Title: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale
Author: David Kudler
Published: June 15, 2016
Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. Receipt of a review copy does not guarantee a review, or have any bearing on the review if one is posted. I only review books that I recommend, and that are within the scope of the blog.
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My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.
I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.
My 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 climb.
My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.
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 possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?
Characterization and badassery
I like these characters. From Mieko to Risuko to Emi, each one has a distinct personality. They work hard and don’t crumple under hard conditions. Though we don’t see much actual fighting, asskickery and the skill to do it are implied.
Plot and pacing
This reminded me somewhat of a fighter’s version of Memoir of a Geisha. I was reminded of Shogun as well. Not in a derivative way, but in a way that describes a rich and fascinating culture. If you enjoyed either of those books, you’d likely enjoy this one as well. The perspective of a child is different, and the idea of these girls training to become kunoichi is interesting.
The pace is good, and the author doesn’t waste time.
Prose and editing
A good job. I didn’t notice anything that vexed me.
No, but it didn’t feel like it was missing. It just wasn’t needed.
I enjoyed this change of pace. I wish I could have seen more of Mieko, as she seems like one badass character, but her story was not the one being told. I found Risuko’s story both interesting and entertaining