Sunday, January 4

Book Review: The Iris Fan by Laura Joh Rowland

Author: Laura Joh Rowland
Title: The Iris Fan (Sano #18)
Genre: Historical Fiction & Mystery 
Pages: 352
First Published: December 2014
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publish for my honest and unbiased opinion)

"Japan, 1709. The shogun is old and ailing. Amid the ever-treacherous intrigue in the court, Sano Ichirō has been demoted from chamberlain to a lowly patrol guard. His relationship with his wife Reiko is in tatters, and a bizarre new alliance between his two enemies Yanagisawa and Lord Ienobu has left him puzzled and wary. Sano’s onetime friend Hirata is a reluctant conspirator in a plot against the ruling regime. Yet, Sano's dedication to the Way of the Warrior—the samurai code of honor—is undiminished.


Then a harrowing, almost inconceivable crime takes place. In his own palace, the shogun is stabbed with a fan made of painted silk with sharp-pointed iron ribs. Sano is restored to the rank of chief investigator to find the culprit. This is the most significant, and most dangerous, investigation of his career. If the shogun's heir is displeased, he will have Sano and his family put to death without waiting for the shogun's permission, then worry about the consequences later. And Sano has enemies of his own, as well as unexpected allies. As the previously unimaginable death of the shogun seems ever more possible, Sano finds himself at the center of warring forces that threaten not only his own family but Japan itself."

This is the 18th and last book of the Sano series, however it stands alone pretty well. There were some backstories I missed out on (like Sano and Reiko getting together and their adventures), but besides for that it does stand alone pretty well. I am upset, because it IS the last of the series and I feel like I cheated. XI However, it has motivated me to go back to the beginning. :)

Oh my Atlanta there was so much going on with SO many characters and POVs. Alongside the main plot about the Shogun's stabbing there was about 5 mini plots going on: Sano and Reiko's marriage issues, a love story between Teiko and Masahiro, Hirata's possession, and so much more. At first it was a little overwhelming, but everything was connected and it seemed to flow much better after a couple chapters. Hirata being possessed by a ghost worried me, because I did not see how that was going to connect to the main plot, but eventually it made sense at the end. 

I honestly wasn't a huge fan of the supernatural bit...but I get why it happened and how it was important to the main plot. But still...meh.

Poor Sano and poor Reiko. They are both so angry and hurt by each other; if they honestly had a sit down chat and talked it through, their marriage could have been healed WAAAAAAAAAAY earlier. Again, COMMUNICATION PEOPLE! Whenever they did manage to talk to each other one would erupt and walk away. C'mon. I get both sides and how each one is in the wrong, but still...if only there was marriage therapy back then - all of the drama and hurt could have been avoided. 

Poor Taeko. :/ 

Poor everyone. There is a lot of drama alongside the political bullcrap and the mystery parts and I liked it. It was addictive and I HAD TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT! I did guess who stabbed the Shogun, but the motive and who "helped" the person was a mystery to me. I read 80% of it in one night. Boyfriend and his friend had a games night, (and since I was not included, because it was a two player game), so I read. I would have finished it off, but I couldn't keep my eyes closed, so off to bed with me. 

In the end, this was a good book.  There was a lot going on and at first it was hard keeping track of who was who and what was happening. Everything began to make sense and flow better after a couple chapters. The ending was good and so was the journey. I was not a big fan of the added supernatural bit, but I get WHY it was added. I am looking forward to starting at the beginning someday. I want to see how we got to this point. Anyone who loves Historical Fiction would like this book (maybe start at the beginning, LOL). I shall stamp this book with 4 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Reiko, Sano, Taeko, and Masahiro (even tho he really upset me at one point - he made it up, but still...)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Lady Yanagisawa, Yanagisawa (at first I liked him, but was all a lie), and Lord Ienobu 


Blodeuedd said...

Interesting time period :)

Carole Rae said...

It is, it is.

Anachronist said...

I love that time period so I must check out that series. Thanks :)

Carole Rae said...

So do I. I love the time period and Japan, so this was an awesome time.