Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Risuko by David Kudler

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!

It did take me a fair few chapters for me to properly work out who was who, and I probably wasn't pronouncing any of the names right in my head, but Kudler stuck to fleshing out just a handful of the charaters which made it much easier to keep tack, and while I loved Emi from the start, I wasn't too sure about Toumi and have definitely reserved judgement. 

While I remain slightly confused over how old Risuko actually was (my guess is somewhere between 12 and 14) I don't think it really matters. She's still a strong female character, even when she was in the dark about things. She was also a little naive at times which I think reflected her youth. 

I loved the way that Japanese culture was central to the plot. It was about what was traditional and included referring to things with Japanese words. The author did it in such a way that it wasn't confusing though, and it definitely worked well. 

This was a really good read, I'd definitely recommend it.