ARC Book Review: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler


Publisher: Stillpoint Digital Press
Published Date: June 2016
Series: Yes. Book #1 of Seasons of the Sword
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult/Middle Grade
My Source: ARC from Netgally
Links: Goodreads
Review Also On: Amazon and Goodreads


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.


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?

My Review

I’ve waited long enough to give this review.

Risuko was a fun read. I liked the pacing of the story, the suspenseful moments are spread out and I was able to take a breathier with the more explanatory scenes. I loved the every day moments and tales – the children training the kitchen, how the women deal with moontime, learning about the social structure where they were. Everything was interesting to me. Learning more about the culture, what a kunoichi was, the social norms and behaviors of the time was fascinating.

I loved Risuko, Emi, Aimaru, and even Toumi. They were wonderful characters and I wanted to learn a lot about them. It was interesting to find out what connected the three of these girls. Risuko was fantastic. She was so determined and brave. I loved her. Masugu, a lieutenant, and Mieko, one of Lady Chiyome’s servants, were excellent characters as well. The relationship between the two of them was fun to read about. Kee Sun, the cook at Mochizuki, was just perfect.

I think many would love the plot of this book. There is a lot of mystery on what’s going on in Japan and the war, why Risuko and the girls are there (to clarify, that’s Emi and Toumi. Aimaru is a boy), who Lady Chiyome is, and what’s happening in Mochizuki.

A great read with descriptions that drawn you in, characters you want to know more about, and a plot that keeps you thinking. I’m not sure if I would consider this Young Adult. I’m leaning more toward Middle Grade, but a high Middle Grade if that makes any sense. I am interested to see what’s in store for Risuko.

Rating: 3.5 STARS ~ A good book that has a nice YES factor to it.

I was given an advanced reader’s copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 


2 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler

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