Setsuko & the Seven Samurai

Good Tales For Bad Dreams Book 4

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
120 Pages
Reviewed on 04/14/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

V.M. Sawh was born in South America and grew up in Toronto, Canada. He's been writing since he was six and completed his first trilogy of novels while still a teen. After a chance encounter with Academy Award-Winning director, Guillermo Del Toro persuaded him to publish his first short story "Cinders", V.M. Sawh never looked back. His short fiction has gone on to reach the #1 spot on Amazon's lists in each of their genres.

V.M. Sawh is a proud supporter of independent artists and authors. His "Good Tales For Bad Dreams" series of dark fairy tales is currently available on Amazon.

He currently resides in Ontario, Canada with his lovely wife Kristin and three devoted cats.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Amy Powers for Readers' Favorite

Good Tales For Bad Dreams, a series of re-imagined fairy tales, presents the fourth standalone installment in the series with Setsuko & the Seven Samurai by V.M. Sawh. Set in 16th-century Japan, Setsuko is the daughter of the daimyo who controls the surrounding lands, and her father's health has been declining ever since he welcomed the geisha Izanami into the castle as his guest. Izanami's evil plan to take over power is finally put into place when she murders the daimyo and attempts to assassinate Setsuko as well. Unbeknownst to Izanami, Setsuko manages to escape with her life, but disfigurement leaves her blind and unrecognizable. She takes up shelter with her father's former samurai, who aid in training her to fight as she seeks to avenge her father's death and reclaim what is rightfully hers.

Setsuko & the Seven Samurai is a unique retelling of the class fairy tale Snow White, set in the historical era of feudal Japan. V.M. Sawh does an excellent job of incorporating accurate historical as well as cultural information that has been preserved through to modern times. While some prior knowledge of Japanese history might be beneficial for readers, I found the story to be exceptionally refreshing as Eastern and Western stories merge into one hauntingly beautiful and descriptive tale that is easy to imagine and impossible to put down. Most suitable for young adult readers and older, fairy tale lovers are sure to enjoy this novella, which is incomparable to anything I've ever read before.

Rolanda Lyles

Setsuko is the beautiful daughter of the Daimyo Ishiguro. Her future is set. She is the sole heir of the castle and lands. The geisha Izanami comes into their family's life after the death of her mother as a companion to Ishiguro and a sort of caretaker for Setsuko, but there is something about her that Setsuko doesn't trust. Setsuko's one and only friend and trusted companion is her servant, Reiko, but later she discovers that Reiko is not just her servant but her guard. Fueled by jealousy and greed, the wicked Izanami orchestrates the murder of her father and an even more horrendous attack on Setsuko. Orphaned, abandoned, and disabled, Setsuko must learn how to hone her other senses to have a chance at reclaiming her family's honor and getting her revenge.

V.M.Sawh's Setsuko and the Seven Samurai is a fast-paced short novel jam-packed with action and suspense! Sawh's writing is detailed and graphic. You see the beautiful scenes as Satsuko remembers her mother and her painting. You also graphically see when Setsuko is attacked and deeply mutilated both in mind and body. Sawh's writing takes you on an emotional roller coaster. I thoroughly enjoyed the references to Snow White with a samurai twist and learning a little about Japanese culture and language. Throughout the story, Sawh would use a term and then give the definition. A gripping and compelling read, Setsuko and the Seven Samurai is a must-read for all that enjoy stories full of action, suspense, and love of family.

Pikasho Deka

Setsuko & the Seven Samurai is the fourth installment in the Good Tales For Bad Dreams anthology series by V.M. Sawh. Set in feudal Japan in the sixteenth century, the book follows the story of Setsuko, the beautiful young daughter of Daimyo Ishiguro. Setsuko's life of privilege turns upside down when her father's consort, the geisha Izagami, alongside her lackey, the rogue samurai Takeshi, conspires to kill and murder Ishiguro. Afterward, they brutally ravage Setsuko's face, leaving her blind and half-dead in the woods. Rescued by six of her father's former loyal samurai, Setsuko undergoes a long and painful period of rehabilitation. Now, she has only one thing on her mind; vengeance. With a master samurai teaching her the ways of bushido, can Setsuko rediscover her inner strength and restore her family's honor?

Fast-paced and action-packed, V.M. Sawh's gripping action thriller tale is an absolute blast to read. If you're a fan of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, you're going to love Setsuko & the Seven Samurai. Author V.M. Sawh draws inspiration from medieval Japanese folklore to create a revenge action masterpiece that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Setsuko is a disfigured young daughter of a noble who seeks revenge on the people who destroyed her life and ruined her family's legacy. Despite her violent ambitions, you can't help but root for her. Much like the Tarantino movies, V.M. Sawh's action sequences are described in vivid detail, happen in quick bursts, and leave quite an imagery in your mind. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

Nicholus Schroeder

Setsuko & The Seven Samurai is a thrilling short story by V. M. Sawh. The book is set in feudal Japan in the year 1543 and presents the reader with an in-depth look into the power struggle taking place in a vassal's castle. The naïve and beautiful Setsuko, daughter of Daimyo Ishiguro, had her entire world turned upside down when her father was assassinated and she realized that she was surrounded by vipers poised to strike. Setsuko's fears were well-founded as an attempt was made on her life as well. However, she managed to evade her killer and later reunited with former samurai loyal to her house (lineage). Setsuko lost her father to the demons that now resided in her home, and was scarred beyond recognition, but her spirit remained unbroken! She vows to seek vengeance for her father and her house. Join Setsuko and the brave samurai on their grand quest for vengeance at any cost.

Setsuko & The Seven Samurai was quite moving and had some touching moments strewn throughout its memorable plot. I sympathized with Setsuko's plight deeply and her misfortunes tugged at my heartstrings. I'm extremely satisfied with the characters found in this book, and that’s quite an impressive feat for a short story to achieve as the reader spends little time with the characters before the tale ends. V. M. Sawh, however, has created memorable and very likable characters as even the antagonist was well-written. I could see things from the antagonist's point of view without me hating the character. Fight scenes were equally remarkable and well-choreographed, and I'm glad as badly choreographed fight scenes between samurai can be a disaster. The battles should resemble a dance and not a brawl between knights armed with broad swords. Overall, this is an excellent story and one that I wholeheartedly recommend to readers that love a good fable set in feudal Japan.

Jennifer Ibiam

In sixteenth-century feudal Japan, Daimyō Ishiguro ruled a small province and was quite wealthy. After the death of his wife, he brought a geisha named Izanami to lift their spirits at the castle. However, the ruthless Izanami had another mission against the Ishiguro. She coveted the lands, wealth, and beauty of Daimyō’s daughter, Setsuko. Daimyō fell ill and was eventually murdered because he refused to reveal the location of a treasure. Izanami also mutilated Setsuko’s face, gouged out her eyes, and tried to kill her. Setsuko escaped into the woods, where she stayed with her father’s loyal but deposed samurai. Could a blind, orphaned, and badly mutilated princess avenge her family? Follow the journey of Setsuko & the Seven Samurai by V. M. Sawh.

Setsuko & the Seven Samurai by V. M. Sawh is the fourth installment in the Good Tales For Bad Dreams series. It is a tale of greed, deceit, scheming, betrayal, loyalty, valor, and vengeance. This novel had a compelling plot and an intense storyline that kept me on the edge of my seat. Often, the devil we seek is the kindest person resident in our domain. I loved Setsuko. So naïve, yet courageous. However, Shingen Nakamura shone in this novel. He was wise, focused, meticulous, and excellent! I lived for his face-off with Takeshi. Sawh did thorough research, enlightening me about the traditions and customs of sixteenth-century Japan. I couldn’t get over the ohaguro practice. I also felt terrible for Reiko and Hitoshi and wished them a better fate. This book was action-packed, fast-paced, and riveting. I loved it!