I really like this story It has great characters, great history and the end surprised me You should read it if you have the chance. Thank you Netgalley and Stillpoint Digital Press for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.Risuko means squirrel and is a nickname for Kano Murasaki, a girl who loves to climb trees to escape the hardships her little sister and mother go through trying to survive without her father Set in historical Japan, the land is torn apart by warring samurai lords trying to unite Japan under one flag An old woman, Lady Chiyome, decided she wanted to play a part in forming Japan s future and sets up a compound to train girls She buys Risuko, changing the direction of the girl s life, training her to become a Miko, a shrine maiden By rights this book ought to be a 4 star book I did have a few problems with it, especially if this is meant to be a young adult book and not a middle grade book Yes, it matters For example, if this were a YA book I would have wanted Risuko to have interactions with all the other women so as to be puzzling as to who the villain is in the end As it was written we stayed inside Risuko s head a bit too much for YA and only really learned about the other characters very lightly Very little characterization went on except of Kee Sun the cook, Lady Chiyome her patron, Masuga the crush and the other 2 girls her age, Emi the friend and Toumi the rival This is the characterization of a middle grade book One thing I was decidedly puzzled about was why Lady Chiyome decided Risuko was the most likely culprit of the person rummaging the rooms One reviewer said it was because she was nicknames squirrel That doesn t fly with me at all, nor does her parentage have a lick to do with whether someone is a spy or a thief If a situation had been developed where she had been caught somewhere she shouldn t or where she made a poor choice that made her look guilty when she had legitimate motivations then I would have drawn this conclusion readily As it was the climbing was not utilized much She didn t escape her chores to go climb and hide or to get time to herself She was really diligent and obedient There were so many things I liked about the book I decided to give it my highest rating, because as a straight middle grade book I feel it gave a 5 star effort This would help middle grade readers learn to love reading and books I also would love revisiting this book with my own child, high praise from me I loved Risuko s attitude after she was sold She contemplated running away and rebellious actions but instead chose to do the right thing and fulfill the contract her mother made I really enjoyed her relationship with Masuga While it was kept at the beginning of the story during their travel to the complex I really related to the fact that she bonded with him so strongly This felt like the perfect crush for Risuko in a story decidedly full of females, but it wasn t out of control, we ll get together and live happily ever after, it stayed a crush We also got a taste of the war that Masuga and Lady Chiyome were a part of but it was kept in the frame of Risuko s world and not expanded beyond that POV I liked how she didn t become some warrior girl overnight or just because they were attacked but did use her skills to do what she could and they made a real difference.Once at the complex I really enjoyed the training by KeeSun I totally got why they did all the chores and cookery that they did I really liked how the story built to them slaughtering the meat for the meals This brought a slow awareness of what a Kunoichi did for Lady Chiyome and what would be expected of them later The details of the time brought this to life for meYeh know how we re always careful to balance the flavors, the colors in meals Sour, bitter, sweet, hot, salty Green, red, yellow, white, brown Now we nodded certainly he d been drilling that into us for weeks The evening meal the night before had included green negi onions, red smoked trout, yellow squash, white daikon radish and brown mushrooms I loved the weapon training to that linked right back to her own back history with her father and what he had taught her about right and wrong, life and death As a young adult she had to make her own decisions based upon what she was experiencing and her own value system There was just enough world building that we understood what was going on eventually but not so much that everything became clear instantly Again the details were rich enough to give depth to the concept of the storyThis, he said, we call The Sixty four Changes Mastering these positions, you will learn to wield a sword in balance, attacking and defending while still remaining rooted to your center Each position combines the five elements, the two energies All flow from the first position, The Two Fields I actually quite liked that the woman s time was mentioned and worked into the plot of the story This made total sense to me and gave such a nice little twist for girls but not so much was said that it would be TMI for boy readers There was a really nice balance in this book Climbing but not too much climbing but essential use of it to the story There was the food and rock training then the movement and sword training and all that it entailed Depth was had in the moment but not so much I felt I was being swamped by information just because the author had done research This is perhaps the strength of the story balance tied to a great interpretation of a Japanese world.BOTTOM LINE I loved Lady Chiyome s Japan, the idea of Kunoichi and Risuko s squirrely moxy My Name Is Kano Murasaki, But Most People Call Me RisukoSquirrelI Am From Serenity Province, Though I Was Not Born ThereMy 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 ClimbMy Name Is Kano Murasaki, But Everyone Calls Me SquirrelRisukoThough 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 IsKano Murasaki, Called Risuko Squirrel Is A Young, Fatherless Girl, 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 Original Post Risuko A Kunoichi Tale at FLYL F www.flylef.com IT WAS ODDLY nostalgic reading Risuko A Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler The vivid portrayal of the Japanese culture brought back many fond memories of my childhood, a time when I was much rooted in my Asian heritage.Kano Murasaki, nicknamed Risuko Squirrel is a young, fatherless girl with a gift for climbing Her unique talent catches the eye of Lady Chiyome, Head Mistress of a remote school in Mount Fuji Risuko soon finds herself torn from her family and swept into a school that is much than what it seems Here, Risuko and orphans Emi and Toumi, are taught the ways of a Kunoichi the Japanese art of becoming an assassin in the hopes of possibly changing the outcome of a feudal Japan.I m drawn to Risuko and the young orphans for their misfortunes Though complete strangers, they share a great responsibility to restore the honor to each of their family s name and legacy But, I had difficulty seeing how they would achieve that Emi is quiet and wears a perpetual frown, Toumi is often angry, or growling and clenching her fist Risuko is my favorite of the orphans for she is resilient, curious and compassionate Even so, the characters were simple, even childish at time, and fell a bit flat for me.I enjoyed the older, secondary characters Mr Kudler poignantly and effortlessly captured the quiet and unspoken deadly art of an assassin through Meiko As one of the highly trained assassins, and instructor to Risuko, she is as formidable in her ability to kill from the shadows, as she is gentle and femininebeautiful.The pacing was slow, with thorough attention dedicated to the culture food Korean, actually, but still mouthwatering , custom, and philosophy With my rudimentary knowledge of ancient Japan, Mr Kudler introduced the culture in such a way that felt authentic by capturing my baseline knowledge, yet still affording me with plenty of beautiful eye opening moments.I didn t realize this was a series since I received my ARC very early on I m really glad that Risuko s story continues because the ending felt rushed with too many secrets revealed quickly and unexpectedly Where Mr Kudler meticulously paints a luscious portrait of a war stricken Japan and its culture, I did not feel that the same amount of detail was dedicated to the plot twists and climax Nevertheless, reading this story has been an enriching journey in understanding the ways of a Kunoichi, and I look forward to reading Seasons of the Sword 2 I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion Thank you, especially to the author and publisher, for kindly giving me an opportunity to review this title. Thanks to Netgalley and Stillpoint Digital Press for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.This book was delicious.This may sound absolutely weird, I know.But I don t find another word for it.I loved the cover, I love foreign languages, I think it s no wonder that I loved this book.Though, I have to admit, at first it was a bit difficult for me to distinguish all the characters because of their Japanese names and because of all the nicknames everyone had But after a while you get used to it and it was really fun for me to learn some Japanese words.After these logical points maybe now I can manage to explain why I think this book was delicious.First of all, the characters stayed for long times in the kitchen and prepared typical meals for several times a day This was not only interesting, because you got to learn a lot about herbs and so on, but it also made me kind of hungry, especially if you like dishes with rice like me.However, this was not really the reason for my description as delicious It was the words and the language I ate every word and foreign term with eagerness and pleasure and it seemed like I just couldn t get enough of it I m looking forward to reading the sequel.Thus, I won t say much and I won t recommend to read this book.But to eat it. Japanese literature, or literature with Japanese influences is one of my most favored types of genres to read When I came across Risuko by David Kudler, which was described as a historical Japanese fiction novel with fantasy elements, I was immediately intrigued by it I received this book about a month and a half ago Since that period, I have made an attempt at starting it three times Finally, when I began it for the fourth time, I forced myself to trudge through it and it took me almost three weeks to read about 230 pages, and I m a pretty fast reader, mind you Risuko was a vastly disappointing book and it makes me sad because I felt there could have been potential for so much.The story revolves around a young girl named Kano Murasaki, who is known as Risuko, or Squirrel, due to her affinity for climbing She s sold off to a noblewoman and led through an area in the midst of war until she reaches a shrine At this shrine, along with two other girls, Risuko begins a life of training and servitude so that she can one day become a kunoichi, or a female ninja Sounds like a badass historical book, right Well, unfortunately it was a huge letdown in everything that would have made it so.The progression of this tale is extremely slow, almost excruciatingly in nature Within the first twenty pages, I felt like I had been reading this forever due to the highly dry and boring structure of the novel There was no cohesive plot development, or plot details of any sort really, to keep me engaged and excited about what would occur next It pretty quickly became monotonous, tediously inching forward with no interesting events whatsoever My focus would wander so much that I was incredibly tempted to not finish said book.Pacing aside, the characters were also distastefully dreary and indiscernible The entire cast, including our female protagonist, were lackluster and impossible to connect with, even so than the nonexistent plot I believe that this can be credited to the minuscule amount of details provided about them, giving them an air of robotic apathy Not one character had a personality that could set them apart from the next There were a few things about the writing that I found to be rather jarring as well Every Japanese word in the novel is italicized and it felt so unnatural and imposing, especially since none of the other Asian words are given the same respect There is no explanation for these words either, and a lot of them are not easy to decipher by implication or context If you don t speak or comprehend a lick of Japanese then this can get confusing, causing you to feel detached The writing also came off as a bit Westernized, at least to me I felt the book was trying very, very hard to mimic the prose of many classical Japanese authors leaving behind an awkward affect This could also just be an intimate nitpick for me as I am a huge aficionado and student of classical Japanese literature There are a couple of redeeming qualities in the novel that made me upgrade it from the absolute lowest rating The setting and surroundings were described with impeccable amount of detail that made you vividly imagine the scenery I wish that this level of attention to detail was applied to the other aspects of the novel The historical portions are relatively accurate, which was another enjoyable element of the book But together these two things are simply not enough to warrant an pleasant reading experience I had such high hopes for this narrative, but it fell utterly short and into the dark rating of one and a half squirrels out of five I would not recommend this novel to anyone, sorry. Review originally posted at The Nerdy side of a queen Thank you Netgalley and Stillpoint Digital Press for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.Characters Risuko Proper name Kano Murasaki Lady Mochizuki Chiyome Mieko and Kuniko Lady Chiyome s maid Hanichi Emi and Tasugu Toumi Risuko s friends Little brothers Servants of Lady Chiyome.Rating 3.5 starsA Kunoichi is married to her duty and to death I have a lot of things to say about this story by David Kudler there were things that I didn t like, still there were good things to mention Let s just talk about first what was the story all about.Risuko A Kunoichi Tale takes place in Japan, specifically Mochizuki in Nagano There was a girl named Kano Murasaki, or for everyone they called her Risuko SquirrelThe reason for this nickname was because, she climbs trees and roofs as fast and high as the squirrel She lives in a simple life with her mother and her sister, though their lives were not as good as the rich ones But, someone made her life turn in an unexpected way Lady Chiyome bought Risuko from her mother because she wants Risuko to train as KunoichiOoppss I will not tell you what really it isBefore she become what her destiny wants her to be, she must first face the challenges that will make her stronger and will make her true abilities sharpen Well, I will not continue the story until the end, what am I a story teller Just kidding DSeriously, I will now make points on what are my perspectives about this bookThe things I like1 The concept of the story. I was become intrigued in the story line of this It really fascinated me because of these facts Young girl destined to fight for a war, sets in Japan and a historical fiction What will I say Though, I know there were a lot of books the same with this one but one thing was for sure, the author really nailed this concept plus the cover was absolutely stunning 2 The world built up. For this, it was an OKAY for me Well, it really didn t level my expectations if I will base from the blurb in the story Still, this really amazed and excites me as I read every chapter of the book, and I wasn t really bored while reading this one It was a light read plus the words can pick up easily which was a good point, because it was categorized for young adult middle grade Thumbs up for this 3 The characters. The characters felt like they were really a young persons, which is my standard to every book that I read Though there were no progress has been made for them, still their characterizations was like a Ying and Yang balanceNext, the things that I dislike in this book1 CONFUSING. Yes As I said earlier this story was a light read but there were times that I really got confused on what has happened in a particular scene Fortunately, I was able to tolerate this one But my concern was, if the others will read this especially the target audiences, it will give them a hard time to process on what s happening to the story On the positive side, you can still understand it because as I mention above, the author wrote it using with light words 2 Unanswered questions. There were some parts that I didn t quite understand, because there were parts that I hope it answered clearly Well, it is the first book, and I m still expecting alot from this.Phew Congratulations, I was able to make this review up to this point LOL As you noticed, my likes and dislikes for this book was a balance If you will ask me if I will recommend this one, I will just say YES. 3.9 Stars Rusiko is a beautiful story set in sixteenth century Japan Females are warriors and Japan is tearing itself apart all in the belief they are helping put the country back together.Risuko is full of beautiful language, amazing settings and jam packed with cultural knowledge.I loved the descriptions of the fighting dance, the smooth movements and grace, the prediction of moves and serenity I felt I was there doing the moves with Risuko in the falling snow with the other woman.The reason this wasn t a 5 star or even a full 4 stars was the ending The ending was lacking and I spotted the plot twists a mile away it was all too predictable for me and I think this is because it is MG then YA.I wanted a big fight scene Something action packed that involved climbing view spoiler It did involve climbing the tree but I found it all a bit to childish with the imagery for the tree swinging to throw someone off hide spoiler 3.5 starsI really loved the concept of this book and the writing was really great as well I do think this is Middle Grade than Young Adult though I wasn t really expecting MG so I was a little bit disappointed I thought the first %10 was kind of confusing and just felt weird to me but it definitely got better I loved the Japanese culture and history and even though I don t much about Japan, it felt like the author did a great deal of research and knew what he was talking about The one thing that held me back from really loving this book was that I was never emotionally invested I didn t really care that much the characters or what happened to them I think because the last half of the book was so much better than the first half, I didn t have time to get become invested in the characters.Overall, I did enjoy this book but it never hit me in the right way I loved the concept and the writing But this book just wasn t really for me. I received a free ARC copy of this ebook from Netgalley, the Publisher, and the author in exchange for a honest review.Risuko Murasaki loves to climb trees When she is taken away from her family and sold to a noblewoman named Lady Chiyome who has chosen her to become a shrine maiden at her school The Full Moon, Risuko must quickly grow up and learn how to be a kunoichi while surviving in times of war Want to read Check this book out for yourself and find out.This book was a pretty good read It plays out like an anime There is tons of action, drama, characters that you love and hate and I enjoyed this read set in historical Japan If you love all that I have listed about it, then check this book out when its in bookstores this June.
Risuko A Kunoichi Tale, a young adult historical adventure novel set in sixteenth century Japan, and is hard at work on the sequel,
- David Kudler
- 10 June 2019 David Kudler