Saturday, January 13, 2024

The Market of 100 Fortunes by Marie Brennan: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

The Market of 100 Fortunes by Marie Brennan

The Market of 100 Fortunes is the third Legend of Five Rings game world book by Brennan. They follow Isao Ryotora and Asako Sekken, two samurais of Rokugan Empire, a priest and a scholar who are drawn into dangerous supernatural situations. I’ve read them back-to-back and have liked them all, but this was perhaps the weakest one.

Ryotora and Sekken are preparing to travel to the Dragon Clan’s lands together to marry there, when an urgent request from Sayashi, the cat spirit who has been their reluctant helper in both cases, calls them to Crane Clan lands. But when they arrive there, she’s disappeared.

She may be in the market of 100 fortunes, a place no one believes exists. The men start to investigate with the help of a Scorpion magistrate who may have an agenda of her own, and a little orphan girl. Turns out, finding the market is easy. Getting out of there less so.

This was slightly less interesting read than before. In the earlier books, the men had full chapters in their point of view, which gave a lot of space for character development. Here, the point of view changes in the middle of the chapter, leaving less room for the characters, as the plot dominates the pace. It would’ve required more drama early on to keep a reader’s interest. Now it took a bit too long before anything happened.

There are also a couple of chapters from Sayashi’s point of view. She wasn’t quite as interesting as I’d hoped, and I felt they didn’t really add anything worthwhile. At the very least, the reason for her actions should’ve been brought up earlier on to make the great revelation at the end work better. Now it came a bit out of blue and didn’t have the impact it could’ve had.

Nevertheless, once the mystery got going, it was intriguing. Again, the solution wasn’t easy, requiring great sacrifices. The men worked on their peculiar connection, coming to terms with it, and their relationship remained the best part of the book. The ending was good, and gave a notion that this is the last book. If that’s the case, I’m happy with where the men ended up. But I’d really like to read more.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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