ARC Review: “Risuko” by David Kudler

risuko-v2b-medium-circleRisuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Seasons of the Sword #1) by David Kudler

Goodreads | Amazon

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?

Two and a half stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Stillpoint Digital Press for this eARC! This title will be available on June 15th, 2016.

If you read that blurb, like I did, you might be under the impression that a lot happens in this book. It doesn’t. This book was a constant push and pull for me, where I really wanted to like it … but nothing ever really happened. While Risuko was an interesting character, the cast around her fell flat and the overall plot seemed underdone. I was intrigued by the world and the overall politics, but they were never dealt with overmuch. All in all, this book had all the elements–it just didn’t use them.

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Worth It Wednesday: “Stormdancer” by Jay Kristoff

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

StormdancerTitle: Stormdancer

Author: Jay Kristoff

Goodreads Description: A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A HIDDEN GIFT
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Why it’s worth it: If you know a thing about me, than it is probably already clear why this book made my Top 10 Series I NEED to Finish. For one thing, just look at it. I got an ARC of this book, originally, but I would gladly spend money to own a copy of this cover. LOOK AT IT.

Alright, listen.I admit that my original ARC review was extremely confused. I gave it four stars, but I spent a lot of times talking about the negatives. I don’t know why–I can almost sense that something else was happening to my emotional state why I was reading it. Trust me, that original emphasis does not hold up on subsequent readings.

Jay Kristoff is a fabulous writer. Just. His writing is beautiful and wonderful and of a caliber not often appreciated enough in young adult writing.I would read a menu or instruction manual written by him and it would be amazing.

Also, his world. This is one of the most amazing worlds I’ve ever encountered. Does it lean into some of my personal biases, i.e. Japanese inspiration and THUNDER TIGERS? You bet it does. Does that mean anything less than IT IS AMAZING? Absolutely not.

Oh yeah, by the way: THUNDER TIGER. Though I love Yukiko as a character, strong and fierce as she is, my heart forever belongs to the thunder tiger. His voice was so hilariously amazing that it made me legitimately sad that I did not have a friend like him. Okay, so no one really has a thunder-tiger but still.

So the beginning of this book is a little slow and the romance aspect is convoluted to say the least. IT IS WORTH IT. If you don’t believe me, just know that Taylor from Bibliomancy for Beginners also read and loved this series and we rarely agree on ANYTHING. It’s that good.

Read it if you’re looking for: fantastic writing, strong female characters, Japanese inspired mythology, steampunk, strong world building, action, adventure, THUNDER-TIGERS