Thursday, December 29, 2016

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner

Many years ago in a land faraway, a baby was born.  His father went to war and never came back.  The new ruler intended to kill the sons of the defeated Samurai but the mother was very pretty.  He sends the boys to the monks in the hills to care for them.  Later he will be sorry he did that.  That baby might not even remember his father but he still has his proud heart and his will to succeed and put down his enemies.

Charlesbridge and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on the 2nd of February.

Set in medieval Japan, this story is fiction based on fact.  That makes it much more readable and makes you care about the characters within.  This is for young readers but it also has a lot of violence in it.  Don't give it a child who will be upset by beheadings or killings in general.

It's a fascinating look at the politics in this era.  The Emperor was like a god.  He chose which of his Samurai he would reward and gave them land to use for harvests and even let some of them keep part of the taxes he charged the other residents.  However, when the Samurai under him start fighting with each other he moves some place safe and waits to see how it turns out.

There are constant wars there.  People get slighted, people get disappointed, people don't agree.  Then the person that made them feel that way suddenly gets dead.  That usually creates another enemy.

The baby grows up and learns a bit about being a Samurai but he's still a young man when he goes to fight.  He's also not welcome.  One of his worst enemies is his half-brother and he has more than one.

Yoshitsune is a fine tactician but he has no people skills.  He does wondrous things in the field and ensures more than one battle ends in his half-brother's favor but he doesn't get the rewards he wanted and he's angry about that.

There's no happy ending for anyone in this story.  It's life and sometimes happy doesn't happen.  One thing I know, when you read this story, you'll be glad you're alive now... 

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