The Twelve Kingdoms by Fuyumi Ono
Warning: Possible spoilers ahead. No like, no read.
I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves, what would I do if I were suddenly transported to another world? What if I had no time to say goodbye? And what if I couldn’t get back?
All these thoughts become reality for Yoko Nakajima, an ordinary student at a girls’ school in Japan. Yanked to another world by a man named Keiki, she finds herself abandoned and utterly defenseless. Stranded in the highlands of a foreign country, she has to find shelter, find out where in the universe she is – because she’s certainly not in Kansas anymore – and try to find help. The only problem is that world-crossers aren’t exactly welcome on this planet – sometimes, in fact, they’re hunted down. The question now isn’t finding civilization; it’s finding a civilization that will accept her.
Along the way, Yoko finds out that some things in this world are similar, and somethings are very, very strange. The people are plagued by demons, and the social structure is very different from the one she is used to. Her kind – those who crossed the Void Sea – are called kaikyaku, and they are both feared and revered. Children are not born to their parents; at least, not like we think they are. And she still has to find out why she was brought to this world in the first place.
Throughout her journies, Yoko struggles with the intricacies of human nature and her own personal morals. For instance, she must decide when, if ever, to trust someone, and how much of her old life she is willing to abandon.
This book was well-written, enjoyable, and complex enough that it wasn’t a light read. However, there is one big downfall which I must point out: its length. This book is annoyingly long, and it abuses the high number of pages by taking forever to explain things. I actually put it down at one point because I was so frustrated and lost. Still, if you can push through the boring bits, the book is quite fun to read and very fascinating. There were some perks, though, the most obvious being the pictures sprinkled throughout the book. What, pictures in a novel?! Yes indeed. They are beautiful full-page ink illustrations in the manga style, but detailed enough that they would probably never appear in a graphic novel. Yoko looks exactly how I imagined her.
Possible objectionable content: death, violence, and a little bit of moral screwiness, along with a total lack of any religion. Other than that, nothing. 12+ rating from me.
Jenni’s rating: 8.5 out of 10 butterscotch candies
Quotes – not that many!
“Yes, I am a cat, and this is my claw. And it is very, very sharp.” ~Yoko
Done as per request of CJ. This review (and others) can be found on my blog.