Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: Katana by Cole Gibsen

Hi all!

As usual another YA review! :)

Author: Cole Gibsen
Title: Katana
Series: Katana #1
Release date: 8th of March 2012
Imprint: Flux
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Supernatural, Contemporary, YA
Pages: 375 in Paperback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository


Skater girl or supernatural samurai?
Rileigh Martin wants to believe that adrenaline gave her the strength to fend off three muggers in the mall parking lot. But adrenaline doesn't explain the voice in her head giving her battle tips and warnings.

While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), 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.

Following my constant need for Japanese themed YA, I stumbled on Katana about a kickass heroine with the spirit of an even more kickass female samurai harboring inside her. And solely based on the premise this book hit me hard with anticipation to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the actual outcome of the story. The setup is awesome, all the endless possibilities this could rock were present, it had everything going for it, but if I had to pinpoint the reason this book didn’t quite knock me out, it would have to be because of the heroine Rileigh. But more on that later.
The girl empowering and feminist theme of the book to enable a woman to be a samurai was a welcome breeze of fresh air, historically accurate or not. Rileigh had center stage in most of the fights and she quite literally showed who’s boss. The fact that she wasn’t entirely „herself“ is trivial. This is something I thoroughly appreciated about this book. Ok, the guys were for the most part just as top notch but Rileigh shined blindingly and overshadowed even the magnificent master Kim with her physical expertise. If only she would have excelled with her personality and mentally as well.
Another aspect I liked about this book were the action scenes, they were plentiful and frequent remained exciting and detailed without coming across too repetitive.
Rileigh... I’m still struggling to find out what went amiss – whiney, constantly doubting and acting sullen and bitchy to all except Quentin. She just supported this attitude that had her viewing everything from a negative light, never liking or fully trusting anyone but super-speed ready to condemn all for the slightest of errors. On a positive note, she was tough, brave and not afraid to take action whenever needed. She didn’t take anything lying down. In addition, though a small snippet, I admired her and Quentin working in the hair salon despite having not to due to the family financial situation.
Kim – he remained an enigma to me in the story. I couldn’t quite figure him out and there wasn’t much insight provided to draw a clearer picture of him. He remained in the shadows next to Rileigh but his presence was undeniable. He was a rock, steady and strong and his devotion to Rileigh was admirable, although it did nudge a little close to invading of personal space at times but he stayed classy and supportive. I actually would have liked him to take the reigns and be more resolute, because all he was determined to do was in her best interest and to keep her safe but Relight was overly suspicious, hostile and accusing all the time. But all in all, I liked his calm and collected but hot and hunky image and character.
Kim’s band of warrior friends were all unique with their own past and stories to tell. I liked hearing about their previous lives and how these influence who they are now, what has remained the same and what has changed. One relationship was especially eyebrow raising in a positive way, I would have liked to delve more into that.
Quentin was a great sidekick gay best friend and, honestly, they are always a complete win for me. Rileigh’s mother seemed shallow and neglectful at first but I sort of warmed up to her at the end. Besides, her relationship with Dr. Wendell was cute, and I found him overall really adorably-geeky-mysterious-puppy-dog-adorable.
A good action oriented YA book that I would have liked to enjoy more than I did. Nevertheless, an interesting light read that had some great things going for it. I’ll give the second book a chance maybe the things that bothered me in the first one are solved because the premise of this series is definitely to my liking.

3 stars!



  1. I like the title and the concept. Too bad about the character.

  2. Yes :( Well, you can't always have everything. Nevertheless, the concept is good so it depends on a person how much if at all the heroine annoys you :D Try it :)