I have to admit I aproached The Crab with some trepidation.
The Crab clan and characters are often depicted as mere stereotypes, and sterotypes I don't like at that.
While there are quite a few things I don't like, there is a lot more that I like.
This novel covers Kisada's disgruntlement with the Empire through the Scorpion Coup and Yakamo's feud with Hitomi culminating in his landing at Otosan Uchi.
This is done mostly through the eyes of Kisada, Sukune and Yakamo each of whom is well characterized. In fact, most characters are, with the exception of Kuni Yori, which pretty much falls into a stereotypical Evil Vizier role.
Yori even has his Evil Tower of DOOM.
Speaking of Yori, I really disliked how magic was handled in this novel. It has much of the same problems it had in The Phoenix, but I believe them to be far less excusable here.
Surprisingly, the fight scenes, were another place where I think the writing failed. For the most part it managed to avoid the unstopable badass complex, which is no mean feat considering this book stars both Kisada and Yakamo, but still there were quite a few problems, like weapons and armour not working the way they are supposed to (altough the worst I've seen so far is in The Dragon), and tactics that make no sense. On the other hand Stan brown is refreshingly accurate in regards to logistics and movement rates.
I did notice that there is a significant drop in the quality and pacing of the writing in the last third of the book which is where most of these problems can be found.
Overall though this was a rather entertaining book. It's a shame there is a noticeable drop in the writing quality by the end of the book and that Yori was cast in the flat out evil coucilor role, but this was made without making Kisada look too much of a fool.
I easily recommend this one to any L5R fan.