Author: David Kudler
Pub: June 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Received in exchange for an honest review
Risuko is the story of Murasaki Kano, a preteen girl who is taken from her home and forced into a fate she has no knowledge of and is wary and confused out of her mind about. She loves to climb, hence the nickname, Risuko (or squirrel).
I jumped at the chance to read Risuko because 1) it takes place in Japan 2) it’s historical fiction set during the Warring States Era and 3) there will probably be sword fights, political intrigue and tension
I got my #1 and #2, but I didn’t get my #3. Quite honestly, I didn’t get much of anything else.
Kudler sets the scene very well. I was pulled right into the narrative. There’s enough description and background info to not leave readers, hanging, but at times it did seem like a bit much (it worked well for me though).
The action sequences are great, but they’re few and far between, leaving me reluctant to call it an action-adventure novel.
Apparently, Risuko is supposed to finally bring peace and victory to her country, but in no way, shape, or form, does that come to pass in this novel. There’s no lead up for her to go on to do bigger and better things. I was itching for some kunoichi action, but I got nothing.
The characters are all a little lackluster and the plot-twist/climax left me wondering why that happened to begin with, if they’re supposed to be skilled at the art of deception and ninja arts.
There’s a questionable use of italics and I thought it was interesting that he used the Last Name, First Name system when so many publishers choose the First Name, Last Name system because of localization and what not.
I appreciate all the history, but I was left disappointed by the story. I still might pick up the second book though because I want to read a story about kunoichi’s and I want to see how exactly Risuko fits in the picture.