BOOK REVIEW| Risuko: a Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler

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Title: “Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale”

Author: David Kudler

Publisher: Stillpoint Digital Press

Number of Pages: 230

Language: English

Synopsis (GoodReads):

“Can one girl win a war?

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.

Risuko.

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?

Historical adventure fiction appropriate for young adult and middle-grade readers.”

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. 

My Opinion (spoiler-free):

“Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale” was a bit of a disappointment, I have to admit. I saw a lot of people talking about this book, saying how good it was and I seriously expected a 5-star book for me. Didn’t happen. I think that the main problem was because I had so high expectations to this … Probably if I hadn’t, I’d have loved it.

However, it was still very enjoyable. While reading the synopsis, I thought that a lot of things would happen in the book, mainly because of the all “Can one girl win the war?” thing, but it didn’t, so let’s hope that that’s going to change in the next book.

The first chapters in this book were very, very confusing, but that’s understadable, as we’re getting to know a new world; and then, as soon as things settle down, it became boring. I mean, I didn’t particularly enjoyed reading about their routines every single day! The last chapters made up for it, thankfully. The last half of the book is soooo much better than the first half, things actually started happening, I got some of my answers … I actually think that the last two (something like that) chapters and the epilogue were my favorites!!

The worldbuilding was incredibly good. We have a lot of description but I ended up liking it, because I pictured it all in my mind, so it was like I was watching it rather than reading it. And the characters were okay … I didn’t particularly care about them, but they weren’t bad characters. I really liked Risuko and Emi’s friendship, and although I didn’t like Toumi at first, she changed my opinion about her later. I also liked Masugo and Mieko, but not for a special reason; I think it was only because Risuko also liked them and respected them. That’s one thing I liked – throughout the book, I thought just like Risuko, what made impossible for me to find out who the «bad guy/girl» was until Risuko found out too, so I had a surprise.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the plot was as good. Nothing really happened in this first book, besides training and learning. There’s mentions to a certain war, but in the first half of the book I didn’t think it was relevant, because I couldn’t image how I’d relate Risuko, Emi and Toumi to that war, but then, it became a bit obvious.

 “A Kunoichi is married to her duty and to death.”

There wasn’t any romance, which I missed but at the same time liked, because that’s unsual. The girls’ age was never mentioned in the book, although we have an ideia, because they’re about to get their first periods. Knowing the age wasn’t really important for the story, but I wanted to picture the characters and it helped when I read that (also, the author said on the goodreads page that Risuko was thirteen and Emi and Toumi were fourteen).

We can see that this book took a lot of research and work, and it turned out realistic, because of the moon time aspect, that isn’t very mentioned in books at all, and it surprised me positively as it was a man writing (although I have to mention that not every woman feels that way 😂). And the Glossary and the maps that the book includes were definitely a must; otherwise, I’d be lost.

Overall, this was a good read and I’m rating it with

estrelinhaestrelinhaestrelinhaestrelinha e meia

If you’re interested, you can buy this book here 🙂

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