This is an interesting novel, and I think it’s fair to say it’s certainly not your typical fantasy fare. It’s dark, gritty and surprisingly disturbing but for all that I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it, though I’m guessing it might not be to everyone’s taste.
This is a fantastic book. It’s an exhilarating mix of Chinese wuxia action and Japanese folklore, all wrapped up in a tapestry of well-drawn characters and high octane fight sequences. This is what happens when you throw a bunch of carefully selected tropes and motifs into a blender and pour the results onto the page. In a word, delicious.
Before I get into the meat of my review let me get one thing out of the way right now. This book is almost seventy years old, written before we had any real understanding of what Mars was like. We hadn’t even managed to get anything into orbit when this book first came out, so there’s bound to be a bit of a separation between the science and technology we know now and what this book asserts. Got that? Good.