Book Review: Sword of the Ronin by Travis Heermann (Three Stars)

Book Review: Sword of the Ronin (Ronin Trilogy #2) by Travis Heermann

Three Stars

“To be truly happy, a man must forget the past and the future.”

Another fine foray in the history of medieval Japan seen through the lens of the fantastic.

“Every moment is a wonder, not something to be endured on the way to elsewhere.”

Heermann propels the reader into the culture and times of one of the greatest threats to Japanese independence and the forging of a sense of nationhood among the Japanese warrior class, who heretofore had focused themselves on maneuvering and fighting each other.

“One should not love anything in the world too much.”

Ken’ishi is western enough to be recognizable among American readers. He makes a good “everyman” reacting to but fantastic and historical elements of his story. This book’s macro-setting is the first Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274.

“Master oneself in all things.”

Few quibbles over style or details. All is presented in a way respectful to Japanese history and culture while incorporating fantastic elements which presumably the Japanese themselves would recognize.

“Life would be so much simpler without other people.”


Book Review: Heart of the Ronin by Travis Heermann (Three Stars)

Book Review: Heart of the Ronin (Ronin Triolgy #1) by Travis Heermann

Three Stars

“[Small birds] forgot kindness so quickly and remembered wrongs for so long … much like people.”

Well-conceived and well-written Japanese historical fantasy. Kind of a parallel universe with this world during the Kamakura shogunate. Plus an apt mix of real and fantastic.

“Once you got high enough, you cannot see the evils happening far below … while believing you see everything.”

Evokes another time and another place. A story as old as time. Multiple points of view and story arcs draw the reader into both this story and the culture at a pivotal moment in history. Enough threads were tied off to provide a satisfying conclusion to this volume, while unresolved threads draw the reader into the next. Well done.

“Hate was one of the world’s great evils, and it harmed one’s own soul.”

Heermann draws an apt contrast between the Way of the Warrior and the concerns and struggles of normal people. The contrast is most telling when comparing the Samurai—not with the poor, but with the rich and powerful, but political.

“There was no before, and no after, only the Now.”