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Publisher's Summary

Can one girl win a war?

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 possible have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

©2016 David Kudler (P)2016 David Kudler

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  • Story

Fun book that feels like a companion novle

-Story-
Risuko follows our protagonist of the same as she is bought and taken to a new life where she is trained for.....something. Honestly the book has a lot going for it. The characters are pretty well fleshed out, and as a side note it was actually pretty refreshing to have a character not get along with someone the entire book instead of becoming "besties" at the end of book. The plot moves a bit slow at first but injects just enough action to perk it back up and keep the listener interested. The only real drawback is that as the plot moves forward and it becomes clear what is going on in the bigger picture of the world the book just sort of ends. I suppose that this is just the setup for the next book to come in and pick up where it left off but there is no real cliffhanger aside from wanting to know what happens to the characters as time moves on. One other thing I wanted to point out that I personally found annoying was the random use of Japanese words in the story. At some points Risuko says mother, other times Okaa-san, which is just mother in Japanese. The same for her father. I can understand why you would use things like -chan and -sama as there aren't really perfect replacers for those in English, but it just felt a bit needless and like the writer was trying to make things feel more "Japanese".

-Narrator-
I am split with Julia Kudler on weather I like her narration or not. She is clear in her wording but her cadence as she reads has odd pauses in some spots, and none in others. This is more so in the beginning of the book so she gets better as it goes on. That aside she dose do a wonderful job of brining life into the protagonist. Aside from that I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out why the cook, a Korean, got the Scottish accent. I mean the book dose say he has a distinctive voice and speech pattern, and in that aspect he dose stick out as very identifiable......but why Scottish? Are we implying the Koreans are the Scots of Asia.....That actually makes me chuckle when I consider it so that's what I like to stick with even if it is just an odd choice.

-TL;DR-
the book itself is pretty good though it stops a bit short of a fulfilling narrative, probably leaving you wanting more in the sequel. Fun characters and decent narration make for an enjoyable listen.

-Obligatory disclaimer-
I received this book for free in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.

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Enjoyed this trip to ancient japan

I really enjoyed the story. Felt authentic and well researched. I was rooting for the narrator and curious about how the big secret was going to be revealed. Can't wait to read future the next installments of the series. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a young adult book about old Japan

My one issue with the audiobook was the voice actor. At first, I didn't love her voice... but over time I got used to it and even grew to like it. The only thing that still bothered me was some of the pronunciation of Japanese words and the fact that one of the characters seemed to have a Scottish accent. I only say this as a critique and that it didn't distract form the overall goodness of the book or the voice narration.

Please note that I received this title for free in exchange for an unbiased review

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Great!

I really enjoyed this well written and entertaining story. I listened to this with my 14 year old and we both loved it. Risuko was a fantastic character. Narration was well done and enjoyable.

** A copy of this audio book was provided in exchange for an honest review**

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Thoughts...

I didn't feel like this book was properly edited. I knew going into it that the narration was a little bit rough, when I found out it was the author's relative, it made more sense. She isn't bad, please don't misunderstand, but it didn't feel professional. I had to rewind several times to understand what happened because her inflection was on the wrong word in a sentence, thus, implying s different meaning.

The story itself was good but needed a little editing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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  • Story
  • Donna
  • Berkeley, CA, United States
  • 08-29-17

Fun Japanese adventure

I really enjoyed this historical coming of age story set during the age of the samurai. Risuko is a young girl who faces a series of mysteries and life threatening challenges -- and she manages to face them bravely, but like someone her age, not like a superhero-in-training. I loved her as well as her friends.

Part of what I loved about the story was that it managed to feel like a fantasy adventure while staying historical. It most reminded me of Tamora Pierce's wonderful Alanna books.

Can't wait for book 2!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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