Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book Review: Katana, by Cole Gibsen

First, a story. When I realized that Katana takes place in St. Louis, I looked in the back to see where the author is from, and turns out she lives in a town in Illinois about 10 miles from me. So, I looked up her blog and emailed her. She responded immediately. Turns out I grew up in the same town as her husband's family, and don't think I had him in class, but he attended the school where I teach. Small world...and, I loved this book!

Katana has a unique premise. It's modern day, but Rileagh begins to remember her past life as a samurai. She is mugged, and before she realizes what happened, she has subdued and injured all three of her attackers. Kim hears this on the news, and seeks Rileagh out because he suspects she is the reincarnation of a Japanese warrior, Senshi. And not just any warrior, but one of the best warriors, and also the love of Kim's life.

Of course, Rileagh isn't buying any of this, but she continues to hear voices, and when confronted again at Kim's dojo, she is able to defend herself against three trained samurai. Kim also must convince her that because her story is out, others will be out to kill her, and she is in grave danger.

The pacing is excellent. I always had a hard time putting the book down, but the character development doesn't suffer. Rileagh's confusion and soul-searching comes through loud and clear. Her best friend, Quentin, is everything a best friend should be and adds realism to the story. The plot steadily builds towards a very exciting conclusion. I must admit, I had strong suspicions about who the bad guy was early in the book, but that didn't really take away from my enjoyment.

The romance is slow and sweet, even though we know how it is going to end up. There's no cliffhanger, but plenty of potential to meet these characters again, and according to Gibsen's blog, she is working on a sequel. Yeah!

Recommend this to teens who like a kick-ass female main character, surrounded by strong supporting characters. Many St. Louis landmarks are mentioned, so that will be another draw for my students. The adventure got my heart pounding, and I can't wait to share this one.

Published by Flux, March 8, 2012
ARC obtained from Library Media Connection Magazine for review
377 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. This book sounds really interesting. I love the ninja twist. We have a joke in our family that we are all ninjas and we even have ninja names.

    That is super awesome that the author responded right away. What a small world it sometimes is.

  2. This one was one of my Waiting Ons...I think I'm going to have to get it, especially after that review. Personally, I love a kick-butt character and one with swords? I'm in.

  3. I like the sound of this one Annette. Thanks for the review.


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