DISCLOSURE: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.
Sarah K.L. Wilson’s Matsumoto Trilogy revolves around Vera, a sixteen year old whose entire world and existence teeters on the cusp of madness after she violated the most sacred of directives: thou shall not kill. Consequently, she’s given a mission, which could prove improbable, without the aid of her bodyguard. His name is Roman.
However, this was a prequel, and its focus wasn’t on Vera. It was a searing glimpse into the everyday life of Roman, and his loving mother and father aboard the Awenasa, prior to the events of The Ex-Pacifist.
Wilson’s prose was crisp, the pacing sufficient. It could have been slower, actually, and nothing would have been lost. If anything, it would have been stronger. It’s possible that, if she’d gone that route, a more engaging and valiant result could have ensued.
It’s also worth noting that though tension and slow buildup are often viewed synonymously, they’re not the same thing. Some tension would have gone a long way here. Perhaps some minimal explanation, too, as to why the Empire made such an extreme decision. I suspect, though, that going forward, keeping those motivations cryptic created more intrigue.
Given the brevity of Roman’s backstory (which delivered a gutteral, unprecedented punch,) Wilson painted the character’s fairly clearly. Not don’t that I knew them intimately, but she gave me a good sense of who they were, and what was imperative to them. In other words, she didn’t give too much away; leaving plenty to look back on and hopefully develop nicely throughout the omnibus. Grammatically, there were very little sentences that stood out as needing additional editing. Otherwise, her prose was very clean and simplistic, with a refreshing lack of flowery language. The entire story was visually stimulating. I couldn’t put it down, yet I was loath for it to end.
I’m especially anxious to jump into The Ex-Pacifist. now more than ever. You have a new fan, Sarah.