Title: Takaoka's Travels
Author: Shibusawa Tatsuhiko
Publication Date: 14 May 2024 (1987)
Format: eBook - EPUB
Source: ARC via Edelweiss
A fantasy set in the ninth century, Takaoka’s Travels recounts the adventures of a Japanese prince-turned-monk on a pilgrimage to India. As Prince Takaoka and his companions pass through faraway lands, the rules of the ordinary world are upended, and they find curiosities and miracles wherever they go. The travelers encounter strange creatures--a white ape who guards a harem of bird-women, beasts who feed on dreams, a dog-headed man who can see hundreds of years into the future. On the high seas, their ship is boarded by ghostly pirates and driven back by supernatural winds, and still they push on. At every turn, Prince Takaoka is drawn to the beauty around him, whether it takes the form of a perfectly shaped pearl or a giant blood-red flower, but such beauty proves to be extremely dangerous. Seductive and mysterious, offering high adventure yet deeply human, this is a novel that transcends all expectations.
Takaoka's Travels was a bit of a mix-bag read for me. There were moments I really enjoyed which were fun and entertaining, but overall the story and characters never completely gripped me and I was never fully invested in what was happening. It was an interesting piece, at times amusing, but it's not a book I'd ever feel compelled to pick up a second time. It's short, though, and therefore a quick read, so it's worth a look if you are interesting in more contemporary Japanese fantasy novels. I am giving it 3.5 stars.
I received this book as a free eBook ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.