Monday, 13 June 2016

Review | Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale, by David Kulder

What You Need To Know:
Title: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale
Author: David Kulder
Number of Pages: 230
Genres:Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Adventure
Standalone/Series: First book in the Seasons of the Sword Series
Publisher: Stillpoint Digital Press
Publication Date: 15th June, 2016

The Plot:
Although Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, all Risuko wants to do is 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 destroy it entirely. But she soon learns that her life will not be as simple as she first believed and she will be flung head first into more danger than she could have possibly imagined.

My Thoughts:
I was sent this book to review, and I have to admit that I was cautious before starting to read this book. It's sent in a culture that I don't really know all that well so I couldn't be sure how accurate it was going to be. But I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. This is not quite Middle Grade, not quite Young Adult and it really did show at times but truly that doesn't matter. It was an excellent book; yes it had some faults but it was rather appealing.

"A Kunoichi is married to her duty and death." 

The concept behind this book was extremely interesting. I don't know a lot about the history of Japan other than what I've seen in the occasional film so to see deeply into a history that I don't know. It felt real, like he had done a lot of research. I'm guessing that the whole idea of being a female Samurai isn't really true, but it made it extremely interesting. I liked the disguise that they put them under and the mystery that it created. Yes, it had some faults but it was interesting so that kept my attention throughout. Not to mention the storyline as a whole. The opening of the book was slightly .... childish. But it as the tale progressed, a decent storyline developed and I found myself wondering what was going on. Yes, I guessed it long before the end of the book. But it was interesting. So I have to give David Kulder that.

"The blossoms fall just once each winter, yet in our memories, they fall every day."

The voices of the different characters all sounded like children. Which I suppose is good because some of the characters are relatively young children. But not all of them. There are a fair few adults there and I just felt that most of them were voiced like children. In most books it is the other way round but not in the case of this book. And to be honest, that made me both really like it and really hate it at the same time. It was nice that Risuko was voiced like a child but it just made the rest of the characters really unbelievable!
If I'm being honest it felt like this was the author's first book. If that was the case then I would have been slightly sympathetic but after doing some research I discovered that not only does he have some works out already, but he is an editor so really he should know better.

"Be swift as the wind, 
Silent as the forest, 
Fierce as the fire, 
Steady as a mountain."

Yet, I must say that the world building was excellent. There was never a time that I didn't know what the place looked like. He explained everything to the tiniest detail, meaning that I got a lot of information that I probably didn't need to know. But, hey, better to have too much information than too little.

Overall, I have to admit that it was a good Children's novel but would not suit a Young Adult audience. It was sweet but not haunting on a second glance. I think it deserved ****

Book Total of 2016 - 43