The Night Itself

Publisher: Walker Books

Review

Mio feels a little anxious when she secretly takes her family's katana from her parents' attic, so she can use it as part of a fancy dress costume. After all, it is a priceless ancestral sword - and her beloved grandfather Ojichan did warn her about it, before he died. When bizarre and terrifying events begin to occur, Mio soon realises that her grandfather's warning was more than justified. Far from an ordinary family heirloom, the katana holds incredible power - and in taking it from its hiding place, Mio has unleashed ancient evil onto the streets of London.

Help comes in the form of the mysterious and devoted Shinobu, a handsome young Japanese warrior who Mio recognises from her strange dreams. But Mio and those closest to her remain in terrible danger, unless she can learn to control the sword's power - and stop the terrifying Nekomata.

Blending traditional Japanese mythology with a contemporary urban setting, this readable and engaging story put an entertaining spin on the paranormal romance, the first in a projected series. Heroine Mio and smart, outspoken best friend Jack are a likeable and believable central duo, and there is plenty of fun and humour here, as well as action, magic and romance. Fans of Maggie Stiefvater and Cassandra Clare will be sure to enjoy this accessible teen adventure story, which also gives an intriguing insight into Japanese myth and legend.

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