Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 384 pages
Release Date: March 8, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: First book in Katana series
Source: eGalley through NetGalley.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
I got a copy of this book through NetGalley(dot)com for review. It was an interesting idea but I was hoping for more action. It would have been nice to have more Buffy-like butt kicking from the main character and less whining.
Rileigh Martin is a relatively normal girl that is until she is attacked in a parking lot by some thugs. She totally schools all three of the big thugs and then goes unconscious. She can barely remembered what happened, the doctors tell her it was adrenaline…but Rileigh remembers a voice in the back of her head and a feeling of silk up her spine as something else took over her actions. Rileigh finds out she might be harboring a 500 year old samurai spirit and now that she’s been outed she may be in a huge amount of danger.
This book is described as Kill Bill meets Buffy; I love both Kill Bill and Buffy and as a result was excited to read this book. There is enough drama in here to warrant the Buffy comment (although not nearly as much humor), but the Kill Bill comparison…hmmm…not really. There are some good fight scenes in this book but not a ton.
The idea is an interesting, if not totally, original one. Rileigh is being taken over by a Samurai spirit. The main question in her mind is…is this spirit part of her? Or is it trying to take over her? It is an interesting problem and an interesting idea. The way Rileigh suddenly knows how to fight awesomely is something I wish I could do and is a fun fantasy to explore. It kind of reminds of the line in the Matrix “I know Kung Fu!”
My main problem with this book is Rileigh. A good portion of the book is spent dealing with her in denial of what’s happening. Rileigh whines a lot and complains about loosing herself. Another good portion of the book is spent with Riley angsting about being attracted to the hot Asian guy who harbors the soul-mate spirit to her ancient spirit instead of wanting the other hot guy from her high school. I am not a fan of teenage angst and drama; especially when the heroine spends more time worrying about which hottie to go after than she does the fact that she is being controlled by an ancient samurai spirit.
I did enjoy Kim as the main male lead; he had a lot more depth than Rileigh and was an awesome fighter. His devotion to Rileigh was admirable if a bit creepy and stalker-like at times.
The plot was completely predictable and transparent. The author tries to mislead the reader into thinking one person is the bad guy but then surprise another person is; the big problem was this diversion is that the outcome is totally predictable. The writing style of the book was decent and the writing was easy to read. The book was fairly engaging as well.
Overall this book had some good and bad points. The idea behind the story was interesting and the book was well-written and easy to read. I found that there wasn’t as much awesome action as I had been hoping for. Rileigh was too whiny and Kim a bit too stalker-like for me. The plot was way to predictable. This was an okay read but not what I was hoping for. Young adult readers who enjoy a lot of teenage drama with some supernatural possession and fighting mixed in might find this enjoyable. I am trying to think what to recommend in place of this book…if you like kick-butt young adult urban fantasy I would recommend Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver or Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.