Monday, February 25, 2013

Katana by Cole Gibsen [REVIEW]

TITLE: Katana (Katana #1)
AUTHOR: Cole Gibsen
PUB DATE: Mar 8 2012

Summary from Goodreads:

"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."


I’ve been a constant victim of book covers. Really. I just never learn. When I chanced upon a copy of Katana, I was immediately drawn to the kick-ass cover. How awesome are those swords, yeah? And the synopsis was just as awesome: A reincarnated samurai warrior, a promise of relentless fighting and swords clashing, and a twist of eternal love. Well, I can’t say Katana didn’t live up to its promise, but the way it was accomplished wasn’t exactly what I expected, and there were elements that just didn’t seem to add up.

It’s no question that Rileigh truly is a reincarnated samurai, even though at first I just thought it was simply case of schizophrenia rather than an awakening. At least Rileigh and I were on the same page on that one. What I loved most was the story of Rileigh’s past life. As short as it was, the flashes were enough to make me adore Senshi (Rileigh’s name in the past). But I wish I could’ve seen the skater side of her more just as well. It was so focused on her samurai side that the skater part of her seemed to be side stepped and deemed irrelevant.

I’m also a little disappointed that every single moment was rather focused on trying to develop Rileigh and Kim’s characters and relationship, and so little time spent on giving a glimpse of the other characters in the story. I know that of course the story would focus on the two, but minor characters are just as well important to be established and recognized, like Quentin for example. I just love him and I would have loved him more if his character was developed further. As for Rileigh’s mother, wow... I can’t believe how insignificant she turned out to be, that it took her a while to notice that Rileigh’s car got beaten up. Talk about bad, bad, BAD mom award! Seriously, it’s on the freakin’ driveway for goodness sake! That’s pretty much easy to spot, right?

The pacing was pretty good, but I found it hard to feel satisfied over how it all played out. Everything just seemed to be easy for Rileigh from the beginning. In fact, it was way too easy. It was easy for her to summon her powers, it was easy for her to defeat any kind of enemy, it was so easy for her friend to accept her supernatural history, it was so easy for her to deflect her mom’s questions, and it was so easy for her to wipe out the main villain. Speaking of the villain, that’s another thing, it was so easy to figure out who he was. Also, the portrayal of the villain’s past life showed a strong, mighty and powerful person... why’d he just come out as a wimp in this generation?

This book was an enjoyable read, but when I think “samurai”, I thought it would be a lot more gory and brutal. It was much lighter than I expected. It was... cute.


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