I would like to thank NetGalley and Dundurn Press for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I promise not to spoil this book too much.
Author: Sifton Tracy Ampare
Genre: Fantasy, magical realism
A modern-day fantasy novel about demons, dreams, and a young woman teaching English in Japan.
Cybelle, an expat, lives in a small city in the Kansai region of Japan. Life is difficult: her coworkers don’t treat her as one of their own and, outside of work, people dislike or even fear her. On top of it all, Cybelle is struggling to conform to the rules that have helped her survive so far.
Elsewhere in Kansai, Zaniel navigates the dream realm, bringing women to have romantic encounters with a demon named Akki, his “bodyguard.” When another demon — the Yokai — appears in Akki’s territory and wreaks havoc in his domain with its voracious appetite, both Zaniel and Cybelle find themselves caught in the middle of the supernatural creature’s antics.
Will Cybelle be able to keep up her do-your-best attitude when she is pulled into the world of demons and the heated battle between Akki and the Yokai?Will Cybelle be able to keep up her do-your-best attitude when she is pulled into the world of demons and the heated battle between Akki and the Yokai?
So i recently joined NetGalley a few months ago and i have been reading some of the books i’ve found there and Yume peaked my interest. First of all, the cover is beautiful and secondly the description sounded very intriguing. I’m going to start with the cons that i had with this books and i will end with the pros so that it ends positively.
The pacing was not very good. This book starts out incredibly slow, at first i thought that it was intentional, the author wanted to introduce the environment to us and the world but it got very boring, we were following Cybelle doing the same thing day after day after day and we were watching her having a hard time at work and we are made to understand that she’s not a huge fan of her work environment yet we are not given a compelling reason why she wants to stay nor are we given any reason as to why she doesn’t want to leave to go back to Canada when the opportunity presents itself in the form of her mother asking her to come back for a sister’s wedding. Nothing much seemed to be happening with our other main character, Zaniel and the Yokai. There could have been an opportunity to look into Zaniel’s past and why he’s in the situation he’s in and why he hasn’t been able to leave or we could have gotten a lot more detail on the world and how it operates but we didn’t get enough of that and as a result it felt slow and boring.
Characters felt a little underdeveloped as a result of this. There are two main characters, Cybelle and Zaniel. I loved the dynamic that they seemed to have but i felt that they did not have enough depth to them which could have strengthened their bond which is unfortunate because i thought they had so much in common and had we gotten more of them, this book would have been more interesting. They are both outsiders and they are both stuck in their respective situations and are either unwilling to take the next step, afraid or they don’t even know how to take that step, it’s very compelling but poorly executed.
This poor pacing affected the climax and resolution. Because we spent a huge majority of the book doing nothing, when the plot kicked in and the climax happened, it all felt underwhelming, you are left with a feeling of “is that it?” and as an author or storyteller, your readers should not feel this way. The ending felt rushed and unsatisfying.
Some elements of the world were underdeveloped particularly Cybelle’s involvement in this world. I was waiting for some kind of explanation but i never got any. We just ended the book with a key element of the book left unaddressed.
One of the positive aspects of this book was the environment. This book would really work as a movie. It has quite a cinematic feel to it and i feel that in the hands of a capabale film director, this book could be brought to life in the most interesting way. I love the author’s writing and i thought it suited the environment, it was very whimsical and easy to read and i think it flowes quite well. I don’t know much about Japanese mythology so i can’t confidently state whether she did a great job or not because the author is a black author who had a teaching job there for some time but i leave this to Japanese readers and anyone else who is familiar with Japanese mytbology.
I loved the environment and i think that fans of environmental read will re eally enjoy this but it had ab extremely slow start and did not engage me in any way at the beginning till several pages later and i feel like this affected other parts of the book, such as the worldbuilding aspect and the character depth as well as the climax and resolution.