Occasionally, I’ll post a review of a book I especially like and today offer my thoughts on a new series, The Matsumoto Trilogy by Sarah K L Wilson. Be sure and read the free sample on Amazon – but be warned, you won’t be able to stop! Here’s the link to the first book, “The Ex-Pacifist.”
Authors of Young Adult books have a hard job. They have to tell a good story and make the book exciting while providing conflict and obstacles to overcome. This is the same with fiction in any category, of course, but the YA author carries a heavier burden – they need to have a full measure of excitement, drama, heartbreak and joy without being too explicit. It’s a fine line in that they need to remember their target audience while, at the same time, tell a story an adult could appreciate.
Sarah K. Wilson pulls off this difficult balancing act with near perfection in her new series, The Matsumoto Trilogy. The story itself has echoes of classic science fiction, with its large cast and its focus on an epic-sized story arc set on different worlds. Each of the three books tells a discrete part of the story (revealing more would constitute a spoiler!) and the first two end with an appropriate cliffhanger. I’m just glad I had all three so I didn’t have to wait to finish the story!
The books are full of action and suspense, but I believe the most important element is the characters- and especially the main character, Vera Matsumoto.
Born into privilege and schooled in duty, Vera is the niece of the Emperor in a far future space empire that has more than a few references to old Earth and Japanese culture. This is an exquisitely creative approach that allows Vera to come alive for the reader as she struggles with her training and heritage and as she decides, in a moment of sheer terror, to abandon it all.
Vera is a complex character, at times loving and generous while often displaying selfishness and even pettiness. In order words, she’s human.
The work is not, however, perfect. The pacing can be uneven at times, jumping from action scenes where you read in shock and amazement, to slower sections filled with description. Actually, that may be a good thing – it allows you to catch your breath.
But my thoughts always come back to Vera – driven by her genes to lead, but doing it her own way. In the end she . . . well, I can’t tell you that.
And that’s why I like her and The Matsumoto Trilogy so much. My strongest recommendation for all ages.
Just get the book. Get all three. You won’t be sorry.