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The Night Itself – Zoe Marriott

“Stealing the sword was a bad idea. I can’t pretend I didn’t realise that at the time. I wasn’t even supposed to know about the thing let alone sneak up and snaffle it from the attic where it was carefully concealed in the dark, under layers of cobwebs and rotting Christmas decorations.”

Mio’s Grandfather was never meant to show her the Katana – the Yamato family’s most precious heirloom – not until she was sixteen anyway. But he did, when she was just ten years old, and ever since she’s been having nightmares. She never thought the two were connected until one evening just before her sixteenth birthday she steals the sword to make her fancy dress costume look better, unleashes hell on modern day London and sees the man from her nightmare appear before her very eyes. As soon as she takes the sword strange things start happening and its soon clear that there is much more to it than she ever thought was possible, and now she has to deal with whatever baggage it comes with. 

***

Yeah, none of the regular readers to my blog will be surprised to know that I absolutely ADORED this book, just as I have every other Zoe Marriott book. Zoe is one of my favourite authors and with her first step into a series, she has seriously hit the nail on the head.
The story is a little different to what I’m used to from Zoe, but I loved it. Set in modern day London, mythical things begin happening when Mio takes the katana from its box just before her sixteenth birthday. She was told by her Ojichan, or Granddad, on the day that he died no less, that the katana wasn’t to be touched until she was sixteen. He was meant to tell her more but passed away and therefore couldn’t. She doesn’t know much about her Japanese culture but I really enjoyed her learning more about this Katana, and the legends surrounding it as the book went on. 
There were a fair amount of missing links within the book, but you expect that with a series, I want to know more about how the Yamato’s came to be in possession of the Katana, who the Nekomatas mistress was (though I have an idea) and more about Shinobu and his connection with Mio. I also want to know what Mio’s fathers problem is and things like that but I am guessing that these questions will all be answered in the later books. I have to say that the ending was so brilliantly done with a nice wrap up and no cliffhanger so that pleased me a lot. 

The characters were really well written and whilst the entire book is set during one weekend, I still felt like I knew them well enough to care about them. The relationship building between the characters was fascinating to read and I loved the report that some characters had with others. The book takes place over a two day period, with one of those only taking up the first 75 pages. The pace was fast and a lot was covered but it never felt like information overload or that there was too much going on, the pace just makes you want to keep reading and builds the intensity of whats going on. 
The book is mostly set in modern day London but we also venture into a kind of spirit world and I love how that was done, I loved the introduction to the Fox Spirits and even the idea of the Nekomata – though I wouldn’t like to meet one, or have one terrorising my town, thank you very much. The way that the spirits and their world blended so brilliantly with the world we know ourselves was brilliant and is a shining example of why I believe Zoe is one of the best writers of our time.

I cannot rave about The Night Itself enough, with a kick ass heroine, a strong gay secondary character – which was done brilliantly – and a perfect blend of contemporary and mythical story I will not fail to carry on with this series. 
The Night Itself is the first in The Name of the Blade and will be published by Walker on July 4th. My copy was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Oh, I’m so looking forward to reading this! Great review 🙂

  • I am embarrassed to admit that I still have not read a Zoe Marriott book! This one sounds really good, I love fantasy set in a modern time and place

    Cait x