Moments of Inertia by Rachel Crawford

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Emperor of the Eight Islands

Imagine a more magical Game of Thrones set in a kind of medieval faux-Japan: you’ve got your tengu, your fickle forest spirits, your sorcerors and witches, but that stuff is just supersition and faith to the noble families who vie for power and the samurai who protect and serve them. This is the world of Emperor of the Eight Islands, which is the first book in a series I’m itching to continue with. It’s pleasantly compact and quick-to-read, at about 250 pages of flowing prose. I’m not looking for volume in my reading diet these days, so more bite-size books are much more preferable to 600-page endurance-fests.

I won’t go into specifics about the story other than to say that while it certainly sets up its sequel, there’s enough meat on the bones to be worth reading on its own. The book just presented me with a very engaging place to be and characters to be with, so I thought I’d give it a recommendation. It’s succeeded in making me interested in checking out some of its source material – Japanese folk tales and old novels – where games and anime and that sort of thing haven’t quite. So who knows – maybe I’ll be reading The Tale of the Heike at some point down the line. If you happen to know of similar novels/comics/whatevers that might scratch the same itch, please let me know!

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