This book got me the second I saw the cover. As you can see, the German edition is very Asian looking and the red, gold, black and white in combination with the cover motive kind of fascinated me. It has been a while, some years to be honest, that I´ve read the authors Tale of Otori saga. The author´s passion for Japan and how she writes about the countries traditions and the moral view is quite beautiful but not boring or kitschy. As always, you can find the cover of the original paperback at the end of my review. 

Herrscher Der Acht Inseln*
by Lian Hearn
Die Legende Von Shikanoko #1
Translation Sibylle Schmidt
Original Title The Tale Of Shikanoko – Emperor Of The Eight Islands
Publisher Fischer Sauerländer on August 24, 2017
Genre Young Adult
Pages 578
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

“Now is your name Shikanoko – child of the deer.” He put the mask on his face and felt the strength of the deer and the ancient wisdom of the woods penetrate him, and knew that he would never assume a different name.(personal translation ©Vi at Inkvotary) 
Shikanoko has survived the fall from a mountain cliff. But the price he has to pay for being alive is tremendous. His uncle wants his dead, a powerful man wants to control him and the woman he loves is out of his reach. Only the dark powers are willing to help him. But with them, danger and death are always near. To gain back what is rightfully his, he must learn to control his new abilities and defeat his uncle.

Lian Hearn is no author of the loud tones. Her writing style is decent, classy, melodious, and soft. There is a hint of elegance and every word matters. There is some brutality to find in her stories, but even in the bloodiest scenes, the style is simple and effective. The story is full of intrigues, eagerness for power, passion, hate, and the thirst for revenge. The Tale of Shikanoko is a novel that lets you dive into the ancient life and traditions of Japan where honor is everything and a man can´t afford to lose face. The broad variety of words and the diversified story is told over various lines of action that work very harmonic over the ongoing novel. The mixture of tradition, mystic, and ancient believes combined with beautifully created figures lets you see and feel the pain, hunger, and despair some of them must endure. Destiny and faith are a huge part of everything going on in this very complex story. Men are greedy for more power; the destiny of the country is at stake and only one man is able to fulfill the destiny of the real emperor. But will he succeed?

Lian Hearn has created characters who are strong and weak at the same time. Magic brings out the worst in a man, women are seen as a man´s belonging but not equal and ghosts are everywhere. But don´t expect very profound characters. Yes, they all have endured at some point some cruelty, have suffered a loss, and are not living the life they actually wanted. Or what is rightfully theirs. But the author isn´t going too deep into that. She tells a bit about it, scratches a bit on the surface, just enough to keep you fascinated, but never too much to give you a hint of how the story could unfold. That way you get a picture that is part of the book and part of your own fantasy.

With this book, the author starts her new The Tale of Shikanoko Saga and introduces you to the important main figures. It is no fast-paced read, that´s for sure. But if you are in for some ancient Asian traditions, lifestyle, believes, and setting, then this might be the right choice for you. I had a really good time while reading it and think it continues the style Lian Hearn showed during her Tales of Otori Saga. See for yourself. 

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer Sauerländer in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

*Title was originally published as The Tale Of Shikanoko-Emperor Of The Eight Islands by Hachette Australia as a paperback on May 30, 2017. 

Lian Hearn
Lian Hearn ©Klim Daskyuk

Lian Hearn was born in 1942 and grew up in Nigeria and the UK. She studied modern languages and subsequently worked as a film critic and editor in the UK before emigrating to Australia. She is the author of numerous children´s and young adult books, for which she has received several awards. A lifelong interest in Japan and its culture led her to learn Japanese and to travel the country countless times. Lian Hearn now lives in Goolwa, Australia.


No comments:

Note: By submitting your commentar, you accept that the comment you write, and the personal information associated with it (e.g. username, email address, linked profile on Google/Wordpress) will be transmitted to Google servers. You can find more information in my privacy policy and in Google´s Privacy Policy.

Hinweis: Mit dem Abschicken deines Kommentars akzeptierst du, dass der von dir geschriebene Kommentar und die personenbezogenen Daten, die damit verbunden sind (z.B. Username, E-Mail-Adresse, verknüpftes Profil auf Google/Wordpress) an Google-Server übermittelt werden. Weitere Informationen dazu findest du in meiner Datenschutzerklärung und in der Datenschutzerklärung von Google.