Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Palantir Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Revolutionary young samurai with dirigibles take on Commodore Perry and his Black Ships in this alternate history steampunk technofantasy set in 1850s samurai-era Japan.
In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as the commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial values decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation's closed borders like vultures, growing ever more demanding.
Toru, a shipwrecked young fisherman rescued by American traders and taken to America, defies the Shogun's ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland from foreign invasion. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, T ru must transform the Emperor's realm before the Black Ships come.
How can I NOT read TŌRU: WAYFARER RETURNS what with that super attractive cover and it's a Japanese steampunk! I expected this to read like manga or anime, lots of action, high velocity adventure, with a huge dash of culture.
Sadly I had to DNF this before I even hit midway. The novel had a good start, Tōru is somewhat of a dark horse, the unassuming hero that has a noble but secret familial ties, somewhat of a Renaissance man, destined to help Japan beat the American planned invasion. My problem is the story moved in one straight line. There's a lot of plotting and planning, telling more than showed, the lack of exciting events eventually overpowered the easy style of writing. Where's the intrigue? There's not a lot of contrast to build-up the oncoming war, where are the conflicts between the ruling daimyos; what kind of preparations are the Americans doing at this point to conquer Japan?
I might be wrong, these might have happened later on in the story but sadly I wasn't motivated enough to find out.