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REVIEW: Sins of the Fathers by Anna O’Neill

Dear Ms. O’Neill,

A short story set in historical Japan featuring warriors sounded interesting. Make that very interesting since there’s no paranormal element. I can do without a lot of paranormal. So I downloaded it and fired it up.

The weight of the past could tear them apart-

In his first mission as a shinobi, Sora Sanada has more than its success riding on his shoulders. Every move he makes is a reflection on his clan's honor. So when an unexpected scuffle leaves him injured and the mission in jeopardy, he'd rather be left behind-‘but his partner, the mysterious, masked Kaname, has other ideas.

Kaname breathes a silent sigh of relief when the younger, less-experienced Sora agrees to a plan to throw their enemies off their trail. As a member of the deposed Takeda clan, the last thing he needs is more disgrace heaped upon the family name should he lose the Sanada princeling.

His plan to disguise themselves as naked lovers is a rousing success in more ways than one. It sparks a bond that shakes them to the core-‘and the Shinano Province to its foundations-

First off, I didn’t realize it would be quite so short. The story formatted to 100 pages on my Sony 505 but when I got to the end, I discovered that about 20 pages of that 100 are excerpts for other stories. Had I bought this instead of getting it for review purposes, I would have been pissy at that point. Just saying…

Sins of the Fathers by Anna O'NeillBut on to more positive things. I like how Sora grows and matures as the story progresses. And how patient Kaname is with him while he does it. I remember being nineteen and thinking I knew it all. By the time I was thirty, I knew better. Kaname has a nice, disarming sense of humor and a way of dealing with Sora’s insecurities that, I think, comes with age and experience. By the end, Sora appears to be well on his way to maturing as a man as well as being a good warrior. Knowing how to fight can be trained; being a man must be earned.

The sex scenes are hot and intense. I enjoyed the ultimate playfulness of the first one but I wonder if Kaname is supposed to have historical Japanese Gaydar. How does he know that Sora will be receptive to his actions? Dunno but at least Sora is and we get some hawt manlove. The way the relationship moves from just physical attraction through actually letting another person get near to him emotionally works well for me. Perhaps they will make it to Edo and be able to put their pasts behind them.

I was disappointed that the great secret behind Kaname’s family disgrace is built up and built up then so lightly skimmed over. As for the historical details, well, there were just enough to give me some grounding in what you were presenting but I think there won’t be enough for people looking for a heavy dose of historical realism. For instance, I not even sure exactly when in time the story takes place. Since the title Edo is used instead of Tokyo, I know it takes place before 1868 but beyond that, I’m lost. But if you’re not going to go in depth, then I say stay at the level you did and give enough information to serve the needs of the story.

I liked meeting Sora and Kaname and watching them begin a relationship. Will there be future adventures for them as they head to Edo and try and stay one village ahead of those after them? I hope so. B



Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


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    May 06, 2010 @ 13:29:41

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  2. cs
    May 06, 2010 @ 14:38:43

    I found this story…messy. It didn’t read historical to me, whatever that means. I think I give it a C- or something. I did enjoy the characters though, they were the highlight. I sort of wished they were not suited in the historical genre.

    Isn’t this a book from Samhain? Don’t they tend to have 100+ excerpts at the end of every book?

  3. Brian
    May 06, 2010 @ 16:41:02

    Isn't this a book from Samhain? Don't they tend to have 100+ excerpts at the end of every book?

    Yep, they do.

  4. Jayne
    May 06, 2010 @ 16:42:56

    @Brian: Yes, I should know this by now but it still gets me every time.

  5. Nadia Lee
    May 07, 2010 @ 07:40:08

    @Jayne: If it’s a Samhain book, why do you have this at the end of the review? (after the buy-links)

    This is a trade paperback published by NAL but pre-Agency pricing.

  6. Samantha
    May 07, 2010 @ 17:20:33

    Read it, was utterly disgusted by the somewhat shoddy writing and too-unrealistic setting. If this is historical, then I’d hate to see what was classified as fantasy, because it’ll probably involve a twenty-legged spider having mad sex with the heroine. On second thought…

    Researched this was not.

  7. cs
    May 07, 2010 @ 18:39:40

    @Samantha: Thank God I wasn’t the only one who thought this was not a historical. I chalked it up to maybe me being ignorant, cause I don’t read the genre. But even I went O_0 a few (many) times.

  8. cs
    May 07, 2010 @ 18:41:12

    @Brian: Those added “bonuses” at the end really annoy me since I still go by page number. Meaning, when I open up a Samhain book and it says 275 pages, what it really means is 199 pages. Their length bit tells me nothing since each publisher has their own thoughts on what is considered short, novella or novel length.

  9. Moriah Jovan
    May 07, 2010 @ 20:39:22

    I automatically go to the end of the ebooks I buy, track back to the actual end of the story, and bookmark it. I can see at a glance where the story ends.

    I won’t stop putting all that stuff in the back of my books, so I don’t get huffy about anybody else doing it.

  10. cs
    May 08, 2010 @ 08:12:58

    @Moriah Jovan: I don’t go to the end of the ebooks I buy, I’m not sure why I would anyway.

    Don’t stop, no one said you should. Some of us don’t like it, and FYI we’re allowed to say that. Huffy or not.

  11. Moriah Jovan
    May 08, 2010 @ 09:19:23


    Don't stop, no one said you should. Some of us don't like it, and FYI we're allowed to say that. Huffy or not.

    I meant no offense. I should have said, “I TRY not to get huffy about it” because, well, it kind of annoys me, too.

  12. Nadia Lee
    May 08, 2010 @ 22:23:34

    @cs: If you’re interested in how Samhain categorizes its offerings by length:

    Short Stories: $2.50 – 12,000 to 18,000 words
    Novellas: $3.50 – 18,001 to 35,000 words
    Category: $4.50 – 35,001 to 60,000 words
    Novel: $5.50 – 60,001 to 100,000 words
    Plus Novel: $6.50 – over 100,000 words


    I wish epublishers have some sort of standard labels for length. It can get a bit confusing and frustrating to buy a “novella” and end up with a super short story. :-(

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