The Sword of Kaigen Review

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Paperback, 649 Pages
Fantasy/ Adult
By: M.L. Wang

Thank you so much to Karina @ Afire Pages and M.L. Wang for including me in this blog tour and for providing the review copy!


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 of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empireโ€™s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name โ€˜The Sword of Kaigen.โ€™

Born into Kusanagiโ€™s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his familyโ€™s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigenโ€™s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.

Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface.

My Review

โ€œYou learn over time that the world isnโ€™t broken. Itโ€™s justโ€ฆ got more pieces to it than you thought. They all fit together, just maybe not the way you pictured when you were young.โ€

๐ŸŒŸ I have to agree with the quote above, the pieces of this book fit together perfectly! You can’t 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 Standalone I ever read and one of the best books I read this year! (Okay I made them in bold and then realized it became a bad pun for the previous sentence!)

๐ŸŒŸ I don’t know where to start with this one, it was just perfect in all aspects as if it was written and tailored to my taste! But I love that almost everyone who read it gave it 5 stars (4 if not 5) and I have to agree with my friend Petrik that it is a master piece.

๐ŸŒŸ The writing was so good, it was so atmospherical and I felt that I was part of that word. There were a lot of quotes I like and the book uses dialogues to touch upon very important, very sensitive subjects! It took me a few pages to get used to the Japanese terms and the glossary surely helped! But after those few pages that I invested some time in, it was like winning the million-dollar lottery! The book is unputdownable! I am writing this and I am suddenly in the mood to reread it soon!

๐ŸŒŸ The characters are some of the best characters I read at all! They were so well written and so fleshed out, I could relate to them and I loved them and I mourned them and I can’t stop thinking about them. I think the author was smart because the book had 2 POVs, one of the characters was a young kid and the other was his mother and I am assuring you that this worked a 1000% positively for the book. But the great thing about the characters is that I even cared about the secondary ones and I can still picture them all in the village in my mind!

โ€œA life of dangerous adventures might seem worth it now, when you are young and seemingly invincible, but one day, you will have children, and you will not want that life for them.โ€

๐ŸŒŸ The world-building is amazing, I saw many people comparing this to Avatar the air binder and I can see why given the magic system but I also think it is not a fair comparison because this was a bit more mature due to delving into the war and the tragedies it entails. But if you love Avatar, then I am pretty sure you will love this one.

๐ŸŒŸ The Plot is just so clever and so well thought! the synopsis sounds good but the book is actually better! This book has lots of action, and I like to think of it as 3 thirds, the first third is an introduction and setting the world and preparation for everything. The second third is where most of the action and War take place and it may be my fav action scenes in all the books I ever read. The last third is like an epilogue but at the same time it had a scene I really dreamt of having in the book and I was so happy it was there in this part. The pacing was so well done that I was glued to the book the whole time!

๐ŸŒŸ I also loved how the book discussed very important things without feeling it tried so hard to do so, or without feeling like there were checkboxes it needed to have! The author genuinely approaches topics such as family and martial arts and feminism and racism! The thing that still blows my mind is that she did this by herself, It was better than 90% of the traditionally published books I have read so Wang just raised the bar of self-publishing and she just destroyed the stereotype that self-published books are bad! The book even had its maps, glossary, characters list, and chapter header!

โ€œIโ€™ve never needed a sword to protect youโ€”to raise you the way your father wanted. Caring for my family meant putting away the fighter, so I did.โ€

๐ŸŒŸ Summary and Prescription: If you are a fantasy fan then do yourself a favor and read this book!!!!!!!


About the Author

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 got her Bachelor of Arts in history in 2015 and currently works at a martial arts school in her home city of Madison.

When she isnโ€™t building worlds on the page, she builds them in her aquarium full of small, smart fish that love to explore castles and donโ€™t make noise during writing time.

Find her on: Website | Twitter | Instagram

GIVEAWAY! (Hosted By Karina)

Enter below to win a copy of The Sword of Kaigen! This giveaway is open internationally and sponsored by M.L. Wang. This will end on December 11, 2019.

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  1. Reading your review just makes me say “SAME” 1000x. I agree with everything you said, Hamad! And I am sooo glad you are now officially a part of the Sword of Kaigen fans club ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’–

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t heard of this book before your review but your enthusiastic review makes me think I need to change that! I’ll admit that I might have otherwise passed over it as another generic magic/war/fantasy book but you have me really intrigued.

    Fantastic review!

    Liked by 1 person

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