Friday, January 20, 2012

Katana by Cole Gibsen

Release Date: 8th March, 2011

Publisher: Flux

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

Kill Bill meets Buffy in this supernatural samurai tale.

Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline gave her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of fifteenth century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings. While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner)m Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana - a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her.

The Review

A big thanks to Flux on netGalley for accepting my request in reading this book early!

There's no hidden secret when I say I'm OBSESSED with Japan, katana swords (always wanted to buy one for myself even though my family don't trust me with any sort of sharp objects) and the overall culture of it all . . . especially the history of the Samurai. That is what I love to bits. When the news came around to me about this book featuring everything I'm dying and looking for in a book - what with a nice mash up of Buffy and Kill Bill - I was ready for something to blow my mind and entertain on different levels. Despite the kickass summary and its awesome title, unfortunately the book was a bit of a disappointment. Sadly.

The storyline was entertaining - don't get me wrong here - and it had a lot of potential for readers seeking some hardcore action. But my biggest struggle was the heroine herself, Rileigh Martin, whom was your usual teenage girl. Being an aspiring writer myself, I know it's extremely hard to write a likeable main character and project a realistic voice that you hope one day everyone will come to like and respect. But for Rileigh, her character didn't seem to strike me as very likable at all and she didn't necessarily seem realistic in any sense I'm afraid.

Rileigh had her good moments of comedy (I'll give her that) and some light-hearted moments shared between her and the supporting characters, but I couldn't quite connect with her. Perhaps it was because she was always in denial throughout the novel. I have the same feelings with Rileigh's 'stereotypical' gay best friend, a boy named Quentin, whom is displayed as more like a girl than anything else. I've known people who are gay and only one boy I've come across acted somewhat like a girl . . . only with less irritation and squealing. Maybe I'm wrong about this but Quentin's inner girl - after all, he thinks he was a Marilyn Monroe in his past life - should be toned down a bit since the gay people I'm friendly with aren't like this one bit. The only real character I didn't mind was Kim, the love interest of KATANA. He was the Asian Yoda and I loved his wiseness.

Like where most young adult romances go, the romantic relationship between Rileigh and Kim are what you come expect in a book like this one. Cliche but readable. I love asian guys (again no secret there) since they have plenty of surprises in bust-a-moves and Kim's kickass side was perfect. He's a martial arts instructor after all - you have to love that about him! While he's the only asian among the group and while I understand reincarnation is involved and responsible for this 'change', but I kind of wished for more asians considering it's an asian-based book but you can't get everything you want in a book. Back to Kim - he was awesome most of the time. He was serious - a little too serious - and blabbed repetitively about being the 'Chosen One' and la de da, but Kim was a character with a purpose and had far more drive than the main character did herself. Not to mention the only time I was really entertained was the flashback scenes of ancient Japan . . . THEY WERE AWESOME! Wanted more of them though.

Overall, despite my disappointments and already knowing the predictable events that would occur within the book before they even happened, I can definitely see a lot teenagers enjoying this book. With a nicely-paced storyline, with the right amount of snark, along with some great action sequences and nicely-written historical knowledge, I can guarantee if you're a fan of Japan, reincarnation or martial arts itself, then you'll love this book. It was a pity that I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to but it just wasn't the right book for me.

The Rating 2/5 stars


  1. Oh no! I'm so sorry that this one disappointed you, Erin! :( It always sucks when you can't connect with the characters -- I think that's the biggest make-it-or-break-it thing in a book for me too!

    Still, thank you so much for the awesome honest review, Erin!! :) And I love how you just said that it wasn't the book for you instead of demanding the world not to read it -- that makes you rock even more, in my book! <3 I'll be honest and say that it makes me want to pick this book up more than I ever did! x)

    1. It's a shame but you can't win everyone. Awwww thank you!!!!! You rock too for even saying such a thing. haha. Thanks. xx

  2. It's a shame this one was disappointing! I'm pretty much obsessed with Japan/Japanese culture too (I may or may not be watching anime instead of revising for exams...), so I was really looking forward to it. I think I'd experience the same problems you did, though, so I'll probably leave this one for a while. Thanks for the review :).

    1. Gotta love anime. While the book didn't win me over entirely, but definitely still check it out when you can. The story does get better. :

  3. So sad to hear this wasn't as awesome as you thought it would be, particularly since you're such a huge fan of these elements! But I so agree with what Mimi wrote, love that you always manage to sell a book to those you think will like it, even if you weren't really a huge fan yourself :)

    I can definitely understand your isssues with predictability and especially Rileigh, although the snark, action and history do sound intriguing. Not sure if it will be a hit or miss book for me, we'll see! Fantastic review :)

    1. I've learned a lot of things about reviewing and hating a book in a review (as seen on goodreads) is just not the right thing to do. So thanks for that!

      I still encourage readers to read this book - but it wasn't the right one for me.

  4. Haha! I totally understand you Erin. I am obsessed with anime and manga too. I LOVE JAPAN!!! So sad that you didn't quite enjoy the book but I will try to read it since we both love Japan too! :) Awesome review, Erin!!!

    Celine @ Forget-me-not

    1. Thanks Celine. If you love Japan and the whole samurai thing, you'll love this.

  5. Hi Erin,

    Sounds like this wan't the book for you, I just checked your review list and noticed you haven't any Jonathan Maberry. Now I am going to recommend you Rot & Ruin and Dust and Decay. You no doubt have heard of them. But they have Katana sword in it and I absolutely love this series. It is so not what you think. Sure it's zombies but it's so not what you think...unless you of course already know alot about the series then..I may not really be recommending at all. I have my reviews on blog and I don't think I have spoilers. Books start a little slower at start as getting us to know characters but BAM! then off and running and a lot of emotion. I was truly surprised and can't wait for the Flesh and Bone.

    Anyhoo, just saying:D

    Have a great day!


    1. It was a pity but what can you do. :)

      Thank you for the recommendation. I've actually heard of these books and I love anything with a katana sword in them. So cheers for that!

  6. It looks like you have heaps of Japan lovers here in your comments--it's basically why I requested it too. I'm planning on getting around to it sometime in February.

    It sounds like this book is going to annoy me with its cliches, unfortunately, but I'll go into it and see what I think.

    1. You might enjoy it. The only reason why I wanted the book was because of the whole japan and samurai thing. Sadly it was disappointing. But who knows - you might enjoy it. Happy reading!

  7. First, thanks for reading my review^^
    Second, I get your point, totally. For me it was difficult to connect with Rileigh too... at least most of the time. Too much denial for my taste, you know?
    Anyway, about the Quentin: I'm proud to say I, once, had my very own harem of gay guys xD Yeah... I'm not sure how did that happened but it did (of course, nothing sexual at all since I'm a girl... so sad, I know... xD). But yeah, during that time I met a lot of gays and they can ve as colorful as a rainbow. The cool guy, the girl-guy, the squeek-guy, the OMG-guy (too much OMG in everything...) and the everybody-is-gay-guy (really annoying if you ask me). I think that's why I liked Quentin, he was very girly sometimes but still nice.

    Wow, long comment... sorry! BTW, I love the fact that you love Japanese culture too :D


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