Title: Risuko (2016)
Author: David Kudler
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 230 pages
Release Date: June 15, 2016
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?
Let’s start with the negatives first, as there were quite some things that made Risuko not quite a five-star read for me. Now, I was super excited to read this book mainly because it’s set in Japan, which happens to be one of my favourite ever countries, cultures, and histories. Unfortunately, the result seems to be mixed: while the history and setting generally felt authentic, there was not enough background information or even exposition. Too many things were left up to the readers to imagine, so in some ways there seemed to be a lot of missing information.