- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
- Series: Blood Ninja
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (December 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416986278
- ISBN-13: 978-1416986270
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #874,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blood Ninja Hardcover – December 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—Taro wants to be a samurai, but as this story opens, ninjas attack his house and decapitate his father, and he is run through with a ninja sword. All is not lost—he is saved by a good ninja who had to bite him and turn him vampire. Yes, that's right; all the ninjas are vampires. This addition to the dead and undead outpouring is cleverly set in the 16th century at the height of the warring daimyos of the Tokugawa period in Japan. The author makes a good argument for the logic of ninjas being vampires—they only come out at night, they move with stealthlike speed, and they seem to be invincible. In this case, they are vital in determining who will be eventual Shogun as well. Taro and his friend Haro are taken on an adventure with the good ninja, Shusaku, where they learn of and must thwart a plot to have Taro killed because of his true identity. The female characters take a backseat to the nonstop action, and the gruesome details of all the killings and the cool weaponry will mark this as a great "guy book" to counter all the female frenzy around Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series (Little, Brown).—Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO
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Lake deftly blends sixteenth-century Japanese samurai history with vampire mythology to concoct a gory and fast-paced adventure that will grab readers. Overwhelming interest in manga often extends to interest in Japanese history, and Lake’s focus on swordplay will carry along those who don’t relish the historical element. Teenage Taro, a misfit among the peasants of his fishing village, finds himself pursued by ninja mysteriously intent on killing him; is saved by a “good” ninja, who turns him into a vampire; and becomes a ninja himself. There’s plenty of decapitation and seppuku, light romance, and unsuspected royal lineage, but the main premise—that all ninjas are vampires—drives the story and works surprisingly well. Plucky female characters with martial-arts skills may not be historically accurate but are lots of fun. Lake has clearly studied Japanese history and mythology, and he offers a tangible appreciation of the culture. The cliff-hanger ending will leave readers clamoring for a sequel. Grades 7-11. --Debbie Carton
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