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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Eagle and the Sparrow is a work of fiction in the historical and fantasy sub-genres and was penned by author Claire Youmans. The seventh novel in the Toki-Girl and the Sparrow Boy collection, the work is suitable for readers of all ages, though it does accurately reflect the uglier side of Japanese culture and history as much as the beauty. Set in the Meiji Era in 1875, the story continues as dual-natured beings discover the difficulties of living as humans amid tumultuous and changing times. As characters fall in love, are separated and face various heartaches, so the ensemble comes together against the backdrop of wickedness, selfishness, and greed in Japan.
Author Claire Youmans has crafted a fascinating and truly unique fantasy series that delves deep into Japanese folklore and stays true to the core values of its culture and historical heritage. I particularly enjoyed the characterization of Shota the Sparrow-Boy, who feels his duty painfully but is also going through an important emotional crisis during this tale. The geographical settings of the piece mix well with the folklore elements, and the various characters’ ability to fly, which allows us more scope and more beautifully described vistas and locations as the novel progresses. Highly suitable for teen readers and upwards, there is much to learn in the accurate history that the author weaves amongst her fantasy storylines, and overall I would highly recommend The Eagle and the Sparrow as a must-read for those seeking original fantasy works from other cultures.