In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter.
But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again.
With her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did.
A Thousand Steps into Night is a standalone YA fantasy novel heavily influenced by Japanese folklore and culture. This is an interesting adventure story brimming with all manner of characters, creatures, demons and spirits. The world building is solid and the descriptive writing conjures up vivid imagery of the world. The characters are interesting and I enjoyed following Miuko on her fantasy adventures. She starts off as a humble inn keeper’s daughter, when she gets demon-cursed her life changes. She is a strong, fearless and determined character which always makes a wonderful female lead. Geiki, the magpie trickster, is another great character providing some humour with his inability to stop pilfering shiny things. The author has kept romance out of the story entirely, although there are potentially moments I thought it may have developed.
Whilst the book was enjoyable for the most part there is a sizeable chunk around the middle section in which I lost my bearings and disconnected with the story. It became a little repetitive and constantly bounced from from one scene to the next fighting off some demon or another. This coupled with keeping track of the plethora of names and places by constantly referring to the footnotes was also bothersome. I’m not sure how I feel about the footnotes, on the one hand they provide easy reference to the pronunciations and definitions of the Japanese terminology, whereas on the other hand they really interrupted my flow of the story and in truth I ended up ignoring them.
A Thousand Steps into Night is an entertaining YA fantasy which will appeal to readers who enjoy mythological and folklore tales and lots of characters in their stories. There doesn’t appear to be a sequel, although the book ends in a way where there could potentially be one.
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date (UK): 14 April 2022
Page Count: 384
Genre: YA Fantasy
Thank you to the publisher for the gifted advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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