Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Book Review: Katana by Cole Gibsen

SUMMARY: Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline had given her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of 15th-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.


Katana is a book that admittedly, for me, didn't quite match up to its potential. Though the samurai and history of the souls in Rileigh and Kim was well done, Rileigh herself wasn't a character I easily connected with. Despite this, there was still something intriguing about the entire book, with some great twists thrown in. This is also a book that has a lot of humor in it, one to not necessarily be taken too seriously, but set against the backdrop of what's happening, it's a hard mix to swallow sometimes.

Rileigh is hugely sarcastic, and though it felt like some of this was trying too hard at times, it still lent itself to plenty of laughs. This was the part of her that I could appreciate it, and while she definitely came off as weak at times, she still had a certain drive in her that helped her face down whatever was thrown at her. Her banter and interactions with her best friend, Quinten, were hilarious and fun, and Gibsen did a great job of keeping Quinten tied into the story even after the whole samurai thing really starts coming into play. Though it could be seen as Quinten having little importance, I felt like the simple fact that he was still there spoke volumes, rather than Rileigh just being too busy or unwilling to tell him the truth of what's going on.

Kim was an interesting character, broody and intriguing, with seemingly little patience at the start. The initial meeting between the two, and the growing attraction lent itself to some great scenes, and was definitely one of the more enjoyable aspects of the book. Layered over the history between them and the souls that live within them, and Gibsen definitely wove their relationship in a good way.

The writing of this one was strong in voice, with some great and hilarious descriptions that are definitely stand out. With a straightforward nature to it, and dragging only a few times, the writing has a great quality to it. Though the pacing of the overall plot fell through at times, Gibsen still provides a great climax and a good ending for the story. The history was woven into the present in a very good way, with some beautifully done triggering moments and switches. Despite the flaws this one had for me, it was still an enjoyable read.

Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Reading level: Ages 12 and up 
Paperback: 384 pages 
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: March 8, 2012


  1. I definitely want to give this one a try. After reading Julie Kagawa's "The Immortal Rules," the main protag Allie also fights with a katana. There's so much history behind that sword. I'm intrigued at this point. Hopefully it lives up to my expectations!

  2. I've been meaning to read this, and as I love funny and action I'll definately have to check it out!
    Thanks for the great review! :)