Nikko Lee's Reviews > Heart of the Ronin

Heart of the Ronin by Travis Heermann
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Feb 24, 11


Why I listened to this audiobook?
In generally, I am fascinated by all things Japanese. I'd heard Heart of the Ronin by Travis Heermann promo'ed on Myr Lafferty's 'I Should Be Writing' podcast then again on Adventures in SciFi Publishing. These promos coincided with the December release of the Kindle version of the book, even though the print and audiobooks were released in 2009.

My one sentence summary:
Ken'ichi, a wandering Ronin raised by a Tengu, searches to find his place in a politically volatile world.

Kuddos:
As I said at the start, I love everything connected to feudal Japan. Heermann is at his best when he switches into storyteller mode, and Ken'ichi is relating the stories from his upbringing. The interlude with the fox is particularly intriguing. The fight scenes are action-packed, and the characters appealing.

Quibbles:
This story confused me. At times, I felt it oscillated between middle grade novel and an explicit story. The sexual references are clunky and clash with the supposed innocence of the characters.

The overall tone is uneven. Characters are not consistent in their actions, personalities, and knowledge. The plot feels more like a collection of episodes rather than the progression of a unified story. There is no end. Granted this book is meant to be the first of a series, however, even books in a series must be books onto their own.

Perhaps the least enjoyable part of listening to this audiobook was fighting my inner editor. Even though this book has been put in print by a publisher, it felt poorly edited. Words were repeated often. Sentences are awkward. The production of the audiobook was not without its own flaws.

Final verdict:
I honestly wish this book was a middle-grade Ronin adventure fable. It's got some solid characters but major flaws. Had I paid to read this book, I would have been disappointed. It makes me reconsider the quality of my own work. I know how hard it is to finish a novel, let alone bring it to publication. However, this book feels like a trunk novel. It pains me to say so because I know someone might look at Between Love and Lust and think the same thing.
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