Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sword of Kaigen” as Want to Read:
The Sword of Kaigen
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sword of Kaigen


4.48  ·  Rating details ·  1,133 ratings  ·  328 reviews
A mother struggling to repress her violent past,
A son struggling to grasp his violent future,
A father blind to the danger that threatens them all.

When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?

High on a mountainside at the edge
Kindle Edition, 651 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by M.L. Wang
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sword of Kaigen, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
M.L. Wang Not at all! While SoK takes place in the same universe as the Theonite Series, it is a standalone story with its own self-contained plot.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,133 ratings  ·  328 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Sword of Kaigen
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Poppy War & Asian-inspired military fantasy fans
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

5 stars from start to finish for this exceptional Japanese-inspired military fantasy standalone. As of this moment, The Sword of Kaigen has become not only one of the four best self-published books Ive ever read, but also my personal number one favorite self-published book.

This is one of those books where I just want to write Please buy it and read it. Its fucking amazing! as my entire review. This book came out of nowhere and it
Chaima ✨ شيماء
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chaima ✨ شيماء by: Petrik
The Kusanagi Peninsula bred warriors, and not just any warriors, but the fiercest that ever were. Years of defending the Kaigenese Empire against its foreign enemies earned the province the nickname the Sword of Kaigen, and enshrined it as deeply as any truth whispered to the gods before an altar.

Fourteen-year-old Matsuda Mamoru wants to claim his legacy as the son of the most eminent warrior family in the Kusanagi Peninsula, but it is too hot to the touch. Mamorus friendship with Kwang
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hamad by: Petrik
This ReviewBlog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

You learn over time that the world isnt broken. Its just got more pieces to it than you thought. They all fit together, just maybe not the way you pictured when you were young.

★ I have to agree with the quote above, the pieces of this book fit together perfectly! You cant understand the crazy expectations I had for this book and yet it was able to blow me away! I have some bold confessions: Best Self-published book I ever read, Best Fantasy
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
5 Stars (Masterpiece)

The Sword of Kaigen is a masterpiece in standalone fantasy writing and the story and characters are so captivating that the story transcended into an emotional and deeply rooted literary experience!!

I admit I have a real soft spot for well written, plotted and developed fantasy books. Theres something about the fantasy genre that lifts me from my everyday life and catapults me into pure bliss. The Sword of Kaigen represents the BEST that a fantasy book could elicit from a
TS Chan
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every fantasy fan
Recommended to TS by: Petrik
Simply phenomenal. A true masterpiece. The Sword of Kaigen is a stunning achievement of empathetic and masterful storytelling.

Every once in a while, a book comes along that sinks its hooks and claws into your very soul. It transcends beyond what a 5-star book usually means to me. It is a book that I will plead, beg and maybe even force everyone to read, so that they can experience the same awe and emotions as I did.  Thus far, I have not gone down the road of awarding 6 stars to some of my
Mayim de Vries
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We are the Sword of Kaigen. If weve let it rust, then we deserve to die on it, along with our enemies.

It is 3:27 AM and I finished reading the book. There are 73 people among my friends who want to read it too. If you are one of them, do this today. If you are notdo it anyway.

I dont think enjoyment is an apt word to describe my experience with The Sword of Kaigen. It took me a while to compose this review because even now I do not know how to put together a coherent sentence that could portray
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spfbo-2019
*A book I read for #SPFBO as a judge and which I quickly fell for as a fan*

**Trigger warning: Rape, Abuses of various kinds, Violence, extreme War.**

Onto the full review:

This is a story set in an icy landscape on a mountainside. The book draws heavily on Asian culture and there are many parallels with Japanese training and family structures, and this is something I think has been done very well. For a frozen mountain at the end of the Empire this spit of land is home to some of the most prolific
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Sword of Kaigen delivers the kind of fantasy you did not know you needed, and leaves you wanting more. If its not on your BEST OF 2019 list, you must not have read it yet.

THIS BOOK! It is the surprise of the year for me, up to now. It should not have been. Petrik did tell me to read it. TS loved it too. All my other friends who have read it since have loved it. And yet it still surprised me with its AWESOMENESS. I should have read it sooner, but you know how it is - sometimes books just get
Jan 04, 2020 marked it as to-read
this looks like... everything.

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Vibur by: Petrik
There is something indescribably beautiful about The Sword of Kaigen.

I loved the writingthe simplicity of its prose, sharpened into something so powerful and piercingly expressive. Sadness and anger, hurt and frustration stream through the pages of the novelvibrant shades and subtle hues of feelings that wash and sweep over you, the colours diffusing into your soul.
But at the heart of this novel was Misaki. Her character was so real, woven together from the threads of longing, loneliness and
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am so incredibly thankful to have made some wonderful book friends, and to be able to blog with those friends about the books we read. Whether we love the book or hate it, were going to share our opinions with each other. Often we polish up our opinion and make it as tactful as possible before sharing it with the world through our reviews, but behind the scenes we get to share exactly how we feel with each other, no matter how raw our viewpoint. Because of these backstage experiences, I know ...more
Holly (The Grimdragon)
You learn over time that the world isnt broken. Its just got more pieces to it than you thought. They all fit together, just maybe not the way you pictured when you were young.

Originally released in monthly installments to newsletter subscribers, The Sword of Kaigen is a self-published Japanese-inspired military fantasy with a meaty plot. To help, there is a character listing and a glossary at the back of the book. I've been burned before, realizing too late that something I was reading
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, kindle
"There are a million ways to tell the same story. Our job as jaseliwu is to find the one the listener needs to hear. Not necessarily the one that makes them the happiest or the one that gives them the most information, but the one they need to hear to do what they need to do."

M.L. Wangs The Sword of Kaigen is nothing short of remarkable. An instant classic that is both heart breaking and heart-warming in almost equal measure. I cried, I laughed, and I was awed by the emotion this book was
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wholeness, she had learned, was not the absence of pain but the ability to hold it.

M.L Wangs The Sword of Kaigen is a book that is full of surprises. It initially appears to be set in a 19th century east-Asian society, but there are chapter 1 references to video games, holographic cell phone images, and wireless internet. Although technology isnt at the forefront of the story, it does exist, and plays an important but minor role in the story. More surprises are in store while progressing through
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it

Boring and predictable.

Not the book, though, but my review. I join The Sword of Kaigen fan club and I plan to force anyone listening to try it. I wont lie, I hoped I would identify its unforgivable flaws and enumerate them to show how insightful I am. I did find some, but they didnt stop me from loving the book.

The Sword of Kaigen introduces memorable and relatable characters and throws them into disastrous conflict with a powerful enemy. Kusanagi Peninsula, renowned for its unstoppable
Michael Sliter
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a fantastic book. Thanks to Petrik, Holly, and Eon, among others, for influencing me to read this story. Tell me what to read and I will read it, oh leaders of the literary world.

Rather than summarizing the plot points, which others have done more competently than I could, I am going to talk about what resonated with me. As a psychologist, I love exploring motifs that tread into that forbidden territory. I don't think this is really a spoiler, but probably my favorite part was a mother
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, rating-pg-13
My jaw is on the floor.

Sometimes lightning strikes from a clear sky. I'd never heard of this author before, but indie publishing means giving each other a helping hand from time to time, and to cut a long story short, I found myself committed to at least trying to read this book.

I found myself inhaling what must be one of, if not the best self-published books I've ever read. It stole my breath, put actual tears in my eyes, and had me cheering aloud. This is not something that often happens to
So, this was an utterly beautiful and gut-wrenching book. I loved it so much and Im so very sad I finished it so soon.

The element I always love the most in a fantasy book is the worldbuilding, but I have to say that even though this book does an amazing job creating a believable culture, strong traditions and mindsets, my favorite aspect of this story were the characters: everyone, without any exception, was so well-written, so real and flawed I thought I was reading about real historical
Scott  Hitchcock
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Long Price Quartet or Inda fans
Recommended to Scott by: Petrik
The year is nearly half over and previous to this book I've had three books that have earned 5*'s out of the 93 books I've read. 2 of those were Malazan re-reads. The third Faithless was a round up and close call between a 4* and a 5*.

This book joins the rarest of shelves my beyond 5 start shelf.

The book blends traditional Japanese military with a modern aspect that's still drawing from an epic fantasy tradition. Some of the characters are young but to call this YA in any manner would be
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book!! Thanks to Petrik for raving about it. I just finished it and full on 5 🌟!! First of all this is a standalone! And deeply beautifully characterdriven. I loved the emotional depth you got to know the characters. So well written and believable. It focusses mostly on Misaki who is a strong woman in a man dominated culture. The things she goes through are heartwrenching. The plot has some flashbacks to her teenage years as well. It flowed over nicely. And getting to know her strengths and ...more
Nils | nilsreviewsit
I know you might feel broken, but were jijakalu. Were water, and water can shift to fit any mold. No matter how were broken and reshaped, we can always freeze ourself strong again.
The Sword of Kaigen is a self published Japanese military inspired, adult fantasy novel, by M.L Wang. It is also one of the books entered into the SPFBO 5 competition, which is held annually. Folks, hear my words, this book truly deserves more recognition because its such a brutal, dark, heartbreaking story, and I
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
THIS BOOK IS ONLY 99 CENTS ON KINDLE. It's crazy one of my favorite reads of the year is only 99 cents while books I've hated have cost me $13.

Wow, this book reminded me why I love reading so much. Those moments where you come into a book not expecting too much and get completely blown away... my favorite as a reader. You know how as a man you're not allowed to cry? Because your wife on the other side of the room will look at you like there is something wrong with you? So you end up stuffing it
Maja Ingrid
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Lots of my GR friends has been gushing and raving about this book, giving it stellar reviews and ratings. Which intrigued me, so I got it at Kindle ridiculously cheap, but still let it sit untouched for months until now. And was I as entranced by it as my fellows? A lot of the time, yeah. The book has a great magic system and amazingly written characters, and the emotions are EVERYWHERE.

The book is set on a peninsula in the Keigenese Empire, called Sword of Kaigen, home to powerful warriors. And
bri ♡
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't think words can describe how much I loved this book. right from the very beginning I was hooked into this story. I could not put it down all I wanted to do was read it and see where this story was going to go and how it would end, and I was not disappointed. this world is very easy to fall into for me, and I never once felt myself get lost or confused like I am often afraid that I will. the plot was amazing, the pacing of this was good, same with the writing. nothing about this book was ...more
Daniel Greene
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A step in the direction fantasy should be headed in. Outstanding with a structure that will raise eyebrows. I cannot promise everyone will love it, but everyone obsessed with fantasy should read it.

Full review here:
Jenna Kathleen
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenna by: Scott Hitchcock
I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars. From beginning to end, this was a phenomenal read and it has easily become my favourite book of the year.

M.L. Wang has a unique gift in how she truly brings her characters to life. Every description of the characters' emotions, actions, and reactions makes them jump off the page and straight into your heart. I could feel everything the characters were feeling: denial, frustration, regret, grief. Hope, resilience, forgiveness.

A mother struggling to repress her violent past,
A son struggling to grasp his violent future,
A father blind to the danger that threatens them all.

When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?

Wow, just wow! This book really blew me away. I wasn't expecting to love it this much at all. It started out a little slow with some history lessons on the
Jennifer (bunnyreads)
Sometimes when I am about half-way through a book and I am reading something as powerful and impressive as this was, I have a fairly good idea what my review is going to be about. And at that half-way point, I did think I was going to write about the world building, and characterizations, magic and everything else that I found to be notable about this story.

But, then I read the last half, and I can say that since reading Stephen Kings Wizard and Glass a few years back- I havent been so affected
Rob Hayes
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Time for a preamble. I heard about this book earlier this year when a blogger I follow (that's you, Petrik) claimed it was not only the best self published book he'd ever read, but also the best stand alone he'd ever read. This was high praise indeed so I snapped up a paperback and stuck it on my TBR shelf along with many other books. For a long time it was nestled between Poppy War and Sins of Empire... neither of which I've gotten around to reading yet because I read so damned slow. Anyways, a ...more
M.L. Wang
Nov 12, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)

Hi Readers! M. L. Wang here, belatedly realizing that the glossary in the back of this book isn't very usable in the ebook version. To help with that, I've just updated the glossary on my website here:

If you don't want to keep a browser window open, you can also download a PDF or .mobi file through the link above. Hopefully, using these is easier than trying to jump back and forth in the ebook!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Wang - The Sword of Kaigen [Feb 1, 2020] 165 79 20 hours, 42 min ago  
The Sword of Kaigen By M.L Wang 1 3 Feb 25, 2020 06:28AM  
The Sword of Kaigen By M.L Wang 1 2 Feb 25, 2020 06:28AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Never Die
  • Fortune's Fool (Eterean Empire #1)
  • Kalanon's Rising (Agents of Kalanon #1)
  • Blood of Heirs (The Coraidic Sagas #1)
  • Beggar's Rebellion (Resonant #1)
  • Spark City (Spark City Cycle, #1)
  • Blade's Edge (Chronicles of Gensokai #1)
  • Smoke and Stone
  • The Rage of Dragons (The Burning, #1)
  • Sin Eater (Iconoclasts, #2)
  • A Tale of Stars and Shadow (A Tale of Stars and Shadow, #1)
  • Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand, #2)
  • A Sea of Broken Glass (The Lady & The Darkness, #1)
  • We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1)
  • Uncrowned (Cradle, #7)
  • Aching God (Iconoclasts, #1)
  • Legacy of Ghosts (The Coraidic Sagas #2)
  • The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon
See similar books…
M. L. Wang was born in Wisconsin in 1992, decided she wanted to be an author at the age of nine, and never grew up. She currently splits her time between writing fantasy books and working at a martial arts school in her home city of Madison.

When she isnt building worlds on the page, she builds them in her aquarium full of small, smart fish that love to explore castles and dont make noise during

Other books in the series

Theonite (3 books)
  • Theonite: Planet Adyn (Theonite, #1)
  • Theonite: Orbit (Theonite, #2)
  • Theonite: City of Ghosts (Theonite, #3)

Related Articles

"Stay calm and read on" might be our collective slogan for the coming months. Since we all might need some help with that, we asked Goodreads m...
143 likes · 152 comments
“You learn over time that the world isn’t broken. It’s just… got more pieces to it than you thought. They all fit together, just maybe not the way you pictured when you were young.” 6 likes
“Wholeness, she had learned, was not the absence of pain but the ability to hold it.” 3 likes
More quotes…