Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary

The Night ParadeThe Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review Copy provided by Netgalley

This is a thrilling read that is sure to engage readers from the moment the magic of the first begins. Set in a mountainside village in Japan, this is the story of Saki, a sullen teen from Tokyo forced to leave her beloved city for a family visit to her grandmother's home and the annual celebration of Obon. Sami starts the story as a rather unlikable character, more interested in her phone than her family. She has awful friends that are the very embodiment of the mean girl mentality, and she thinks there is nothing more important than impressing and appeasing the worst of them all, the manipulative leader of the group, Hana.

Neither Saki, nor her younger brother Jun, nor even her parents seem particularly thrilled with having to go, but they are going out of a sense of familial obligation. Saki's grandmother is probably the most likable character of all in the beginning. However, Sami soon falls in with the wrong crowd in the village and sets in motion a curse that she can only undo by traveling into the world of spirits known as the Night Parade. Over the course of three nights, she must find a way to lift the death curse she brought on with the help of the guides. However, her task will be none to easy as she soon discovers, and the consequences of failing are too great to risk.

I loved that this was a children's fantasy set in the world of Japanese folklore. It was such a refreshingly new angle. As a reader, I was entirely unaware of the celebration of Obon, and everything about this story seemed invite another unexpected chance to gain further insight into Japanese culture. While this is a highly appealing title for readers of the fantasy genre, it will hold equal appeal for YA teen readers. Along the way a reader will inevitably gain a deeper appreciation of Japanese cultural customs, which is a nice bonus. Certainly a worthwhile read that should make a big splash in fantasy market this year. Well done.

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