Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1234
Ninjas
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Rika Kuroi (Jet) has led an unusual and isolated life. Half Japanese and half Caucasian-American, she’s grown up on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico under the care of her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, J-Bird. Her mother has been relentlessly training her all her life, in secret wilderness sessions, to be a Kunoichi—a female ninja. But she has never hinted as to why. When her mother dies, it is feared that those who chased her from her homeland will turn their attention to Jet. And so Jet journeys to Japan, to Kanabe and her mother’s people, in search of the answers she was never given.

The book is written in third person past-tense, largely from Jet’s point of view, but sometimes alternating to include her cousin Hiro, her grandfather, and later on the mercurial Takumi. It picks up more of an urban fantasy feel as it goes.

What I Liked:

I won’t lie—the cover of this book was what first snared my attention. (As tough chicks with swords tend to do.) The premise then pulled me in, with its promise of mystery, cross-cultural intrigue, and of course… ninjas. I read the free sample provided by Amazon, and the vivid writing and rapid pacing gave that final push that made me want to request the book.

The font layout was uniquely attractive. Each chapter has not only a number but a name—written in both English and Japanese kanji. (The same is true for the six distinct parts the book is divided into.) The glossary of terms at the back is a smart addition, offering a quick and thorough reference for relevant Japanese words, terms, and historical figures.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

Unfortunately, a significant pacing slowdown seems to occur once the setting switches to Japan. (Something I couldn’t discern from the sample I’d read, as it ended prior to the end of Part 1, 32 pages in.)

Connectivity to Jet became increasingly difficult as the story progressed, in large part because readers never truly get to know her. What had she wanted to be or do when she reached adulthood? Was she completely friendless in high school? Does she have any hobbies or interests outside of the ninja training her mother pounded into her? Why is she bothered by small enclosed spaces? What mysterious illness killed her mother--And is she at all concerned of the same fate might befall her?
So many things about Jet are simply not addressed or fleshed out. Nor is there an explanation for why Jet is initially so weepy, whiny, and passive when she first faces danger Japan (her attitude being a hugely off-putting issue for some time.)

It was continually difficult to suspend disbelief over the villain’s motivations—particularly considering no one actually knows what the treasure is until the very end. The possibilities provided are wildly varied, straying off in convoluted directions that include conspiracy alternate histories for Judaism and Christianity (p. 117-119)—as if vaguely inspired by The Davinci Code. But these possibilities don’t satisfactorily justify why an already incredibly rich man would pump massive amounts of money, time, lives, and criminality into locating a treasure of unknown origin and value.

Other Detractors:

-Insta-love (Involving a bad-boy mercenary with murky motivations and little-to-no moral compass. Despite his participation in attacks and murder involving Jet’s family, she becomes irritatingly preoccupied with trying to save him from his own ambitions/greed.) The chemistry between them ended up feeling forced—“ninja magic” aside.

-Editing issues (More errors than I usually see in a non-ARC outside of self-published works—2 on page 86 alone. An instance of sudden POV shift mid-scene with no warning or transition (page 37), and some yo-yoing in and out of POV. (Example: Masakichi rubbed his nose as if trying to get rid of the smell. (We are meant to be in Masakichi’s perspective—he should know if he is trying to get rid of the smell or not.)
There was also repeated buildup regarding the villain’s infamous pet panther, only to have it seemingly forgotten in the middle of a big fight scene.

Final Thought:

A promising premise with lots of action, but the entirety didn’t quite cohere for me.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Phoebe Unfired
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
CONNECTING IS TOUGH WHEN YOU CAN'T EVEN TOUCH ...
Thirty Talks Weird Love
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A 13-year-old girl growing up in Mexico is visited by...
Admission
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lie. Cheat. Bribe. How far would you go to get...
Running
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president,...
City of Spells (Into the Crooked Place, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
City of Spells, the follow-up to Alexandra Christo's gritty YA...
Christmas Parade
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
A delightful Christmas board book filled with hilarious characters and...
Best Friend in the Whole World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Roland lives a quiet life filled with books, music, and...
Bird Show
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Award-winning author-illustrator Susan Stockdale welcomes you to the Bird Show,...
Down Comes the Night
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw...
My Book of Feelings (My World)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Inspired by the Montessori method of education this unique board...
Sweet & Bitter Magic
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery...
My High School Rebel Boyfriend
 
3.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
He’s a rebel with a cause… to make my...
The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel comes...
Dark Stars
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dorothy finds herself completely alone. Roman is dead. The...
Follow Your Arrow
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, this...
Daughter of Darkness
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
She is destined to kill a demon. He is...

Latest Member Reviews

Admission
 
5.0
"‘Admission’ by Julie Buxbaum is a modern and definitely current read on a topic that has been in the news...."
Running
 
5.0
"‘Running’ by Natalia Sylvester is a trend-setting anthem for anyone who has ever wanted to be the change they wish..."
City of Spells (Into the Crooked Place, #2)
 
4.7
"CITY OF SPELLS is a stunning conclusion to an enthralling YA fantasy duology. The book plunges us into the story..."
The Project
 
4.7
"What worked: This is one intense psychological tale of a girl trying to reconnect with her sister after she joins..."
Sweet & Bitter Magic
 
4.7
"SWEET & BITTER MAGIC is a lush and enthralling YA fantasy filled with magic, pain, and love. In this world,..."
Sing Me Forgotten
 
5.0
"SING ME FORGOTTEN is an enchanting, compelling, and unexpected YA fantasy retelling of Phantom of the Opera. In this world,..."
The Valley and the Flood
 
4.3
"Rose Colter is adrift. She can't be where she was staying for the holidays but she can't go home yet..."
Perfect on Paper
 
5.0
"PERFECT ON PAPER is a delightful YA romantic comedy. Darcy has been operating Locker 89 at her school for years...."
11 Paper Hearts
 
4.3
"Reviewed for YA Books Central A super cute and sweet story. The story: A year ago, a..."
shine your icy crown
 
3.3
"shine your icy crown by amanda lovelace is a 129-page collection of contemporary poems. It’s the second book in the..."
The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)
 
4.3
"THE CASTLE SCHOOL (FOR TROUBLED GIRLS) is a story of healing and friendship. Moira has been cast adrift since the..."
Go the Distance
 
5.0
"Hercules proved he was a true hero and became a god like his parents, Zeus and Hera. Meg is thrilled..."
Follow Your Arrow
 
4.3
"FOLLOW YOUR ARROW is a heartfelt read about love, breaking up, and being true to yourself. CeCe has made a..."
Down Comes the Night
 
4.3
"DOWN COMES THE NIGHT is an intriguing, slow-burn YA fantasy. Wren is a healer in the military of her queendom,..."
A Dark and Hollow Star (A Dark and Hollow Star, #1)
 
4.7
"A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR is a slowly building YA fantasy that takes the reader on a wild ride through..."
Daughters of Jubilation
 
5.0
"It's South Carolina in 1962. Sixteen-year-old Evvie has two little sisters to take care of, a single mother, and finally..."
Dark Stars
 
4.0
"DARK STARS by Danielle Rollins is the third book in her series of the same name. It begins with Dorothy..."
Muted
 
5.0
"Denver loves music and dreams of life making it with her R&B group, Angelic Voices. When the group (Denver, Dali,..."
Reawakened
 
3.3
"My favorite thing about this book is the Egyptian elements. Reading Lily’s adventures in pyramids gave me strong Indiana Jones..."
Three Day Summer
 
4.7
"Michael doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He should go to community college to avoid the..."