While I did enjoy the murder investigation I’m not sure I wanted a whole book dedicated to it. Not only would it have been a huge genre shift, which could have been a big turn off for a lot of people, I also can’t deny that by the end of it I was itching to get out of that damned island - almost as much as my ronin.
It made sense since reality was becoming more and more distorted and by the end, the dream-like feel was suffocating. I think that was what the author was going for, because the very next chapter when our character takes a big breath of fresh, clean air, I took a similarly relieved sigh of breath with her.
I feel the same way about the shogi tournament. Clever and entertaining but to drag it on would have been a disservice. For me, anyway.
But I do get when you said the ending was anticlimactic. Battling the fox demon definitely felt more epic than the general because for me slaying the general wasn’t about a big physical fight nor our ability with a katana. It was a different kind of fight, where our ronin witnesses their students struggle - and they can’t do anything about it. Especially the scene where Ige dies. The first time I read it I could barely breathe, I was so tense.
So it actually ended up being more climactic for me, because I felt like the stakes were higher. But I get that’s probably more of a personal preference thing .