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


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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: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Review

"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

More About the Author

Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.

It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen. Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations.

Cole is represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency.

Customer Reviews

Cole Gibsen not only writes a great story but creates interesting characters.
Mia N. Searles
I encourage those who like action, reincarnation, and humor with a good dose of romance to read this.
Mackenzie
Mostly because she kept making really bad decisions and she didn't realize things till way too late.
Nori (Nori's Closet)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cary Morton on March 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
(copied over from it's original location on the wordpress blog : authorunpublished)

I very nearly gave this book a 4 star review. In fact, I pondered over it quite a while before I settled on 5 stars. Why? Because there is so much of this story that was screaming "marysue" at me when the story started. Here's this blonde haired, blue eyed girl who suddenly finds out she has ninja (excuse me, samurai) super-skills even though she's never taken a fighting class in her life... it's a walking talking example of what happens when you take an anime fangirl and give them a pen.

That being said, I'm still giving it five stars. The author managed to take something that should have been horribly marysue and made it into an action-packed, captivating story. By the end of the book I could have cared less what marysue qualities the book came with, it was awesome-sauce on a stick.

Now, I will agree that the characters (read: Rileigh and her ridiculous name) were a bit juvenile - but I didn't find it as annoying as I'd expected. This is a YA fiction after all, and I think the author did a decent job of making her characters fit the genre. They sounded like teenagers - take that however you will. I probably wouldn't recommend this book for a serious adult reader... but if you enjoy youthful imaginative stories or you're a YA yourself, then you'll probably love this story.

I think my favorite part about this whole book was Kim and Rileigh's relationship. Don't worry, there were no inappropriate scenes for the younger audience, but I can definitely say that their relationship was bordering on steamy. I had no problem imagining the pull of attraction between these two. I also really appreciated the friendships throughout this book - they seemed genuine.
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