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Reviewed by Charity Tober for Readers' Favorite
Toru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie Sorensen is book one in the Sakura Steam series. Set in the late 1800s, the story follows a young man named Toro, who returns to his homeland of Japan. Toro was shipwrecked and taken to America, and returns to Japan, despite the threat of death from an evil shogun (who doesn't want anyone who has left to come back). Toro must utilize all of his knowledge and skills in order to outsmart and stay ahead of those who wish him and his country harm. The plot and the world of this book form a unique combination of genres. It was so interesting to not only read about shoguns, samurais and ancient Japan, but to also have airships and other steampunk elements. This really elevated the story to a new level.
First off, I just want to say that I love the book cover! I think it really embodies the plot of the book (the unique combination of feudalistic Japan and steampunk) and will really catch readers' eyes. I found Toro to be a likable hero; he was stubborn and resilient, but also flawed and uncertain at times; I think this gave him a very realistic appeal. And fans of strong female characters are sure to love Masuyo! She was the perfect companion for Toro and I really enjoyed all of their conversations and interactions.
You can tell that Sorensen took great care to research this period in Japanese history. All of the authentic little details and accurate descriptions really lend not only credibility, but also believability to the storyline. Sorensen takes a variety of real historical facts and seamlessly blends them together with exciting steampunk elements, creating one entertaining story! I would recommend Toru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie Sorensen to all fans of action, adventure, historical and steampunk genres.