- Author: David Kudler
- Title: Risuko: a Kunoichi tale
- Series: Seasons of the Sword
- Format: eARC
- Publisher: Stillpoint Digital Press
- Publication date: 15 June 2016
- Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Historical
Can one girl win a war?
My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.
I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.
My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.
All I want to do is climb.
My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.
Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.
Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.
Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?
Frist of all, I would like to disclose and thank NetGalley, Stillpoint Digital Press, and the author, David Kudler, for providing me an Advance Review Copy of Risuko: a Kunoichi tale in exchange for an honest review.
The book cover of Risuko I adore very much, it was the first thing that has caught my attention whilst I was browsing NetGalley. In addition to, I think that the cover perfectly summarises what the book is about – a young girl named Risuko training to become a kunoichi, and after reading the book you will also realise the significance of the Cherry Blossoms.
David Kudler’s writing style is simple and concise, which I believe suited well with the book. The author’s descriptions and narrations are quite easy to understand and the words just flows together, reading the book I found myself wanting to turn to the next page as fast as possible to find out what was going to happen next.
Risuko focuses on the (mis)adventures of the Kano Murasaki, in her journey to become a very special kind of woman, indeed – not just a miko, but to become a kunoichi (a female ninja). What I loved about this book was that the author has clearly put a lot of time researching the topics and the history of feudal Japan, and that is something that is always important when writing historical fiction, no matter if it is written for children, young adults or adults. This fact alone gave me an image of what Japan must have been like during the Senguko Jidai.
Risuko is an overall great character, she is a young girl (can’t be any older than 13) – and throughout the story her character stayed consistent, no major changes nor did she stayed exactly the same as the beginning of her journey. It was interesting and entertaining reading the relationships between the characters, especially the one between Risuko and Lady Chiyome and that of Mieko and Lieutenant Masugu’s.
The other characters too each have their own personalities and are easily distinguishable from each other, even those who seem to be only in the background and never in the forefront of the story, when it comes to the dialogue it is clear as to whom the voice is – whether it is from Risuko, Emi or the youngest of the Little Brothers, they are easy to distinguish from each other. Where there is a good guy, there has got to be villain. This book can keep you guessing as to whom it is and such, you are given clues all the way through, but like the main character you too get side tracked as to whom to believe has done what. But, my first guess was right – although I kept on second guessing my belief as well.
Another thing that I really liked about this book was that fact that there was a glossary included at the back of the book – which is something that is quite useful for people who may not understand that Japanese terms that have been used throughout the book. I myself knew most of the Japanese terms that Kudler has used, as I have read my fair share of manga and have been learning Japanese quite recently.
As much as I love maps and other illustrations within a book, I was a little bit disappointed with the one we were provided with in the book – it looked like something I would have done when I was in primary school, I kind of wish that it was more refined and in the style of maps that were created during the feudal period. Another thing that I was aware of was how little the war has played a role – it wasn’t as big of a part of the story as I thought it would have been. But, I guess it made sense as our protagonist after all only started her training; maybe later on in the series the war will play a bigger role.
I very much enjoyed reading the book, and learning about Japanese history and culture. The author’s writing style brings the character and the story to life and it was a well-written prose. The book was fast paced, and there are quite a few (a lot) of plot twists throughout. It is a shame that the book is not going to be released until June of this year, because I already want to read the next book (the horrific fact that I will have to wait for much longer to read the second one!) I will definitely be buying the book when the book is published.