Title: Blossom of the Samurai (Sword and Silk Trilogy #3)
Author: Sedonia Guillone
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Page Count: 112
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The samurai’s only true master is his heart…
For seven years while training for his life as a samurai, Toho Morimasa has been away from Aoki, the beautiful actor who helped him to heal from the trauma of his parents’ brutal murders. Now, nightmares that Aoki is in trouble plague Toho’s sleep, and he makes the journey back from Edo to Kai, no longer wanting to be away from Aoki’s side. Once there, Toho meets the very real source of his nightmares and vows to honor and protect Aoki. When his beloved Aoki is brutally assaulted, will Aoki survive long enough to understand that the love Toho has for him is the love he too has been craving his whole life but doesn’t feel he deserves?
Set in 1800’s Japan in the world of samurai, a rigid caste system and feudal lords, Blossom of the Samurai is the third and final book in the Sword and Silk Trilogy. I would suggest reading the first two books beforehand because characters and background from those books figure prominently here.
We first met Toho when he was taken in by Sho and Hirata after the murder of his parents. Kind and nurturing Aoki, a kabuki actor and former kagema (prostitute), was instrumental in Toho’s recovery and is Toho’s dearest friend. Toho, now almost an adult, has a series of disturbing dreams about Aoki and returns from Edo to make sure his dear friend is safe. When Aoki is brutalized by a lover, Toho alone holds the key to helping his friend recover.
There is a lovely cadence to Guillone’s writing and a subtleness of emotion that I really enjoy, but the plot had such a narrow focus (Aoki and Toho) that the pace felt very slow. There is a brief subplot about Sho avenging Aoki, but it is not enough of a driving force to sustain the story throughout its 112 pages. There is little chemistry or sizzle between the two and one brief love scene, but there is deep love between Aoki and Toho:
You helped me heal. You have helped to make me smile again, to want to live, because you are in my life and I don’t want to miss a moment we could have together. You are the best friend I ever had and could ever hope for. There is no greater love than a lover who is your true friend. The mate of my soul.
I would recommend Blossom of the Samurai, giving it 3.25 stars, because it neatly ends the trilogy and we get another glimpse of Genji and Daisuke, as well as Sho and Hirata. However, personally Flying Fish is my favorite book of the triology.