-cooling body of a bandit turns out to be possessed by a grumpy wolf kami, she can only assume it’s because she’s somehow angered the spirits. An impression that’s only reinforced when she returns home to find her wife abducted and her daughter in hiding. But angry spirits or no, Torako isn’t about to let bandits run off with the love of her life, even if it means taking their 3 year old on a rescue mission.
In all Kaiyo’s years as Captain of the Wind Serpent she has never once questioned her admiral’s orders. So when she receives the command to abduct a civilian scribe with the help of fifteen felons, she registers her objections, but does as she is bid. Yet, as the mission unfolds, Kaiyo finds herself questioning everything from her loyalties to her convictions.
As Torako and Kaiyo’s fates cross like dueling blades, their persistence is matched only by their fury, until they uncover a series of truths they may never be ready to accept.
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My Rating: 4 Stars
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I was granted complimentary access to Sairō’s Claw as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Storytellers on Tour. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honset.
I would like to start off by saying YES!!! to all of the awesome Japanese cultural references! As someone who grew up in a host family for a Japanese school district’s exchange program in Canada, this was both a fresh, new adventure and also so nostalgic to all of the stories I eagerly sat and listened to a bunch of teenagers tell me on random school nights in elementary school. I was also just absolutely grinning to find that one of the main characters is named Kaiyo, as one of my favourite students who passed through our home was also a Kaiyo.
This is an epic novel, both in length (nearly 500 pages) and in the sheer scope of the story. It’s fast-paced and very detailed. This is a world builder’s dream, it has plot in spades, and the characters are very well-rounded and real. The way this book ended up landing in my busy review schedule was a bit intimidating given its length, but it was such an interesting read that I didn’t mind staying up late to get it done.
At times I let my screen reader help me out, but it really struggled with the names so alas it was a bit of a trade-off. (Kaiyo, for example, somehow became Ko. Don’t ask, I don’t know.) Anybody else who routinely lets screenreaders help out and has become accustomed to the robo voice that sometimes pronounces things a little off is probably going to be uncomfortably reminded that it is indeed a robo voice that pronounces things wrong unless you’ve got one that can read in English but pronounce Japanese words. This is by no means the fault of the author or book, again I love the cultural injection and obviously, a proper human audiobook narrator would be coached on pronunciations if necessary, I only mention this for the benefit of fellow screenreader enthusiasts who may be about to embark on this particular adventure.
I both see that this book is listed as the first in a series and people saying that it stands on its own well and also see people referring to other books by this author set in the same world. This is my first encounter with Virginia McClain’s work, so I can’t comment on whether or not this book ties into previous books, but I can say it does indeed read just fine on its own. I didn’t feel like there was anything left off the page that was necessary to understand the plot or how this world works. I’m definitely curious about this author’s other books and would certainly not be opposed to continuing to review this series.
I also wanted to mention before I close off that there’s a lot of great, positive LGBTQIA+ representation in its book, and I really appreciate it.
If you like big books (and you cannot lie) and stories steeped in folklore, check out Sairō’s Claw!
About the Author
Virginia McClain is an author who masqueraded as a language teacher for a decade or so. When she’s not reading or writing she can generally be found playing outside with her four-legged adventure buddy and the tiny human she helped to build from scratch. She enjoys climbing to the top of tall rocks, running through deserts, mountains, and woodlands, and carrying a foldable home on her back whenever she gets a chance. She’s also fond of word games, and writing descriptions of herself that are needlessly vague.
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