"I happened upon this book on Amazon and decided to give it a try. This is a visual journey through a book, with sweeping vistas that come alive with the author's beautiful imagery. It's a story of juxtapositions - from the point of view of the young acolyte Shiko, to the older wisdom of her mentor Toshi-Hito as they start their pilgrimage from the city state of Hajameshi to find the Kotanshi - the individual which will unite all of the fractured city states in Tonogato and save them from the coming Darkness. Another pairing are the would be lovers of the Hajameshi princess Mikasama and her dashing Captain Nakama, and what happens when the powers that be rip them apart from one another. There's jealousy, anger, revenge and hope in this story. There are other characters who get introduced along the way - some quite evil and manipulative, others cruel and uncaring, and still more who are only interested in their own bit of the world without care to the rest of it around them. Plus those who look beyond their tiny piece of the world to what's beyond and how they can move to stop what might be the inevitable from occurring.
This story is Asian inspired, yet a world of its own as you see from the journey the pilgrims take, along with those others that they encounter. There is magic, mysticism and magical creatures that abound in the world of Tonogato and Ms Radthorne does an excellent job of character development. Even the most minor characters have a backstory that is woven into the narrative and adds a richness to the story as it progresses.
Like all epic journeys, the pilgrimage it fraught with danger, both to those or the party and others who seek to stop them or follow after them. Throughout it all, we see the growth of the characters as they progress. Without giving all of the storyline away, it is a journey worth taking with these characters. You'll find it well worth the trek to take it - I bought the other two books in this series before finishing this one and look forward to seeing what the next part of the story entails now that I've finished this first book.
A definite buy recommendation from me and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.- Musicfan, reviewed in the United States on February 29, 2020