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Book Review: Spirits of Vengeance

Table of Contents

He’ll die as many times as it takes.

The Ipian Empire was once a land that welcomed dragons and spirits alike, but a century of war and bloodshed saw them all but vanish. Now, the lost things are returning and the Onryo have gathered. Five legendary spirits with mysterious powers, bent on freeing an ancient evil that would wreak havoc on humanity.

Haruto swore his soul to the God of Death for the chance to hunt down the vengeful ghost of his wife. Now an onmyoji, he’s tasked by the Imperial Throne to hunt down monsters and malicious spirits. But he knows not all spirits are evil and not all deserve the peace of the sword.

Kira is a student at Heiwa, an academy for children with dangerous techniques. But she has a secret, she’s not like the other students. When the school is attacked, she flees with one of the tutors, determined to hide both from those who would kill her, and those who would use her.

As a plague of spirits sweeps across the land, the Onryo leave a bloody trail for Haruto to follow. But who’s hunting who?”

Title: Spirits of Vengeance

Series: Standalone (Mortal Techniques #3)

Author: Rob J. Hayes

Page Count: 552

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: September 14th, 2023

My year of reading Rob J. Hayes continued in September with Spirits of Vengeance. As much as I enjoy so many of Rob’s reads I went into this one with relatively high hopes and expectations. Unfortunately, this one fell just a bit short of that. I can’t really pinpoint why but I know for one thing this read was much longer than the others in this series. This might have contributed to me feeling things were just kind of floating along from time to time allowing me to lose some interest.
 
One of the reasons I had such high hopes for this one beyond my past experiences with the author is that I love the them of these characters and monsters. I have played tabletop games for almost 20 years and one of those is a game called Malifaux in which I put together and fielded a crew of Onryo, Gakis and such.
 
The pacing was my biggest let down in this one. I think most of the author’s reads are much faster pace than this one seemed to be. No issues with names or vocabulary which is consistent with his works. It just seemed like things were dragging on at several points. I usually like stories within stories but this one seemed to border on a bit too much of this. Sometimes I felt I was getting lost as to what was current and what was being told by one of the characters of things that happened in the past.
 
The world building was a strong point for me due to the connection mentioned just moments ago with these creatures or spirits. I really love this setting overall.
 
The character development was also fairly strong. We see not only our main protagonist but some of the supporting roles really develop throughout this read. It’s always more entertaining for me when our characters aren’t too static. There were some really good character reveals along the way too.
 
Overall this was still a good read, it was just probably my least favorite from this author up to this point. My own high expectations may have even contributed to this feeling as well, I’m not sure.

World Building 4.5/5
Pacing 3.5/5
Character Development 4/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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