Release Date: March 8th, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: From Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
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), 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.
Warning: Prepare for a b*tchfest. I will keep it as clean and as respectful as I can, but I can't make any promises. This book made me want to scream. Why, you ask? Because...BECAUSE it had SO much potential that it did not live up to. It could have been great, but it was just mediocre in every way.
First things first. That tagline? Kill Bill meets Buffy? No. Just no. This book was nothing like Kill Bill. That movie is gory, bloody, gritty, and all kinds of awesome. This book was, blah, not bloody at all, it wishes it were gritty, and all kinds of crap. I just am so frustrated.
But the worst issue I had throughout the whole thing? I wasn't able to believe in a word the author was saying. In paranormal and fantasy novels, the reader has to suspend disbelief. I tried to do that. I really did. Check the following out (I stole it from Wikipedia. You can do that, right?):
"It was put forth in English by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a "human interest and a semblance of truth" into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.
And that's just it. The narrative was completely implausible. And the author did a pretty shoddy job of trying to convince me otherwise. I didn't believe in the magic OR the reincarnation aspects. And I certainly didn't believe in the creepy, instalove triangle.
That's right. I said instalove. And love triangle. I would like you to read you a quote from one of the love interests, so you can see why I thought the romances in this book were so utterly icky.
Whitley crossed the asphalt with quick strides until only inches separated us. "I'm drawn to you, Rileigh. I don't know what it is--but I'd like to find out." He lifted my hand and rubbed his thumb across my knuckles, bringing goosebumps along my arm. "Do you feel it?"
...Uhh...speechless. There are no words. I'll just say that the romances didn't work for me. At all. The other love interest, Kim, was a little better (not creepy), but he still did nothing for me. Even worse was Rileigh's reaction to that declaration of love. She let out a girlish scream of delight. Girlish scream of delight. Really? Excuse me. I'm nauseated.
It had so much potential, but ultimately fell flat. I found the writing unimpressive, the protagonist whiny and annoying, and the rest of the characters weren't developed very well. All the proper story elements were there, but in the end I didn't feel they came together. I just felt like everything in the book was half-attempted and not fully fleshed out. The characters, the plot, the antagonist, the unconvincing love interests. None of it really worked for me or made me believe in what I was reading.
2 stars for an original idea and the fact that I was able to finish the book; therefore, it wasn't that bad. But it certainly wasn't good.