Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.75 / 5 stars)
There’s a space in Kanna’s memory, and it’s been that way for seven months. She doesn’t remember her mentor and friend, Kenneth, and her friends seem to be hiding things from her. But upon learning about eight dense shadows roaming the countryside, she and a handful of other apprentices are assigned a task to find these shadows and stop their disarray. But with the constant presence of her irregular, Liridian, impacting her emotions and attitude, can Kanna stop the dense shadows…or are there worst foes afoot?
Once again, we are taken back into the world of the irregulars with Kanna, this time seeing a shift in the kind-hearted main character we had come to know and love. She is jaded, more and more like Kenneth every day (at least as her fellow apprentices say behind her back), worn down by the presence of Liridian. This change is important: it shows that the impacts of the events in Dark Irregular remain.
White Blossom is a much stronger book than Dark Irregular overall. Having already ventured into this world with Kanna, we are familiar with the aspects of the shadows and the irregulars. Despite the fact that Kenneth is lost in the void, his presence might be the strongest though: you can feel him dictating the plot, even when Kanna is not aware. For a good portion of the book, the suspense of when Kanna and Kenneth would come together again left me saying “one more page”. With the arrival of the lone irregular though, it made the suspense all too great…and I couldn’t put it down until I finished the story.
Legaspi’s craft has certainly improved since I read Dark Irregular. The narration is stronger, while answering some questions about Kanna’s past and the world as a whole. Yet, it could be stronger – being less passive, with more showing rather than telling. The cast of named, and relevant, characters is large as well, and without much exposition into who they are, I was left confusing a number of them.
I think the thing that really made me knock this down to 3.75 stars though was the relationship between Kenneth and Kanna though. In Dark Irregular, I perceived them more as a brother and sister, especially due to their age differences (18 v. 15). In White Blossom, their deeper (inherently romantic) feelings for each other are skimmed upon. While with adult characters, a four year age difference is nothing, the ages of 18 and 15 are a little uncomfortable. Perhaps this will be clarified in the final book in the trilogy, Gray Heart, as being no more than a deep friendship that transcends traditional bonds. Or maybe they won’t admit feelings until Kanna turns eighteen.
To answer all these questions brewing in my head, I guess I’ll just have to pick up Gray Heart in the near future. If White Blossom was any indication, this series is just going to keep getting better and better.
What’s it about?
It has been seven months since the transfer of the Dark Irregular into Kanna as well as the loss of her memories of her dear friend, Kenneth. Life has been normal for the young apprentice of Division Thirteen, but throughout the endless days of tedious and disciplined training, studying, and spending the occasional day with her friends, Kanna has been feeling empty despite being filled with the presence of her new irregular.
After seven months of the same daily routine, a family from the minor kingdom of Rohnay arrives to have a meeting with the queen and inform her of the eight Dense Shadows that have been raiding towns and cities on the border between the east and west sides of Sylenia. These same, alarmingly human-like, Dense Shadows suddenly strike the Palace of the Crimson rose during the new knighting ceremony. Kanna finds one of them oddly familiar.
As one of the apprentices chosen to seek and eliminate the eight Dense Shadows, Kanna is eager to figure out the reason behind their raids as well as why that one shadow seemed familiar. To her horror, the raids and shadow are the least of her worries, for there is a high possibility that one of the dark queens is trying to breach the wall that keeps the two parallel worlds apart.
And she is not afraid to use any means necessary to do so.