Flight of the Heron by Lizzie Lynn Lee

Shunga Chronicles Series, Book 3

Changeling Press

Historical Fantasy

ISBN: 978-1-60521-202-9

Reviewed by Patrice F.



Yukiko masquerades as a tayu, or courtesan, in the infamous Yoshiwara pleasure quarter to lure an enemy into her trap.  Lord Tsunemoto Matsushita is the powerful daimyo she holds responsible for the dishonorable death of her older sister, Sadae.  Yukiko has taken on the persona of the Lady Azalea, and must guard her true identity until she can get close enough to Lord Matsushita to kill him.  This becomes impossible due to her passionate feelings for him which he whole-heartedly returns.  He decides to purchase her contract and take her as his concubine. 

Will Yukiko strike the fatal blow against the man she loves to avenge her family honor?  And what if she is wrong about Matsushita’s involvement?  Can she live with the heartache and guilt?

The first two stories in the Shunga Chronicles series (Lady of the Snow and The Prince and the Assassin) carry a mystical flavor and ethereal charm.  I found that fey, fairy-tale quality missing from Flight of the Heron, although it’s laden with court intrigue, secrets, and plenty of exotically kinky sex like the previous installments.  

Yukiko and Matsushita weren’t as complex as Ms. Lee’s earlier characters either; they seemed more straightforward, unlike Sadae, the heroine’s shadowy older sister.  The intrigue encompassing her death is what makes the story fascinating, along with the fact that the villains aren’t always visible.  I’ve come to appreciate Ms. Lee’s subtle humor; her witty narrative and sly observations make her stories sparkle.  Flight of the Heron is an entertaining tale overall except for some inexplicable reason, I felt that it was missing the rich vibrancy of the previous stories.


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