Saturday, July 2, 2016

Review: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Historical Japanese YA fiction)

Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review from the NetGalley**

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?

Historical adventure fiction appropriate for young adult and middle-grade readers.

Cover: Beautiful and fitting
Rating 5 Stars
Overall: Beautifully written
Characters: Interesting, becoming more complex throughout the story.
Plot: It starts out slow as it introduces characters, but things start to snow-ball once they get going, and it helps that you already know the characters before the action really kicks in!
Page Turner: Yes
Series Cont.? Yes!
Recommend Yes!
Favorite Character(s)?: Risuko, Aimaru, and Lt. Masugu. (Also Meiko, but not quite as much)

I seen a few others talking about this book, and fell in love with the cover as soon as I saw it! I knew I had to get my hands on a copy, and I was right! I'm so glad I found it soon enough to catch it on NetGalley, I loved this book, and am excited to see what happen in the next book! It's beautifully written, and the Japanese culture shows clearly in the characters and setting. This is a fun read, and well worth the slow start. Even with it being slow, I found myself loving the characters, even the less than friendly ones, early on, and as the story unfolds, you are introduced to more sides, making the characters both real, and more human despite some of the masks they wear. Many have stories that intertwine to weave an intriguing and beautiful tapestry that this book only starts to unveil. I'm highly anticipating the next time I can join Risuko and her friends!

About the Author: 
David Kudler is a writer and editor living just north of the Golden Gate Bridge with his wife, actress, teacher, and author Maura Vaughn, their author-to-be daughters, and their apparently non-literary cats.

A published author, he is currently working on Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale, a young-adult historical adventure novel set in sixteenth century Japan.

He serves as publisher for Stillpoint Digital Press. Since 1999, he has overseen the publications program of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, for which he has edited three posthumous volumes of Campbell's previously unpublished work (Pathways to Bliss, Myths of Light and Sake & Satori) and managed the publication of over fifty print, ebook, print, audio, and video titles, including the third edition of the seminal The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Currently, David serves as vice-president of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.