Rise: The Liminal Chronicles, by Amy Winters- Voss
Hi everyone, how have you been?
It’s nice and sunny here in the East of England and it seems like the perfect day to bring you another bookish gem.
Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Rise: The Liminal Chronicles, by Amy Winters-Voss.
Umeji, an ex-Yakuza member, hopes to forge a new life for himself and to forget his sordid past. However, when he encounters a mythical nail tailed fox known as a Kitsune, his new life gets turned upside down. Promising to keep the Kitsune’s secret, she in return promises to train Umeji in the practices of an ancient form of magic. However, danger is close by when a past enemy returns into the Kitsune’s life, threatening all she and Umeji hold dear.
The characters in Rise were a wonderful mix.
Umeji, an ex-Yakuza member is just trying to start his life over, however, the world has other plans. Throughout the book, Umeji seemed smart, strategic, and loyal to a fault. Despite his past, which required him to commit unspeakable acts of violence, he fought against any internal violent urges as best he could, and over the course of the novel, really grew as a person.
Nakamura Hisako, an elderly woman who is also a mythical Kitsune, was stern and feisty from the get go. Protective and dutiful, she kept watch over those in her care and never gave up even when things became difficult. She was a fine magic teacher to Umeji and throughout the story, I formed a deep affection for her character and loved how headstrong she was. Learning about her past through several diary passages was fascinating and really helped to give her character a lot of emotional depth.
Ohno, one of Umeji’s co-workers made for a wonderful direct contrast to Umeji’s tough and somewhat reserved character. She was sweet and caring, a breath of fresh air in a world filled with chaos. She was equally as loyal to her friends as Umeji and Nakamura, and possessed a determination of spirit that is hard to rival. Because of this, she was instantly one of my favourite characters.
Finally, we have Date, a relentless rival Kitsune, who was hell bent on the death of Nakamura Hisako and the destruction of all she held dear. I got a strong femme fatale vibe from Date, who used her feminine wiles to try and persuade Umeji to join in on her heinous plans. At every opportunity, Date revealed more of her true nature, conveying herself as a sneaky, deceptive creature, who would stop at nothing to destroy her enemy.
Rise: The Liminal Chronicles has a lot going for it, as far as I’m concerned. As usual, I have listed my core likes below via a bullet point format.
- The first-person, present narration gave the story an immediate and intimate feel, which emphasized every deep-seated emotion that Umeji and Nakamura felt as their stories unfolded.
- The Japanese mythology was really interesting and the culture in general was fascinating to me. The author mentioned to me that they did extensive research in this area after visiting Japan years before, so it was amazing to see how they included this in the story.
- The author has a steady and intriguing writing style that flows well, revealing little pieces of crucial information to the reader at a time.
- The scenes were wonderfully evocative. They were intense, emotional, and held a deep sense of meaning throughout the story. Furthermore, there was good use of imagery made throughout, which helped to create a clear picture of what was happening in my mind’s eye.
As always, I kept my eye out for little snippets of wisdom as I read Rise. Eventually, I settled on five quotes that really spoke to me.
1) ‘We all make choices that lead to where we are.’
2) ‘Words you allow your mind to focus on are what you end up saying about yourself.’
3) ‘The power of the word truly was a double-edged sword.’
4) ‘Everyone carries scars from the past- a reminder of how we healed.’
5) ‘Having people willing to stand at my side- that’s what made the difference.’
As I read on, I identified several recurring themes such the power of friendship, our painful past memories, and the choices we make, all of which are reflected in the above quotes.
Overall, Rise: The Liminal Chronicles was a fascinating read that explored ancient magic, Japanese mythology and culture, and deep down, the ability of one man to start over anew. The story was well written and engaging, and had me constantly wondering what would come next. It was a story about change and redemption, one that touched both my heart and soul.
My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: Lovers of urban fantasy and Japanese mythology in particular.
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Wishing you a wonderful week,