27 April 2021
A tale within the Legend of the Five Rings universe
The Curse of Honor offers us a take on The Legend of the Five Rings. Set at Dawn Castle, Samurai and heir Haru stumbles across a forgotten city, and in his quest to prove himself, unleashes something sinister that threatens everything. The first hundred pages do a tremendous job at setting the scene, building subtleties in character backstory, making you dislike Haru for all of his faults, though admittedly, feels slow. Then it turns about face, becoming an epic, fast paced, twist-y turn-y style book that had me racing to the end.
The contrast between Haru, and Barako is even greater as a result, as thankfully it is the latter is who you eventually follow. Her character is beautifully written, where her motivations are clear, subtleties are well characterised and fed through the novel, and at no point does she fall into the ‘but what do we do now?’ trope. Instead, she is a strong, fighting figure, learning to negotiate politics, personal relations, and the protection of her city – all whilst wielding a hammer as her weapon, to great and well described effect.
Although the foreshadowing is sometimes a little too easy to follow, and therefore the twists easier to predict, it’s the sign of a good book that I still managed to enjoy how we got there. I had expected this book to be full of long, and dull to read battles, but Annandale beautifully keeps tension high to drive you through the pages. Descriptions are brutal, from the undead, to those slaughtered with their faces removed and returned unnaturally, and so true to the pulp-ish feel of the book, it certainly pulls no punches. This book surprised me, and once you’re past the first hundred pages and on to the action, it’s a beautiful addition to the Legend of the Five Rings universe.
Designer: David Annandale
Publisher: Aconyte Books
This feature originally appeared in Issue 54 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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