I got this book from a garbage dump kind of sale in a mall for less than half a dollar. Judging from the cover, the price, and where I have found it I made no serious fuss about this book. I don’t even know why I picked it in the first place! Never mind that because the book exceeded every expectation and turned out to be an exciting journey.
To be clear from the very first: this book is no literary masterpiece. Rather, this is a YA book. YA books don’t have to be bad. Some of them can indeed be good! (think of The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket); compared to that series however, this book is lacking of illustration of any sort.
The premise bears striking resemblance to Sherlock Holmes stories. Only this book features Zenta and Matsuzo instead of Sherlock and Watson. There are other books available in the series (called ‘A Zenta and Matsuzo Mystery’ series) which are hard to find. In this story, Zenta, a masterless ronin, with his companion and protege, Matsuzo, made a journey to the White Serpent Castle to look for a job. Inside the castle they are confronted with dozens of hostile samurais and they find out that the Lord of the Castle is dead and the situation is in chaos. And there is another thing: the castle is haunted by the White Serpent Ghost—a monstrous white creature said to emerge whenever a crisis threaten the castle. On top of that there are also sword fights, murder, and swarms of mini twists.
You might like this book if you take this book easily. No need to be over-analytic about this. A pleasant entertainment is all. The setting is great: the whole thing happened in a majestic Japanese castle, and because of the nature of the story, I can imagine they make this into a decent movie with proper martial arts choreography and luxurious background settings… because if there is anything lacking from this book, it would be the poor verb usage on fighting scenes. Not bad for a trash sale.