Author: Natalie Whipple
Title: Relax, I’m A Ninja
Release date: 29th of April 2014
Series: Relax, I'm A Ninja #1
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Adventure, Action, YA
Published by: Whipple House Publishing
Pages: 205 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
A Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable—but as the son of a ninja master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city. Or at least he thought he did.
When a killer with a poisoned blade starts cutting down teens, Tosh enlists Amy Sato—newest ninja recruit and his best friend’s crush—and sets out to uncover the killer's identity. What they find is ninjutsu more evil than they could have ever imagined.
As Amy and Tosh grow closer, they discover their connection unleashes a legendary power that could stop the murders. Problem is, that power may be exactly what the killer is looking for, and wielding it could cost them both their souls.
It’s no secret that I try to take on each and every Japanese themed YA, a task, unfortunately, at where I fail miserably most of the time due to my already humongous TBR pile. Anyway, I managed to squeeze in this lovely piece of title genius: Relax, I’m a Ninja – I mean, how can you not read this? The title alone is hilarious!
The content, however, I had some issues with. The idea in general is nothing new: boy from a long line of ninjas trained by badass dad must, firstly, pretend to be weak and nerdy, and second, fight against mysterious evil ninja with the help of some kickass girls (friends?) and some guys as well. Along the way family secrets are discovered, love is found and secret identities are uncovered. Nothing overly original, but it’s the details that make it more unique.
There is a strong emphasis on love and the connection it forms, but in a soul mate kind of way. It was an interesting take and direction, because you wouldn’t really expect much on the emotional and human relationships side from a seemingly action and adventure orientated story. And I also have to admit the story was quite unpredictable regarding the romantic connection in the beginning, I couldn’t predict who the main interest was going to be. BUT, oh my god, once it was clear I got so annoyed due to excessive crazy obsessive jealousy by one of the characters. I just wanted to knock some sense into that person, it was rude, petty and clearly unhealthy behavior – I really dislike unjustified jealousy and in that case and based on that relationship, it was totally uncalled for. What a wacko!
In general, this book turned out to be more girl-orientated than I thought, which made me pleasantly surprised since I thought the target audience was more to the side of boys. I can’t complain though, I liked how it was balanced. What I was hoping for more was, however, humor – I would have liked to see a dash extra.
The pace was fast and there was constant action, yet the story still managed to find enough time for character development and relationships, almost all in connection with the hero were at some point more deeply explored. Nevertheless, the actions of some characters were somewhat unrealistic, childish and naive, including our hero’s. Certain people were made to be utterly dislikeable really easily then redeemed, conclusions were drawn too fast and as usual, if people actually sit and talk things out, most dangerous situations and misunderstandings might not happen and people wouldn’t just assume instead of knowing for certain.
As is usually accustomed to me, I loved the Japanese aspect and mythology of it, I’ve never come across anything similar to it in YA, so the concept was fresh and exciting. Also, this didn’t take place in Japan, so this was new territory for me as well, the books with this theme usually are situated in Japan or at least are for the majority of the story.
From the characters, Courtney was definitely my favorite, she could fight, had attitude and didn’t let herself get walked over by the hero so easily. Marty was cute in a dory was as well.
A surprisingly fun and action-packed book for both boys and girls. The characters were at times a con for me, but the plot and ongoings won’t let you get sidetracked by the faults so easily. An enjoyable adventure with lots of romance.