Thursday, August 2, 2012

Katana, by Cole Gibsen


- Katana #1
Release date: March 8th 2012
Published by: Flux
Genre: Young Adult
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon


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.




As much as I enjoyed the premise of a teenager finding out she's actually a samurai warrior, the book itself, unfortunately, didn't live up to its hype. At first glance, the summary immediately made me think of Angelfire, by Courtney Allison Moulton. The essence of the story looked the same - even the romance involving a guy from the girl's previous life, and all that. However, as I really worked up the courage to dig into Katana, I realized there was just something missing in this book. 

Rileigh, the main character, was a likable character at times - and sometimes, she was impossible to be around. It was like there were two sides of her - the one mentally stable, and the one I was afraid was going to kill somebody. That didn't bode well, especially since - because of that - I failed to connect with her and her ambitions. I never understood certain decisions that she made, and to be quite honest, Rileigh was unremarkable enough for me not to remember her name three days after I finished reading Katana - and I'm not lying. That actually happened. I had to look it up on the summary to write this review. I have everything about the story memorized, except details about Rileigh.  

The romance, by no means, was good enough to entertain me throughout the book. I mean, yes, Kim was cute and there were a few scenes in which he was swoon-worthy (very swoon-worthy), but most of the times, he was this dull character with no depth that I couldn't really understand because of his secrets and half truths. I know he couldn't tell Rileigh everything, and that the author wanted to keep his badboy vibe on, but it just didn't work. He tried to come off as mysterious and sexy, but only managed to look stalker-ish, possessive, and crazy in love - even though we never got to see why he loved Rileigh/Senshi in the first place. The romance was there, but it was already developed, and that didn't add up to my liking.

The set of secondary characters was the only thing that truly grabbed my attention, especially when it came to Rileigh's best friend, Quentin. He was a walking, breathing stereotype, but I loved him nonetheless. He was funny, and understanding, and his advices were ridiculously hilarious, which I found pretty entertaining. Drew, Branden, and Michelle, Kim's friends, were good characters as well, and I liked the dynamic that existed between them. Now, I won't even begin on the whole mystery surrounding who's behind Rileigh's attacks. I figured out who the villain was about halfway through the novel, and that just... well, it sucked. I wasn't surprised by anything, I wasn't blown away by anything, and most of all, the climax scene was so predictable I literally rolled my eyes when I saw it coming. I mean, seriously? Can you, please, not be so obvious? 

Katana had a lovely premise, but with the dull main character, Edward-esque love interest, and the lack of an eye-catching mystery, I can't say I enjoyed this novel very much. I'll probably read the sequel, though - I'm curious about where the story is going, especially regarding the secondary characters.

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