Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I probably liked this book better than all the previous publications. (Published last, it is still a full prequel of the events that follow the next generation.)
This has tragic aspects because we just can't get away from it while we spend our time in a Shogunate-ish Japan full of thugs, nastiness, and inequality.
But fortunately, the main characters make up for that. The underlying love story inherent here later becomes the backdrop of so many shocking and sad reveals in the later books so I'm on the fence about recommending this book #0 before #1-4.
The effect of reading #1-4 and then jumping back to this prequel is quite nice. As in, damn, that was a ton of tragedy and this new (but old) history isn't QUITE as dark and at least we get to point at all the previously hidden events in the other novels and go... "Wow, isn't wonderful?" or "This adds so much more dimension."
I can't say for anyone else on this point. But for me, it made this novel my favorite of all five. :) Maybe it's because I've been invested and the payoff is just right and maybe the author's skills are even better in this later book. Who knows?
All I know is that I loved it. :)
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