Book Review: Ukiyo

review-cover-ukiyoTitle: Ukiyo [Blud 1]

Author: Mario Saincic

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Urban, Mystery

Rating: 1 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

On a routine assignment, Ukiyo finds herself dragged into a world of danger and deception when she is forced to pull the trigger and kill a man. Torn between the agency that funds her research and a man she knows nothing about, she has to choose sides in a secret war that dates back hundreds of years.

Guardian, protector, and her own personal demon…

Burislav vowed to watch over her, but hiding his cursed birth right ends up being a secret that could cost Ukiyo her life. When he’s forced out of the shadows after more than twenty years, keeping her safe isn’t as easy as he thinks.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Important Note: I was mistakenly handed an un-edited draft of this book to read, and my review is based off that un-edited copy. The author has since sent me an updated version, but because of time constraints, I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. This review will be updated at a later date to reflect any changes I feel are warranted given the new content—so when considering a purchase of this book, please read other reviews of this book as well in order to get a better picture of what you are purchasing! Thanks for understanding, sometimes stuff like this happens!

It was with a heavy, and somewhat disappointed heart that I set this book aside at 20% in. To be clear, I didn’t finish the book—that doesn’t mean that I hated the book… only that I couldn’t finish it. Let me explain.

Ukiyo by Mario Saincic started off strong. The first few chapters were riveting—full of action and atmosphere and I found Ukiyo a fascinating and easy to like character. I was sucked into the story right away, and I thought “man, this is going to be awesome.” The plot was interesting, the scenes were detailed—the story seemed to be heading in a very good direction.

Unfortunately, as I delved into the story, my inner editor began to cringe. The writing was good. Solid. Though the style wasn’t my usual preference—3rd person with some occasional omniscient asides and a slight penchant for being extremely detailed, and a little poetic here and there—I didn’t find it distracting. The problem for me lie with finer details of the story. There were a lot of moments where I stopped to question what I was reading.

A few times, the characters acted in ways that didn’t seem logical. They sometimes made leaps and assumptions or seemed surprised by things that should have been obvious. The tense was off here and there… sometimes words were used that didn’t seem to fit what was being said (though most of these I chalked up to the difference in language/culture between the author and I). There were a few times I found missing words, awkward sentences, and instances where reactions were placed before actions in the narrative.

One of the largest sticking points for me, however, was the confusion surrounding Ukiyo and her heritage in general. From what I read, I gathered that she was half Chinese, half African American, with hazel eyes. We won’t get into how unlikely it is for Ukiyo to have hazel eyes, but it did seem odd. Whatever. The thing is, it was later explained that she was raised in Germany because “the Germans were more accepting of interracial relationships and mixed children” which, let’s face it, sounds rather odd considering Germany’s history. I can push past it. Despite growing up in Germany, Ukiyo refers to herself as British… and speaks with British colloquialisms. At this point, things were getting kind of confusing. Even odder? Ukiyo’s name isn’t Chinese, African-American, British, or German. It’s Japanese. You may see why my frustration levels were getting rather high.

In short, I don’t think this was a badly written book, but I do think that it was poorly edited. The bits and pieces of the writing that frustrated me should have been questioned by a  copy editor or proofreader at some point in the process. I tried to push on and continue this book because I did like the plot, the characters, and the world building… but when I started picking up awkward sentence structures, tense problems, misspellings, and poor logical choices at a cringe-worthy rate of sometimes 4-8 instances a page… I threw in the towel. I’m simply not the type of person who can look over a lot of technical errors in what I read. I acknowledge that as a flaw of my own that the author is in no way responsible for… but it did stop me from enjoying the story.

I think that someone who is less OCD about the editing of the story could probably enjoy this story with no problem—as I said, the basic structure behind the book was really well done—but I’m just not the type of reader who can overcome the  problems presented by the editing. If technical errors don’t bother you, I highly recommend that any reader of the urban fantasy genre give this book a try—you could really like it. I wish I had been the type of person who could have read further into this book, but when my brain spends 90% of my reading time picking apart the grammar, punctuation, and fact-checking of a story, it’s time to admit defeat and throw in the towel. It just wasn’t for me.

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