Le masque de Nô

Le masque de Nô
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, Book # 1
Gallimard Jeunesse
August 27th 2020
Paperback
416
French
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June 23, 2021 July 11, 2021

The chronicles of maple and cherry tree form a tetralogy set in seventeenth-century Japan. We follow two heroes, Ichirō, a young samurai with a fabulous destiny, and the mysterious Hiinahime, a stranger who hides behind a Nō mask. In the first two volumes the narrator is Ichirō, in the other two it will be the heroine Hiinahime's turn to tell the story. The first volume, entitled The Nō Mask, traces Ichirō's life from childhood to adolescence. Abandoned, Ichirō is raised as a son by an unknown samurai who teaches him the way of the sword. The boy will live a solitary existence in the mountains, in the heart of a wild nature and at the rhythm of the seasons, between moments of bliss and lightheartedness and an apprenticeship that requires perseverance and courage. But one tragic night, Ichirō's life is turned upside down by the attack of shady samurai. Destiny will then take him to Edo (ancient Tokyo), where he will begin performing in kabuki theaters; there he will make his first friendships and meet Hiinahime, the unknown woman with the Nō mask.


About the book

First book in the series set in Edo period Japan (17th century) entitled Les chroniques de l’érable et du cerisier which, from the Italan translation (sorry don’t know any French) should be The Chronicles of Maple and Cherry tree, a very intriguing title. We are in the period in which the Tokugawa family holds the maximum political and military power in Japan, a period of isolation and persecution of Christians.

The book begins with a Master, a former samurai, who finds a child in a biwa shell in the forest near his isolated mountain home. He takes him home and together with the housekeeper he raises him as if he were his son. The latter, Ichirō, is raised with samurai teachings, of which the Master is an expert, until the Master’s past comes knocking on the door of the isolated house and Ichirō is catapulted into ancient Edo (current Tokyo) where, to survive, he has to beg and live on the streets, until he meets a poet who will help him find work. He also discovers the Kabuki theater and thanks to this, he makes his first friends. In Edo he also meets Hiinahime, a girl who hides behind a mask of the Nō theater.

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Descendant of the Crane

Descendant of the Crane
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Albert Whitman & Company
April 9th 2019
Hardcover
416
English
June 14, 2021 June 22, 2021
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Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death... because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.


About the book

Princess Hesina must take over the reins of her father’s kingdom when he suddenly dies. But Hesina saw that gas come out of her father’s body as the doctor performs an autopsy, so it can’t be natural death. Hesina wants the truth, but she must also reign, quell the revolts against soothsayers, banished and exterminated individuals throughout the kingdom, as well as avoid war with her neighbouring kingdom.

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Ruin and Rising

Ruin and Rising
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, Book # 3
Square Fish
June 17th 2014
Paperback
417
English
May 25, 2021 May 28, 2021
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The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


About the book

“Last” book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. It has been two months since Alina has lost her power and is locked underground along with the Apparat, Mal and all of her followers. Only a few Grishas survived and Nikolai has disappeared. The Dark One now reigns over Ravka along with his Grishas and Alina’s only chance to defeat him is to find the ultimate amplifier. But she cannot do that if she is locked underground and the Apparat treats her as someone that is incapable of everything.

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Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm
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, Book # 2
Square Fish
June 4th 2013
Paperback
435
English
May 15, 2021 May 20, 2021
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Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.


About the book

Second book in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse trilogy, the first of which I reviewed last week. We still follow Alina’s adventures, escaped from the Darklink and his plans to conquer the world. Together with Mal, her childhood friend, she embarked on a ship bound for Novyi Zem where she wants to have a new life away from Ravka, but always aware that one day she must return to save her country and the population from the plan of the Darklin.

Meanwhile, the Darklin, survived the Fold, has acquired a new and terrifying power. And he’s always looking for Alina. Alina and Mal will find a very special ally who will help them in their mission to save Ravka. Or this is the intent. Will they succeed?

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Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone
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, Book # 1
Square Fish
June 5th 2012
Paperback
358
English
April 6, 2021 May 5, 2021
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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.


About the book

First book in the trilogy dedicated to the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo. Alina is an orphan of the war that Ravka endured with the powerful enemies that surround it and together with Mal, her best friend since childhood and also an orphan, enlists in the army. When given the command to map the Fold the two can only obey and together with their companions enter the darkness. But when attacked by the Volkras, ravenous creatures that live in the dark, and especially when Mal is in danger, a blinding light shines from Alina, a dazzling power she didn’t know she had.

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