Thumper’s mother always said that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. However, as I’ve agreed to write a review for this book, that may be rather difficult and so with that in mind…
The Scarlet Kimono centres around seventeen year-old Hannah Marston whose biggest problems in life are that she’s ginger and a girl. Hannah naïvely decides to stow away on her brother’s ship headed for Japan, and then proceeds to makes a series of ever more dim-witted decisions that eventually lead her to be kidnapped by the daimyo (feudal lord), Taro Kumashiro. The rest of the book is non-stop, slightly disappointing, will-they-won’t-they storyline interspersed with scenes of mild peril and love.
Punch-ups with the protagonist
Now, although they aren’t my go-to type of book, I generally don’t mind romance novels. I was willing to give this book a go because the back cover intimated that it would also contain quite a lot of adventure (yay adventure!). Unfortunately, I don’t like adventure enough to read-past the fact that I just really didn’t like Hannah. This was an upsetting discovery, as I realised at only page 12 that this book probably wasn’t going to float my boat (to Japan). I found Hannah super frustrating for two reasons: 1) in some situations she is incredibly impulsive, to the point that she is a prime candidate for a Darwin award (although given this story is situated in 1611, maybe I should say a Baconian failure); 2) in some situations she is incredibly indecisive, to the point that I wanted to reach into the book, shake her shoulders, and scream, “GET A RUDDY GRIP HANNAH!”
Not my cup of tea
This is definitely a type of book where good-things-happen-to-good-people and bad-things-happen-to-bad-people. Maybe I am cynical, but I feel that if the worlds and characters created in books aren’t believable, even just a teeny bit, then I just cannot seem to invest myself into them. Every time there was a scene of peril or love, the fact that the outcome was predictable left me feeling more than a little flat. Oh and in addition, it was super irritating that the chapters were presented as interwoven Hannah-Taro-Hannah-Taro (etcetera) chapters, until more than a third of the way into the book… this made it even more difficult for my brain to get on side. I know that there will be some people who read this book and enjoy it, but disappointingly for you reading this review I am just not one of them.