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September 2018
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Review: Oni

Oni by John Dodds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story Oni, by author John Dodds, is a different take on traditional Japanese fairy tales. It is set in ancient Japan and mixes characters from their mythology well into a story that offers both adventure and romance. The main character is Chen Shu, a young bandit turned a most reluctant novice monk. He has taken refuge in a monastery to escape the villainous Zhu Ki, the leader of the bandits. There, he has been taken under the wing of Ling, a mysterious sensei. Chen finds life in the monastery difficult, especially as he finds himself attracted to a local village girl named Takei, and comes up with many reasons to go into town to see her. Soon, Chen is faced with an otherworldly Yurei, the ghost of a woman who had been killed by her abusive husband. Her presence is thought to bring a plague to the villagers and town. An Oni, in Japanese myth, is often a type of demon, but in this story he takes on more of the role as a protector. This short story weaves a good story about good versus evil, with Chen and Takei caught in the middle. Ultimately, Chen proves worthy and learns how to be a better man. As always, I love when the characters get a ‘happily ever after.’ This fantastic short story is well worth the read.

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