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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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Jared on 09-28-17

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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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Willis Burns on 09-19-17

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.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By DubaiReader on 11-08-17

A Kunoichi adventure.

I started this book with enthusiasm, expecting it to be an historical fiction novel about Japan, but although it was based on historical fact, I hadn't anticipated that it would be quite so much a YA adventure story. I'm afraid I really struggled to connect with the book. Admittedly the Japanese names didn't help, but many of the characters blurred into one another for me and it was only in the second half that I managed to distinguish between them.

I was listening to the audio version, available on Audible, but unfortunately I found the voice of the narrator piercing and irritating. She tended to raise her voice at the ends of sentences, inferring questions that were not there, and although she was perfectly clear with her narration, this intonation jarred with me. And why did the Korean chef have a Scottish accent, did I miss an explanation along the way?

Kano Murasaki, or Risuko, also known as Squirrel (no wonder I'm confused!), was bought from her parents early in the book. I think it may have had something to do with her father's loss of honour, but I wasn't quite sure. She finds herself under Kee Sun's care, training to become, not only a Miko (a shrine maiden) but also a fighter and a spy, to defend her country, her honour and her owner.
There are several other novices studying with her at The Full Moon, learning varied skills from cooking to dancing and music to sword-play. It's a grueling training regime, but they are kept well fed and comfortable and it is therefore an improvement over their home lives.
Intrigue between the residents of the Full Moon provides most of the excitement, until a series of suspicious events allow Risuko to prove her skills.

This book did prompt me to look into Miko and their history in Japan, and for that I am grateful. Personally, I shan't be following the series, but I'm sure those that do will learn quite a bit about the lives of these women and their roles in Japanese society.

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