Risuko by David Kudler: Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: 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?

YOUNG ADULT HISTORICAL ADVENTURE

Commentary: This book is available as Read Now on NetGalley.

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I just knew I had to pick it up! The synopsis is what won me over and I love the cover.

This book was an excellent introduction to the series, it was very entertaining. Risuko is sold from her family, not out of spite, but for Risuko’s own good. Along the way, Risuko learns about the politics in her country, and there are hints of the war to come.

Risuko focuses on the journey of the protagonist. If you are expecting a romance, this is not the book for you. This book is about Risuko’s personal growth and accepting her faith as a kunochi. A kunochi is a female ninja. What I loved about this book was that the author researched his topic. I really liked that there was a glossary at the end of the book, served as a good reference guide. Another aspect that I loved was the school at Mochizuki. I loved how the women from the school had to undergo miko training before becoming a kunochi.

Risuko is a great character! I loved her misadventures and I love the way that her character stayed consistent throughtout the book. I was hoping that she and Lieutenant Masugu were going to develop feelings for each other. I can still hope that happens in the second book. Now as for the villain, I’ve seen my good share of anime, and when that character revealed, I was right.

I really thought Risuko was going to be young adult, but it is more of a middle grade book. Not that I have a problem with it, but the protagonist is much younger than I’d imagine her to be. Secondly, I thought that the war was going to play a major role in this book, but that’s not the case. I’ll keep my hopes up for the sequel. Also the length was too short! I would have liked it much more if there were more chapters!

I love learning about Japanese history, and this book was welldone. By the time I finished the book, I was sad. Why is that? Well, I want to read the second book already! This book gets published all the way in June, and I’m buying my physical copy when it comes out. I am hoping that the sequel gives backstories on certain characters. This book was fast pace and I really liked the author’s writing style.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Release Date: June 15th 2016

The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary: Book Review

For this world, which lives only through belief, being forgotten is our ultimate death curse. Had you not come, we would have slowly faded until nothing remained. Do not blame yourself for the machinations of fate.

Goodreads Synopsis: The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.

But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked… and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth – or say good-bye to the world of the living forever.

Commentary: I received an ebook copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say that The Night Parade has been one the most entertaining books that I have read for this month. I thought it was going to be young adult, but it is middlegrade. I had so much fun reading this book!!

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This book reminded me of Spirited Away which is one of my favorite films when I was a young girl. In Spirited Away and in The Night Parade, both protagonists find themselves involved with the spirit world and with a quest to break a curse.

Now going back to the book, I initially did not like Saki. I thought she was rude especially to her loving grandmother. As the book progressed, she grew on me since she started changing. She was a completely different person by the end of the book. I thought that she was courageous and more true to herself. I enjoyed her growth and it made this book far more enjoyable because of that.

Overall, I loved her adventures in the spirit world! She had to endure a lot and I really liked her guides to help her on her journey. I loved the Japanese mythology in this book! One of my favorite characters from the spirit world is The Moonlight Prince, even though he is a minor character. What can I say, I happen to be a sucker for princes.

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What I really appreciated about this book is that it teaches us, the readers, that we should appreciate what’s in front of us. We should try being more independent, instead of being too dependent on technology. For example, Saki was glued to her phone and hated the countryside. As the story goes on, she appreciates what she has around her. By the end, she fell in love with the countryside. Overall, this is positive book!!

I would love for this book to be adapted into an animated film! I think if they were to adapt this book to a movie, the movie would be better. I really enjoyed reading this enchanting tale! I do recommend this book!!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shadows On The Moon by Zoë Marriott: Book Review

“People trust their eyes above all else – but most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆Goodreads Synopsis: A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is “Cinderella” meets “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince – and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love.

Review: A fantastic reimagining of Cinderella. Suzume has gone through many hardships at such a young age. The death of her father and cousin haunt her. She is forced to live with her stepfather, Terayama, and mother, Yukiko. In this story, there are no wicked stepsisters and the Shadow Ball is not a charming escape to a better life. This story is about revenge, love, and magic.

Suzume, I loved her! She is content with being plain looking. She had to endure so much pain. Her mother was very submissive and loyal to Terayama. Suzume couldn’t talk to anyone about her feelings and resorted to cutting herself in order to cope. She has a gift of shadow weaving, she is very talented with her gift, but she was never aware of her powers. She is very determined, angsty, and stubborn. When she makes a plan, she wants to see it happen. She doesn’t believe she deserves happiness and believes that the only way to atone for her sins is to avenge her fallen family. Though Suzume has to change her identity several times, she knew how to adapt and stay strong in order to survive. ≧ω≦

Otieno, is Suzume’s love interest. From the moment he saw her, he knew that she was “the one”. He is not the prince, instead, he is close allies to the Moon Prince. He is also a talented shadow weaver. He became involved in Suzume’s life when Terayama almost tried to kill her in order to get Otieno and his family’s attention. He is Suzume’s opposite, whereas Suzume believes she does not deserve love, he does. He is optimistic about their future and may I say, he has a lot of patience with her. Though Suzume tries to avoid him, he always finds a way to be with her. Lastly, biracial couple. Yassss!!! ✧٩(•́⌄•́๑)

The magical fairy of this story would be Akira. Akira was the former Shadow Bride, who meets Suzume in jail. I really loved Akira, she was my favorite character. She was sassy and lovely. She was a legend among young children since the typical Shadow Bride isn’t a courtesan. I really loved her relationship with Suzume. I thought it was so cute how the two of them decided to stay sisters.

(☞◣д◢)☞ Lord Terayama was my least favorite character. He got what he deserved in the end. I liked how the author gave him a backstory. He wasn’t just some random background character that her mother remarries. He plays a crucial role in Suzume becoming a revenge fueled girl.  But Suzume’s mother, I was disappointed with the most. She tells her daughter that she loves her, but would rather listen to what her new husband says. She feels threaten when the attention is not on her. There were moments that showed how motherly she was, but most of the time, she wants to move on and forget all about the past. She never protects Suzume, ever. If I could describe her in one word it would be coward.

The Moon Prince isn’t the love interest, one would think since this is a Cinderella retelling. The Shadow Ball isn’t the dreamy party of the year. In fact, the Shadow Ball is an event for one girl to become the prince’s Shadow Bride. The winner of the Shadow Ball is to be with the prince, but could never marry for the rest of her life. I loved the world that the author created. It would have been cool if the author went into more detail about the moon kingdom. After reading the final chapter, I wanted more. I wanted to know the fate of Suzume and Otieno. But for now, I’ll just imagine that they got their happily ever after. ╭(♡・ㅂ・)و ̑̑

Shadows On the Moon did remind me of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I would recommend this story to fans of the Lunar Chronicles and pretty much anyone who loves a good revenge story. It’s a standalone book too. There are no frustrating love triangles!!!

Quotes:

Better naked and alive than decent and dead, I thought.”

“You see, that is why it is so easy to fool people with our illusions, Yue. In this world, illusions are usually much kinder than the truth.”

“Real love is hard because it requires one to know and accept another person with all their faults.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.25)

Book Trailer

Read the first chapter for free. ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆