Posted in Book review

Review- Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale

Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler

Genres/Themes: Japan, Historical, Young Adult, Fantasy*

*It says Magical adventure and GR says Fantasy but… I don’t recall any magic…

★★★★☆

*I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

This book was very interesting.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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?


I usually stay away from novels about Japan and specifically ones written by non-Japanese. As a Japanese major, I can see the irony in this but, at the same time, as a Japanese major it annoys me when authors use words of the native language here and there when everyone in the book is speaking the language.
And this is probably my biggest complaint. The main character, Risuko, refers to her mother as Oka-san (Okaa-san is the way I’ve been taught to write it). So, I don’t know why he did this. Why not just say mother? For English speakers it is easily to differentiate levels of respect with Mother & Mom than throwing in a Japanese word. Also, this wasn’t done often with father and never done with little sister so…. I don’t get it.

I think for a final edition it would be helpful to explain the differences with -san, -sama, -senpai, -sensei, which the characters use but, the reasoning is not always explained.

My second complaint is how slow it was going… until I realized this was a series! Then, it made sense and I liked the pace.

Honestly, the flow was done really well and I flew through this book.

The characters were great and really pulled out. I really loved Risuko and Emi.
I really fell into this book and the characters.

I think in the next book, since this is taking place during the era Oda Nobunaga was shogun (OMG!! What an era!! If you don’t know Japanese History, go look this guy up!!), I’m hoping for more history background and information.

So, all in all I really liked this book.
Totally going to recommend it to some of my friends.

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3 thoughts on “Review- Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale

  1. I didn’t realize you were a Japanese major. Color me impressed! I liked this book too. I’m looking forward to the next one. I thought it was a nice & easy way to introduce young people to the culture without overwhelming them. Though considering how many young people are already into manga and anime there’s probably not much introduction needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is. And a very nice way for teens who maybe don’t like comics.
      I graduated with my Japanese degree recently 🙂 Gotta say, I wish we learned more actual world history in high school. So much more out there.

      Liked by 1 person

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