Monday, February 17, 2014

Shinobi by Cole Gibsen [ARC REVIEW]

TITLE: Shinobi (Katana #3)
AUTHOR: Cole Gibsen
PUB DATE: Mar 8 2014

Rileigh is ready to celebrate.

Things have been quiet (as quiet as life can be for a reincarnated samurai), she's graduating high school, and her boyfriend, Kim, has finally regained his lost memories. But the urge to celebrate is short-lived when she realizes that if Kim can remember, chances are her (im)mortal enemy, Sumi, can remember as well. Sure enough, it's not long before the reincarnated ninja attacks Rileigh and her friends. But in the aftermath of the fight, Rileigh discovers that Sumi has performed an ancient ritual that allows her to switch bodies with Rileigh . . . and it's draining her ki. Hunted by the Network (who believe Rileigh is Sumi), Rileigh must track the vengeful ninja down before her own powers completely vanish.

- Source: Goodreads


“A person’s true self isn’t something that can be seen, but rather how the world around them is affected by their presence.”

In my review of Senshi, book two of Cole Gibsen’s Katana trilogy, I mentioned that the ending was bittersweet and it was one of the things I found interesting about Rileigh’s story. Ah, but then I come across Shinobi, the third and last instalment, and - *POOF* went that heartbreaking moment. I thought Rileigh or Q would need to use their powers to alter Kim’s memories to bring them back or something. But it came back all on its own. Watching Rileigh having her lonesome moments felt short-lived. It was kind of a letdown… or so I thought.

I didn’t read the summary beforehand, so when I started leafing through Shinobi, I didn’t know there was some other adventure in store for Rileigh and Kim. That plot twist was a rather genius move!

The flashback stories from Japan during the past lives of the characters was the reason I was drawn to the Katana Trilogy. I love how those flashbacks were slowly pieced together. Now getting a hold of Sumi’s (formerly Chiyo) past life, I felt completely indulged. It was an interesting perspective. I really felt sorry for what Chiyo has experienced, and yet despite all that, it didn’t justify any of her actions at present. It only proves she hasn’t grown up at all even after a lifetime. This would have been her chance to start anew.

It was a little disappointing to see that aside from Rileigh, Kim, Quentin and Sumi, the rest of the characters were rather useless. Even in the previous books, they didn’t leave that much of an impression and the only help they provided was during patrols and hanging out with the main characters. Other than building a thoughtful bond of friendship, I would think this story would have gone on even without them.

Although I can’t truly say that things all went well for Rileigh; for a moment, there was a sense of failure that the characters have felt. But even though Rileigh didn’t get exactly what she wanted, she at least got a good consolation for her part. Overall, I think it was a pretty cool ending.

*Thank you, Flux and NetGalley for the copy of Shinobi.

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