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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
5 out of 5 stars
By Bethany on 01-30-18

A good listen with a side of Japanese culture

Thank goodness this isn't just another young adult book. The characters are well developed. There are even characters who don't get along the whole book(crazy!). The book takes place in Japan and I enjoyed hearing about the country area where Risuko was raised. Every good Japanese history story has an army and this one doesn't disappoint. I think the story could have been a little more fast-paced but every author has the right to write the plot at their pace. I enjoyed the story and would love to see what happens to some of my favorite characters in the future.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Koji Steven Sakai on 09-27-17

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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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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