Review - Kokoro by Keith Yatsuhashi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was much better than the first book in the series, but it still had some problems.

The story takes place on another world similar to Earth, called Higo and centres around two almighty weapons called mah-zhins (think huge iron-man type thing). One member of the royal family has been able to wake up one of the mah-zhins and has used it for a while to dominate the world. Another is doing his best to wake the other mah-zhin up to even the score, so there’s a bit of an arms race going on.

In my review for the first book, Kojiri, I mentioned that it felt a bit like power rangers, this one felt more like transformers for me with all the flying robot type things. It takes a lot of inspiration from Manga and as such, it’s a bit mad in places.

These books are loosely based on Japanese mythology, which I thought was really cool, although I’d have liked to see an explanation of this in an author’s note.

The books main theme, I thought, was about belonging and family. The story behind the royal family who take centre stage in this book is very intriguing and nicely done.

Notable issues

To me, this book had a one star beginning and a four star ending. There is a good section at the start of this book that I would have simply chopped out and just started on the world of Higo. The beginning doesn’t really add a lot to the story and the necessary elements could have been dropped in throughout the book.

As in the previous book, the author doesn’t spend much time explaining the world, how it works and what its rules are. As a result, it feels like the writer moves the rules around to suit the story at parts.

It has a very bad case of Dean Koontz character syndrome. This is where the world is created, then the plot is thought out and drafted and then the characters are created so that they are convenient to the plot. This creates very unrealistic reactions from characters at points.

Final thought

If clearer exposition was added and more in-depth characters included it could have been something truly epic. It’s got all the ‘cool stuff’ you could ever want, it just needed more to back up the ‘cool stuff’.

Still, it was much better than first book and if you like Japanese myths and / or Manga, then this series might be for you.



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