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Book Review The Heart of Iuchiban A Legend of The Five Rings Novel by Evan Dicken

As always I want to start by saying that I was given a copy of this to review as part of a @AconyteBooks book tour. My review is honest and left voluntarily. #NetGalley #AconyteBooks #LegendoftheFiveRings #TieinFiction

I am fully enjoying the Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) tie-in novels that Aconyte are putting out. Each author in the world has a distinctive voice but manages to capture the essence of the card and table top game while adding their own voice and flair to the narratives. I had already enjoyed Evan Dicken’s first novel in the L5R world, To Chart the Clouds, so I was very excited for the Heart of Iuchiban. I particularly liked the fact we would get to see all the fans working together in this one, even an easy task in the universe and lore of Rokugan.

The Heart of Iuchiban has all the makings of an epic fantasy – a group of differing people joining forces to try and stop an evil that could destroy the whole world. Perfect for a tie-in novel of a roleplaying game. At times it does read just like that but that isn’t actually a bad thing. Especially with the tone and style of writing that Evan Dicken uses.

One thing I will say is that the novel is character heavy, now I love character heavy novels, but newer readers may find it a tad off putting. I’d like to assure potential readers though that each character, even background ones, are there for a reason and it isn’t as daunting as it may seem initially. While some names may sound the same I found it easy to differentiate between them all. Now in fairness I have played L5R both via the card game and RPG as well as read the old tie-in novels but I don’t feel that it would be off putting to those new to the games or the novel world.

I did particularly like the fact all clans were present and it was nice to see them, even if a few of them fell directly into the clan stereotypes. Personally, though I enjoyed this since I think it would be a good grounding read for those newer to the games or world of Rokugan. Dicken clearly shows what members of each clan are expected or thought to be like and I loved every minute of it. I probably should add I am a tad biased, L5R is one of my favourite games and I adore Asian history and culture (particularly Japan) but I feel like even if you don’t tick those boxes you will enjoy this.

All in all this was a brilliant addition to the growing Legend of the Five Rings line up and I cannot wait to read more in this line and more work by Evan Dicken who clearly knows the source material and is passionate about their writing. If you love L5R or a good Asian inspired fantasy you will find it hard not to love The Heart of Iuchiban.


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