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Katana (A Katana Novel) Paperback – March 8, 2012

27 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Katana Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rileigh Martin is a skater girl, not a fighter, but when she is attacked by three men, a strange voice in her head tells her what to do, and she takes them all down. She begins to have dreams about Kim, a mysterious martial-arts expert, who explains that Rileigh is a samurai warrior—his soulmate, Senshi, reincarnated—and that she is awakening due to grave danger. Rileigh doesn’t believe any of this, but several more close calls lead to reluctant belief. Gibsen’s debut is plot driven with fairly well-developed secondary characters, although Rileigh’s best friend Quentin’s immediate acceptance of her awakening feels somewhat contrived. The novel flirts with the damsel in distress cliché, but Rileigh harnesses her power and becomes the hero of her own story. Torn between an eerily familiar past and an unknown future, her journey toward transcendence in contemporary St. Louis alternates with Senshi’s story in fifteenth-century Japan, making for an action-packed page-turner tempered with slow-burning romance. Grades 7-10. --Charli Osborne


"This action-packed novel has a unique and compelling plot...Fans of Carrie Asai's Samurai Girl series will be particularly interested, but even readers who dislike supernatural story lines will enjoy this tale of modern samurais." - School Library Journal

"An action packed page-turner tempered with slow-burning romance." - Booklist

"Starts with a bang and never lets up. Prepare yourself for a smart, sassy heroine, and seriously swoony romance...with a little butt-kicking thrown in for good measure. A cracking debut." - Antony John, author of the 2011 Schneider Family Book award-winning Five Flavors of Dumb

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 690L (What's this?)
  • Series: A Katana Novel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Flux; Original edition (March 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738730408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738730400
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,958,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

At seventeen Cole found herself homeless with only a beat-up Volkswagen Jetta and a bag of Goodwill clothing to her name. The only things that got her through the nights she spent parked in truck stops and cornfields were the stacks of books she checked out from the library along with her trusty flashlight. Because of the reprieve these books gave her from her troubles, Cole vowed to become a writer so she could provide the same escape to readers who needed a break the reality of their own lives.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mandy on January 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rileigh heads to the mall with her best friend Q when the pair leaves they witness a attempted mugging. The mugger flee's with but before he can run past Rileigh she trips him ending up with the purse and he runs off. It isn't till Rileigh and Q get to her car that they are confronted by the mugger and his two friends. They attempt to rough them up but Rileigh surprises them as well as herself by using ancient samurai skills. When she's caught on the security camera's beating up the bad guys, suddenly the guy she's been dying to date in high school is showing up at her home. She's also visited by a stranger who claims to know who she is and why she's suddenly hearing a voice and has some new fighting skills.

At his urging Rileigh agree's to meet the stranger at his dojo in hopes of learning what's going on. She's attacked by three strangers who attempt to kill her but with her skills she easily fights them off. She learns that Kim was testing her to prove that she is indeed the one he's been searching for the fifth of their group well as his long lost love. Rileigh struggles with learning the truth, unable to believe they are telling her all the truth she decides to go out with the guy from school at the urging of her best friends. It's on the date she's attacked, and when her home is broken into and the katana stolen she heads back to Kim for advice.

I've been dying to read Katana forever since long before it came out and after procrastinating on purchasing it due to the ever growing review pile I caved. However it hit the shelf where it's been teasing me for months. I was tickled when I found the chance to read while my kindles had dead batteries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Celine on March 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
You know, I think the Japanese are cool. They have ninjas and samurai and awesome weapons that look more like pieces of art, but that can behead a person with a single swoop. I know they like tea, and that they wear funny white socks in flip flops. They are completely awesome with technology, and are very polite. With that knowledge of Japanese culture I started Katana. A girl that discovers she was a samurai in a previous life? Hell yes!

I have seen some reviewers complaining that the Japanese part of the book wasn't well researched, and didn't give a correct view of how everything worked over there five hundred years ago. I can't be the judge of the historical accuracy of the things happening in Katana. Maybe they're right, maybe they're not. But I think you shouldn't look at Katana as a groundbreaking novel about Japanese culture, but more of a fun young-adult book that features kick-ass fights with sword-wearing bad guys.

That's probably the best way to describe Katana: fun. It's really a cute novel, in my opinion. Yes, it does fall back into some clichés. There is an overly theatrical gay best friend. The main character Rileigh gets warned by a mysterious hot guy that "She is in great danger!". I didn't have a problem with any of those, actually. I laughed at the gay friends jokes. I wondered who the mysterious hot guy was. I was engaged by the story from the first chapter, and I didn't mind the slight clichés at all.

Even though I had a lot of fun reading Katana, there are some things that bothered me. My main problem was with said mysterious hot guy. For some reason he turned from "hot asian guy" into "elderly kung-fu master" in my mind. He even had the braided moustache and the ponytail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brett on April 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So that you know where I'm coming from, I'm a 28 year old male. This places me pretty far outside the young adult demographic they were goin for but when I saw I could buy this book for a penny, I figured "What the hell".

My overall opinion is a negative one since this book could have been much more than it was. Here are some of the things that annoyed me:

1. The stereotypically flamboyant gay friend - Did he have to be made of cardboard? Would it have killed the author to give him even a little depth? It seemed that his only purpose in the book was to snark at the main character and make remarks about how fantastically gay he is. Nothin wrong with having a gay character, of course. Lots of great characters are gay (I'm looking at you, Dumbledore!) but, unlike this character, being gay is not their only discernible trait or why they're remarkable. The treatment of this character did nothing to enhance the story or give you insight into any character's hearts. Hell, even the other samurai heroes barely noticed him there.

2. The fighting - For a martial arts story there seemed to be very little care taken with the fights. The descriptions sounded as though the author watched an entire season of Buffy before writing this book. There was just nothing present that had shown me Gibsen knew the first thing about martial arts and combat.

3. The romance - I know they're teenagers but they're also, literally, 'old souls' too. So why is that they cant help but say things like, "I would rather die a thousand deaths than have you think for a second that I don't love you". Puke.

4. The history - I am no Asian history scholar but there are many instances that tell me that Gibsen knows even less than I do when it comes to Japanese history.
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