Book Review: Chanya by Poppy Kuroki

Chanya is the latest instalment of the Black Diamond origin stories by Poppy Kuroki, and as ever, I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know these characters and their stories. 

1. Thoughts on the plot

This story follows Chanya as she is saved from execution in her home town for partaking of violet smoke. She instead gets recruited to join an illustrious general as he journeys about to recruit other soldiers for a war in the south. The farther north they journey, however, the more secrets are uncovered, and Chanya does not agree with all the actions taken. 

The plot was fairly straightforward, with the characters getting into increasingly difficult circumstances, pushing each other and themselves into situations that could prove deadly. Straightforward though it was, I did enjoy it. It was a creative use of the natural elements and the character traits that were revealed along the way were very interesting.

2. Thoughts on the characters

Of the Black Diamond characters I’ve read thus far, Chanya is the one I am completely unsurprised to see as an assassin. She is tough, intelligent, and takes no nonsense from others. Yet she still manages to keep a strong sense of loyalty and does not fall into despair, despite the circumstances of her life. I really liked her search for a found family, even if that wasn’t what she initially set out to do. It makes her somehow more real, less a cold-hearted assassin, which is waht makes this series so fascinating.

3. Favourite part

The general’s deterioration and reasons for doing what he’s doing. I think that was done spectacularly well and I really enjoyed how it just sort of pushed everybody over the edge. I can, alas, say no more for fear of spoilers.

4. Critique

This story was a little concise for my tastes, not because the story needed to be any longer, but because I think that there is much potential there for a more intricate examination of the characters’ minds and ideals. Still, that is more a desire of mine to read more of these stories because they never fail to entertain.

Overall, Chanya is another lovely example of a story that does not always do what you expect, despite straightforward plots and characters who appear to be one thing. The story was entertaining, the characters revealed a great deal about themselves and I got once again to delve into a favourite world of mine.