The Book of Air is the first of a new line of sourcebooks for the Legend of the Five Rings series of books, that uses an interesting approach towards expanding the setting.
L5R has always been an interesting setting with regards to the depth and detail of the society of Rokugan, and this series of supplements expands on it by breaking down the topics according to the themes of the five elements of Rokugan: Air, Earth, Water, Fire and Void.
The Book of Air focuses on the facets that are relevant to the element of Air, as broken down into various chapters that look into War, the Court, Magic, Enlightenment and the Setting. The book also provides a self-contained setting that can be dropped into any existing campaign. New Mechanics are also present in the book to sate the needs of those who are looking for new rules to implement into their games. Needless to say, every clan gets something out of this book, so Crab and Lion players need not worry about being left out in a book that seems so focused on the softer side of Rokugani life.
I’m pleased to say that the organization of each of the chapters is very well done, with the book going into extensive detail with regards to the facet being discussed. The role of archery for example, is treated in the general form, then broken down into the various specific traditions of each of the clans. The chapters go into detail with regards to War, Courtly Politics, Magic (my favorite chapter due to the Kitsu Spirit Legion), Enlightenment, the world of Rokugan and a Politics-heavy Campaign setting.
Each of these are discussed without interrupting with mechanics. Instead all of the fluff is presented up front, and all the mechanics sorted out in the final chapter. This makes for an interesting format as it makes rules lookups so much easier, while letting people who enjoy the fluff (or need them, as with most GMs) read and digest the information without switching back and forth from concept to rules thinking in every other page or so.
The Book of Air is a worthy addition to the excellent Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition line, expanding on topics and lending even more detail to the unique nature of the clans. Given the quality of the writing, combined with excellent artwork and layout and the new format of organizing the information in the book, I find myself looking forward to the rest of the series.
[5 of 5 Stars!]