Jordan Taylor

Out of this World
A translator reviews untranslated Japanese science fiction and fantasy books

The Chronicles of Leende: The Moon and the Sun

レーエンデ国物語 月と太陽 (Leende Goku Monogatari: Tsuki to Taiyо̄)

2024-05-13T18:28:52Z

Summary

Lucian, a boy and son of an influential priest, wakes in the middle of the night to his home on fire, where a masked man saves him, only to tell him if he ever sees him again, he'll kill him. Lucian runs away and finds himself in a village of the Tico people where he's taken in as a brother by two sisters, Tessa and Arete, though he tells him his name is Luce and he was a servant boy. When they grow older and Tessa volunteers to go as a militia conscript, Luce asks her to marry him, and she agrees, but only if he feels the same when he turns eighteen. Tessa starts off on her journey towards becoming the hero of Leende, while Luce is destined for something much different.

About the Book

Again, I'm not doing an About the Author section in this one because, guess what, it's another Ray Tasaki book! If you haven't read about them before, checkout my reviews here and here for the About the Author.

If you've read my review about the first book in this series, you'll have noticed by the summary that this book has entirely different characters. This book is in fact set over a hundred years after the events of book one. It's something I enjoy about the series: it's really about the history of this land, not any specific people. Though you do get to see and connect to the people in the process.

Review

Something I've been thinking lately about Japanese fiction is that it doesn't have as clear of a tone as English books tend to have. For example, a gritty, dark book in English is going to be overall gritty and dark with maybe some comedic relief, but otherwise the tone is very steady. You don't have shifts between gritty and beautiful and sweet and cozy, but I'm not sure this is as true for Japanese books. If you read my review about my least favorite books I've reviewed in my blog, The Boy and the Old Woman, you'll see that one of my big complaints was that I got this general tone from the book and it was completely destroyed by a disturbing rape scene.

This book, The Moon and the Sun, has a variety of tones in it but I don't hate it like I did in The Boy and the Old Woman. I specifically mentioned that one because we do see a couple of rapes in this book which made it feel quite a bit darker than the wonder and beauty that was in at least the beginning of the first installment of the series. Unlike in The Boy and the Old Woman, the rape scenes don't feel shoehorned in simply for shock value. They are shown as actual experiences that influence the victims, their loved ones, and even society, which feels like a far more thought out depiction than The Boy and the Old Woman. So, while those scenes are definitely not comfortable to read, I understand their value in the narrative (and honestly, they were not very graphic at all, one was even off screen, though imaginably nasty).

On an entirely different topic, I can't remember if I discussed this in my review for the first book (and I suppose I could just go look at that review but I'm lazy), but the setting for this fantasy series is what we'd call a low-magic setting. If you're not familiar with the term, it simply means that, while it is a magical setting, there is not a whole lot of magic. A high-magic setting is one where magic permeates every day life, you get magic-powered stoves and things, while in low-magic, most people won't see magic in their entire lives, which means much of the story doesn't feel all that different from a non-fantasy sort of Medieval setting. Though, I will say, since time has been moving on since the last book, we are starting to see technological advancements. Rifles are mentioned at one point. That's most of it, though.

Right, so, to sum up: I would say this book feels a bit darker than the previous installment, but it's a darn good story where each component feels important and relevant.

Potential Translation Issues

Names. Maybe one day I'll have something else to bring up, but not today. Actually, first one is title. I think someone may have to have a talk with the author about frozen idioms and how weird “the moon and the sun” is when we essentially always say “the sun and the moon.” But maybe weird is good in a title. Having read the book, I don't think the order has any particular importance. Would I change it if I had the choice? Maybe. I might.

But yes, character names are also a pain in the rear end. I think if I were to translate this, I'd hope the author could just give me a list they made with all the names and what sort of inspiration they had of what language they came from, but…I imagine that's unlikely to happen.

Oh, and I've already decided most of the names I wrote in the last review are not the ones I'd use in the end.

Final Ratings

How many stars? 5 out of 5.
Would I want to translate it? Yes. If you didn't already know I was going to say yes, you should probably go read more of my blog posts.

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