Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Seasons of the Sword #1) by David Kudler
I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Risuko is a mid-grade novel about a girl taken to become a kunoichi. And what is a kunoichi? Technically it’s only explained at the end of the story, but you can easily figure it out before the new girls get to their destination.
First. there was this fascination period for about 20% of the book. Then came the “yeah, riiight… I don’t really care” part. And at the end, the story picked up again and it was rather good, but I couldn’t fell for the book again after all of the “training” sessions.
The beginning of the story is fantastic. The author creates a perfect mood, pulls you into the world, shows you the story and the characters. The writing is pretty good, it’s easy to get lost in the story, forget about the world around you and get lost in the old Japan. It all makes up a nicely written historical novel for younger readers.
The thing is, after all the good beginnings there’s this part showing you how the girls are being trained for their future lives. It was interesting to read about some of this, but I think it was just too much. There was a bit too much repeatability in this without much more happening in between. In other words – not very interesting in a long run.
But after we’ve been through that, at about 80% of the story, the story picks up again. As they say – the plot thickens and we get some more excitement again, but I can’t say I loved it. It was enjoyable, but it might’ve been better if not the middle part. Also, I can’t say I loved the characters. They seemed to be well described and unique, but rather forgettable. Maybe the next book will go deeper into their stories, solve some unanswered questions.
Overall “Risuko” makes a good beginning of the series and I might actually be tempted to give the second books a try, but it’s not like I’ll be holding my breath and waiting for it.
Have you read “Risuko“? Did you like it?
Do you have any good young-adult historical novels you could recommend me?
As a little side note for these who wondered after my “What the hell is “woman’s fiction”?” post whether we succeeded in our little race… well, not really. This wasn’t our year, but we did achieve one goal (even though the “enemy’s” boat was a bit worse). To sum it up… we were 14th out of 25 boats. It was still fun!