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Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Teen Historical Adventure) (Seasons of the Sword Book 1) by [Kudler, David]
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Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Teen Historical Adventure) (Seasons of the Sword Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Length: 230 pages Word Wise: Enabled Age Level: 11 - 18
Grade Level: 5 - 12
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Review

"Tight, exciting, and thoughtful... The characters are nicely varied and all the pieces fit into place deftly" -- Kirkus Reviews "Risuko is an artfully crafted novel that evokes a heavy sense of place and enchantment.... Risuko's development and evolution are fascinating to watch in this powerful and relentless coming-of-age adventure."--Foreword Reviews (spotlight review) "It is easy to invest in the characters, and once the reader starts this book, it's almost impossible to put it down. Risuko goes through a lot of character growth throughout the book. An entertaining story with excellent writing and haunting descriptions, a relatable heroine, and fast-paced writing." -- InD'tale Magazine

About the Author

David Kudler is an author, editor, and publisher living just north of San Francisco, California with his wife, teacher/author Maura Vaughn, his author-to-be daughters, and their (apparently) non-literary cats. He is best known as the editor of Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

His children’s picture book The Seven Gods of Luck was adapted from a Japanese folktale. Two books that he edited for Joseph Campbell Foundation (Sake & Satori and Myths of Light) explore Japanese mythology and religion. He has written about places other than Japan — but his imagination keeps returning to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Risuko is his first novel.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 727 KB
  • Print Length: 230 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Stillpoint/Atalanta; 1 edition (15 Jun. 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01FPWWCNA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,157 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
***This book was reviewed via Netgalley***

Kudler's Risuko is an enthralling tale of feudal Japan. Kano Murasaki, known as Risuko, has been sold into a half-slavery to Lady Chiyome, who runs Mochizuki, training shrine maidens called miko. But miko aren't the only things she trains. No, Chiyome trains kunoichi, or 'very special women'. It’ll be some time before Risuko or her fellow novices Emi and Toumi are ready to go down that path though.

As novices, the three are given kitchen duty with Kee Sun, the Korean cook. Here, under the guise of menial drudge work, their basic training begins. They learn how to handle knives in the kitchen properly, from cutting veggies, to butchering meat. From other instructors they learn language, culture, music, and dance.

Weeks turn to months, and it becomes increasingly clear that there is a thief amongst them, as items turn up missing, and rooms show evidence of having been searched. Unable to catch a human perpetrator, the crimes are blamed on a kitsune, as the fox spirits are notoriously mischievous. Things draw to a head after several poisonings reveal who the culprit is and what they've been looking for.

Through it all, we are given tantalising hints as to Risuko’s past. There's no clue yet as to why she is considered so special. I hope we learn more of what happened with her family. Kudler's story is well-paced and I actually finished it in a day. I'm glad it looks to be a series and can't wait for the next one.

I only have a few qualms. The first is how abruptly things seemed to end. There was not as much closure as I would have preferred. Also, I found the use of European place and item names rather odd given the locale is feudal Japan.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Title: Risuko
Series: Seasons of the Sword (#1)
Author: David Kudler
From: Story Cartel
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA
Release Date: 15th June 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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.

Risuko was one of those books that was truly enthralling and by the time you turn the last page you're sad that it's over and wanting more! I haven't read that many books based in Japan, the only one that actually springs to mind is Memoirs of a Geisha. The rich culture and admittedly the cover, are what attracted me to Risuko and I'm so glad that I read this book!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I received a free copy of Risuko from NetGallery in exchange for an honest review.

I was hooked from the simple introduction to Risuko, and the start of chapter one left me in n doubt; I wanted to read more.
Risuko is a plucky young Japanese girl, living in 1570. She can climb like a squirrel which is what her nickname, Risuko, means. She finds she's been bought from her impoverished family by cantankerous old Lady Chiyome along with some orphaned children, and is taken to live with them to train to be a kunoichi, although Risuko does not find out what this means for a long time.

The plot was interesting and well-paced, there was plenty of action and there are characters to love and hate. No swearing, and some oblique references to sex that are in context and go way above Risuko's head as she's a child.

I raced through this in a day, and am looking forward to reading the next book, Bright Eyes.

This is fine for KS3 pupils, as well as enjoyable for a YA market.
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By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 July 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
This is set in a very well realised medieval Japan - undergoing war, run by feudalism and with a small percentage of literate people.

One such literate person is a girl called Risuko or Squirrel, for her love of climbing; her father was a scribe but her family is impoverished and an old lady buys the girl as a servant. With Risuko we travel the war-ravaged countryside, see beautiful Mount Fuji and wear outer garments of woven straw as insulation from the snow. The girl is taught to wield a bamboo sword and turn spy as one of the Kunoichi or warrior women.

I recommend this tale for mature teen readers or adults who would like to escape to another adventurous world or learn about Japan.
I downloaded a copy from Net Galley for an unbiased review.
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