As long-time readers of my blog know, I’m absolutely terrible at keeping up with pretty much any sort of media, from books to movies to television. The Chronicles of Gensokai is yet another example of a series that has languished on my kindle since (checks notes) 2019.
I now believe it’s a crime I didn’t read them sooner.
For the month of February, my wife and I chose Sairo’s Claw for our husband-and-wife book club. For the life of me, I can’t remember why I chose Sairo’s Claw as the starting point and not Blade’s Edge, but here we are. I think it might have been because I saw a tweet from the author, Virginia McClain, talking about how much she had laughed while writing the book. We were looking for something a bit lighter.
In any case, I read the book and loved it.
Thanks for coming to my review!
But seriously, not only was the book tremendously enjoyable, but it was one of those books that I think caught me at just the right time.
I’ll talk about that in a moment, but first, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite parts of the story.
The first aspect of the story that I appreciated was the stakes. Lately I’ve been reading (and writing) a fair number of “The-whole-world-is-in-danger” books, and while I’ll always enjoy such stories, I appreciated that the majority of Sairo’s Claw is a story about a warrior trying to rescue her wife. There are ominous overtones, and the book definitely opens up into something larger near the end, but I appreciated the stakes. They were meaningful without hinging the fate of the world on every action.
Second, I loved the humor in this story. There were several points where I had to stop reading to wipe a tear from my eye. It’s not a comic book, but some of the lines got me pretty good.
And finally, although this bit is harder to put into words, I really loved the feel of this fantasy world. Although the stakes are high and the situations deadly serious, all the characters in this story are decent people, trying to do their best as fate crashes them against one another. Even secondary characters reveal an impressive depth. I don’t know how to describe it better than to say it felt good to step into this world.
The last question I’d try to address is about reading order. I do think this book can be read before the other books in the Chronicles of Gensokai. There are references to the world that passed over my head, but I had no problem understanding the core of the story. I do think, in a perfect world, I would have started with Blade’s Edge, but I have no regrets about reading this first.
If you’re interested in checking out Sairo’s Claw, you can find it on Amazon here: