For high schooler Yoko Nakajima, life has been fairly ordinary that is until Keiki, a young man with golden hair, tells Yoko they must return to their kingdom Once confronted by this mysterious being and whisked away to an unearthly realm, Yoko is left with only a magical sword a gem and a million questions about her destiny, the world she s trapped in, and the world she desperately wants to return to This book was a BLAST, omg.On the downside the prose was a bit flat and clunky once again, no idea if this was a matter of translation or not , but it wasn t too bad The decision to just skip the whole battle scene at the very end was completely inexplicable really, I cannot understand why the battle wasn t shown That was just a bizarre decision that made the ending a bit anti climatic Info dumps were present, but remained engaging enough, and honestly I don t know how they could have This book was a BLAST, omg.On the downside the prose was a bit flat and clunky once again, no idea if this was a matter of translation or not , but it wasn t too bad The decision to just skip the whole battle scene at the very end was completely inexplicable really, I cannot understand why the battle wasn t shown That was just a bizarre decision that made the ending a bit anti climatic Info dumps were present, but remained engaging enough, and honestly I don t know how they could have been avoided Yoko s angsting got repetitive from time to time it s not like I didn t understand and empathize with her feelings, it s just that they didn t need to keep being reiterated On the upside EVERYTHING ELSE Ugh, I am terrible at enumerating good points, BUT TRUST ME IT WAS AWESOME OKAY It s wildly entertaining it just sort of pulls you along and you can t stop Believable characterization, non stop action, some really fantastic worldbuilding Some of the ideas and imagery were so gorgeously bizarre the eggfruit trees the cloud sea that I almost want to put this on my weird shelf, but the narrative itself was enough of a traditional hero s journey that I m not sure it belongs there Otoh I am a tiny bit irritated to find that my idea of view spoiler children growing on trees hide spoiler has totally been done, lol Well anyway, suffice it to say, I m picking up the second book at first opportunity The book is fascinating , despite a somewhat too ordinary beginning.However I m a bit disappointed at the English Translation by Alexander O Smith It seems that he constantly removes Yoko s thinking voice , marked by the italic font, as he wants.let s take a few paragraphs from Sea of shadow and compare it with the French translation La pluie tombait comme de fins filaments qu une main g ante aurait sem s du ciel Y ko restait tendue, la joue pos e dans la flaque, incapable due moindre mouv The book is fascinating , despite a somewhat too ordinary beginning.However I m a bit disappointed at the English Translation by Alexander O Smith It seems that he constantly removes Yoko s thinking voice , marked by the italic font, as he wants.let s take a few paragraphs from Sea of shadow and compare it with the French translation La pluie tombait comme de fins filaments qu une main g ante aurait sem s du ciel Y ko restait tendue, la joue pos e dans la flaque, incapable due moindre mouvement, incapable m me de pleurer Elle entendit soudain derri re elle un bruit d herbes froiss esIl faudrait que je me mette l abriMais soulever sa t te tait au dessus de ses forces Quelqu un approchait Un habitant d un village avoisinant Un fauve Un d mon y ma bah, a n a pas d importanceQui que ce soit, qu est ce que a change qu un humain m arr te, qu une b te f roce ou un y ma me saute dessus et m gorge, ou que je reste affal e dans la boue, cela ne changera rien au r sultatwhich can be roughly translated toThe rain fell down like thin threads that a giant hand sowed from the sky Yoko stayed sprawling, cheek on a puddle, incapable of smallest movements, incapable of even cry She suddenly heard a noise behind her from the creased grassI must seek coverBut raising her head was beyond above her strength Someone was approaching A habitant of a neighboring village A fauve A demonpfff, it s of no importance it doesn t matter whoever it is, what does it change a human arrests me, a wild beast or d mon will jump on me and slit my throat, or I stay sprawling in the mud, that won t change anything to the end resultThe English translation is The rain fell endlessly, like thin silken threads cast streaming from the sky Yoko was lying on her side, cheek in a puddle, unable to get up, unable even to cry when she heard a rustling in the underbrush behind her Her instincts screamed at her to seek cover, but she could barely raise her head to see what was comingA villager A wild animal A demon Of course, she thought, no matter what it was, the end result would be the same Whether she was captured, attacked, or simply left to lie here in the mud, she would wind up in the same placeDead I don t have the original Japanese version here so I can t conclude anything, but it s quite obvious that the English version is a summarized synthesized and worse one, while the French one retains much of the original material When you consider that the French version was translated by Fumihiko Suzuki and Patrick Honnor , whilst there was only one English translater, who was non japanese, you would clearly see why therefore, I suggest getting the French version, or any other version if possible, but if you can t get those, or can t understand any other language, you should understood that what you read may not be as good as the original Yoko Nakajima is a Japanese high schooler Her main defining trait seems to be that she wants to make everyone happy, which leaves her with all the spine of a wet noodle After being dropped into a fantasy country with the clothes on her back, a sword, and a spirit that lets her use it, this personality trait is not going to help her out.One reason I really liked Sea of Shadow was that Yoko showed a great deal of character evolution through the book Her journey teaches her to both become self r Yoko Nakajima is a Japanese high schooler Her main defining trait seems to be that she wants to make everyone happy, which leaves her with all the spine of a wet noodle After being dropped into a fantasy country with the clothes on her back, a sword, and a spirit that lets her use it, this personality trait is not going to help her out.One reason I really liked Sea of Shadow was that Yoko showed a great deal of character evolution through the book Her journey teaches her to both become self reliant, and allow herself to rely on others without just becoming what they want to see The lack of knowledge Yoko has of what exactly is going on is well handled, when her guide, Keiki, disappears later on.My one critique of the book is that the ending feels rushed Once Yoko figures out why she was brought to the Twelve Kingdoms, and comes up with a plan to rescue Keiki from imprisonment, the last couple of scenes feel rushed, like the author felt like they weren t as important as the inner journey Yoko went through This book was on my shelf for about a year, taunting me with it s width and bright blue dust jacket I had this particular attachment to it, that I can t really explain or understand It had the familiarity of walking into the room and seeing my cat curled up on the couch Whenever I picked it up and looked at it s cover, I d wonder why I noticed it so much and why, because of this, I still hadn t read it yet.Well I can wonder that no longer I ll have to admit that because of this weird wonderm This book was on my shelf for about a year, taunting me with it s width and bright blue dust jacket I had this particular attachment to it, that I can t really explain or understand It had the familiarity of walking into the room and seeing my cat curled up on the couch Whenever I picked it up and looked at it s cover, I d wonder why I noticed it so much and why, because of this, I still hadn t read it yet.Well I can wonder that no longer I ll have to admit that because of this weird wonderment I experienced for nearly a year before finally reading this, the book fell a little short of my expectations However, it was still a great read, and was actually a lot different than what I had expected I don t think it s fair to compare it to Studio Ghibli s Spirited Away my favourite movie , because they re presented in two different mediums and are their own respective works, but there are notable similarities The biggest similarity and much to my delight is the character growth of the main characters.Yoko grows SO MUCH in this book And I love it I don t mind a main character that starts out as a sniveling, annoying brat, as long as you can see them progress as their journey does They don t even have to become a good person as long as their actions and experiences shape them, it s exquisite kisses fingers and gestures in the Italian fashion.This book or books it seems Tokyopop combined two in translation is very much a foundation for the series so I assume, anyway , but it doesn t feel like one long prologue you have to begrudgingly sit through only to know what the heck is going on for the rest of the series It is a pretty long book, but you re rewarded with little drawings every 60 pages for a little break and a refresher of where the characters are at in location and looks.Also refreshing no instalove There aren t even any crushes That is mighty refreshing in a young adult book Granted, there aren t really any characters that stick around long enough for a relationship to build, but I ve seen YA books that introduce a male character only to take him away again, with the heroine helplessly in love and doing anything in her power to see him again.All in all, good book I will continue to the series as soon as I get my hands on the next book Tokyopop only translated the first four cough they went under and left me with SO MANY UNFINISHED SERIES cough , but thankfully there seems to be a French company that translated the entire series, and I am conveniently fluent in French thanks mom It s becoming increasingly harder to get copies of these books, so for any of you who are interested in reading this series but don t know French or don t have the resources to get the books in print, there are online translations of most of the books in this series and its side series Conduct a simple Google search and it should be one of the first results You didn t hear that from me, though