Monday, June 6, 2016

Book Tour, Review, and Giveaway: "Risuko"


Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale
David Kudler
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Adventure
Release Date: June 15th 2016
Stillpoint Digital Press

Summary from Goodreads:

Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be 
a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.


Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan -- or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn't possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

Historical adventure fiction appropriate for young adult and middle-grade readers.

Buy Links:

Book Trailer

About the Author

David Kudler is a writer and editor living just north of the Golden Gate Bridge with his wife, actress, teacher, and author Maura Vaughn, their author-to-be daughters, and their apparently non-literary cats.

A published author, he is currently working on 
Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale, a young-adult historical adventure novel set in sixteenth century Japan.

He serves as publisher for 
Stillpoint Digital Press. Since 1999, he has overseen the publications program of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, for which he has edited three posthumous volumes of Campbell's previously unpublished work (Pathways to Bliss,Myths of Light and Sake & Satori) and managed the publication of over fifty print, ebook, print, audio, and video titles, including the third edition of the seminal The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Currently, David serves as vice-president of 
the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.

Author Links:


Risuko is just a poor girl from a forgotten town who loves to climb things – trees, cliffs, roofs, fortress walls so that she can look into the windows… Which could either get her into trouble or provide a useful resource in times of trouble. For instance, there are several lords tearing up eighteenth century Japan with their armies. Could little Risuko’s skill provide just the help needed to save the lives of her friends and comrades?

Risuko was sooo good! I completely enjoyed this story of the young girl with the nickname Risuko, or “squirrel.” The name fit her exactly from her personality and scrawniness to her penchant for climbing things. And yet, there is more going on with her than meets the eye. Her father’s past also plays a major role in the story as do her other talents.

The book description starts off with “Can one girl win a war?” This is a bit of a misrepresentation of the story. I have no doubt that this one girl can indeed win a war, but it didn’t happen in this book. She need to grow up a little and be trained before she can make a significant difference. Her victory at the end of the book is small and only concerns a few people.

Risuko is the story of a girl who was taken from her home into a bizarre school. There is always a mystery hanging over her head. Why does everyone know about her father? What has he done? What is this school for girls? What do the older girls do while the younger ones are not allowed in? Who is ransacking people’s offices and what are they trying to find? Each question is answered expertly in a fantastic plot.

I spent the entire book guessing Risuko’s age. It is never stated as far as I can tell. My guess is around 10-13. Funny how knowledge of something as small as that can change the whole dynamic of the story. I mean, is she 8? 12? 16? Any of those ages is somewhat possible but would put her skills and relationships in a different light.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to middle-grade and younger teen readers who love a good adventure story.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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  1. Thanks so much for the lovely review (and links)! I'm glad that you enjoyed Risuko — and I didn't state Risuko's age on purpose, but am curious: if you had to guess, what would say her age is?

    1. You are welcome for the review. I indeed enjoyed it. My guess of her age is around 11 or 12. Can I ask what your reasoning was for not revealing Risuko's age?