Samurai Awakening
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Samurai Awakening (Samurai Awakening #1)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  45 ratings  ·  22 reviews
David Matthews is having a rough time. Being a teenager is bad enough, but when he picks up and moves to Japan for a year, with barely any knowledge of the language or social behaviors of Japanese teenagers, things go from bad to worse.

Until one day, David attends a temple ceremony and finds himself possessed by a Japanese god.

Suddenly, he can understand and speak Japane...more
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 320 pages
Published October 10th 2012 by Tuttle Publishing
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I have a new found interest in Japanese culture, especially in the days of the samurais, and I was really excited about this one. However, I just don't think this book was for me, and now that I think about it, this book would probably be a reading assignment more suited for a world literature class.

Before I begin, I wanted to point out that I did read Martin's bio, which is not a usual habit for me, and I was very impressed by his extensive knowledge of the Japanese culture. And it showed in...more
Eustacia Tan
While I don't really care about how accurate books set in Western countries are, I have this almost fanatical need for any book set in Asia to be accurate. This normally means my books set in Asia are normally written by Asians (except Neil Humphrey, although he could practically be considered a Singaporean by now).

So it was with some trepidation that I started reading Samurai Awakening. I wondered, how would you make it plausible for an American to become a Samurai? But I needn't have worried,...more
This is a decent book filled with action and some astute observations about Japanese culture. Sure some of it may be a bit far fetched, but this is a bit of a fantasy book. Recommended for young people interested in Japan. Not recommended for evil spirits.

Also includes cute tiger humor.
Kat Heckenbach
I got this book through Amazon vine and my 12 year old son immediately snatched it from me. He loves all things Japanese, and dove into the book enthusiastically. When he was done, he told me he loved it. I asked what he'd rate it, and he said four stars. His reasons--all the detail about Japan. The fact that the main character is a samurai and can turn into a tiger. I asked what he thought of the characters and the story--he said he "liked" them.

So, I tried to read it. But I could not get past...more
I found the synopsis of SAMURAI AWAKENING somewhat troubling. Exchange student David Matthews gets possessed by a Japanese god, gets powers, and must rescue his host sister. That's definitely a set up with lots of room for cultural appropriation. But I wanted to give it a chance since Tuttle Publishing is the largest publisher of books on Asia. I didn't even know they published young adult novels. They're mostly a publisher of nonfiction. But Tuttle's reputation made me want to take a chance.

Great Book!!! I loved it. great writing that really grabs you and drags you in. I love the ins into the Japanese culture the author was able to capture. I've been to Japan tons of times and as a white male you don't learn anything like David does. the David and Kou relationship add some great humor at times. The bad guys were a little easy to figure out for me. But I tend to figure stuff out easier then my wife in movies (it annoys her when i ruin movies halfway through lol). I really can't thin...more
In his award-winning debut, Martin shows a talent for writing tense, well-choreographed action scenes and witty banter. I learned a lot about the various supernatural beings of Japan, such as Japanese werewolves (okami) and yurei. Attentive readers can also pick up information about the more mundane aspects of Japanese culture, especially school life. This book may contain the first ever literary reference in English to the dreaded "kancho." I'm looking forward to reading book #2 in the series.
My daughter, Jennifer L. Kelly, wrote a book for the YA audience as an independent author. I read the "look inside" for this book and was intrigued although I'm a little older than YA. I feel it's important to "give and receive" when publishing independently.
Get this book. It's a great story and Mr. Martin wastes no time diving right into the good stuff. You will also appreciate his knowledge and obvious research regarding Japanese teen life and Japanese mystical history. I enjoyed this book and...more
Tammy Huynh
An amazing book with a whole lot of action. I love Kou and his ability to take over David whenever trouble's near, though I found multiple spelling problems. But overall, I book I would recommend for people with the love of Japanese history and Samurais.
Ornella (Nyx)
3.5 Stars - Don't know if to round up or down yet.

I am still not quite sure how to rate this one. The book was good. The background story, the setting was all very well developed. The characters were all very nicely fleshed out as well, and they all grow throughout the book. My problem with this one was that I just couldn't connect with the MC. He was younger than I thought and the third person view always made it kind of awkward for me to be able to get into the book. It was more like I was bei...more
So, apart from a goofy title and tagline, Samurai Awakening is a lot of fun. David is an American living in Japan, with almost no knowledge about the language or customs. So he’s not having a great time of it. Due to a mishap at a ceremony, he ends up bonding with a god. This gives him new powers, including a complete understanding of Japanese. If this were just a nerd wish fulfillment fantasy, I would be completely ok with it, because who doesn’t love a little escapism now and again? However, b...more
Benjamin Martin
Apr 19, 2012 Benjamin Martin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
This is a review by the author.

I loved writing my debut novel. Creating the Jitsugen Samurai stories is a journey of discovery, and a reflection on my time living on small islands in Japan. I wrote a story I'd want to read, and I look forward to bringing you more of Japan.

Of course, Samurai Awakening is a fantasy. In addition to experiences in Japanese schools, I drew upon the Japanese myths and history set forth in The Kojiki: Records of Ancient Matters and asked myself, what if it had all bee...more
I have always loved watching martial arts movies as a kid growing up. I have read a few YA books about Americans in Japan or studying to be samurai's recently. I liked the storyline of the book, american teen as a exchange student in Japan. He doesn't set out to learn to be a samurai or learn martial arts, which disappointed me, it was more by accident. He does because of a ritual gone wrong and possessed/saved/brought back to life by a Japanese god existing within him. He instantly knows how to...more
It had a slow beginning, and the main character seemed a bit pathetic at first, but once the plot started unfolding, it just seemed to get better. It was a good story set in a Japanese setting that had a satisfying plot and somewhat of an ending. It was an enjoyable read nonetheless.
I got this book after winning the sequel in a First Read giveaway. At first, I wasn't sure whether I would understand the Japanese side of things but I kept reading. I'm so glad that I did because the storyline was really good. I can't wait to start the sequel!
May 18, 2012 Thomas marked it as to-read
Great book with a strong plot..... my boys also enjoyed reading it!
Lexie Gilbert
I think most boys will love this but girls.. not so much.

After reading Stormdancer, I was in the mood for other stories set in Japan, happily chancing upon this one while browsing. The title was definitely appealing although the cover doesn't do anything for me. Perhaps it will appeal to youngsters?

The first surprise for me was that this book was not narrated in first-person. This is especially surprising to me as the book continued and there were a lot of scenes where I think diving into David's head would have given me more insight into him as...more
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
I was given this book by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I give this book 2.5 stars.

Samurai Awakening by Benjamin Martin is about an American, David, who becomes a Japanese exchange student. The Masomoto family that he stays with is well versed in the ways of the Samurai, and one fateful day, by trying to save the family's grandfather and patriarch, he becomes part of the legend. The rest of the book deals with his learning to become part of the Japanese culture, and this new warrior...more
I love Japan and many aspects of its culture, so picking up this book I, while not expecting greatness, expected at least some enjoyment. Unfortunately I barely got any enjoyment at all, and instead got to read the longest 320 pages that just wouldn't end. I don't even know where to start... because I literally don't have anything nice to say (and no, I will not go by the good ol' rule of rather not saying anything in this case).

There was absolutely nothing interesting or unique about any of the...more
This was a fun simple read that I found engaging enough to read and enjoy. I had very little knowledge of Japanese folklore and this book does a nice job at explaining the mythology. I've really started to get into anime with several studio Ghibli films which are about spirits, mysticism, and even the battle of good vs evil. This book fits into this mindset of Japan where one can see there is so much research in the culture and history of Japan by author Martin appear in this book.

The book start...more

It's important to note that I gave this book 3 stars rather than 4 because I felt the poor editing of the copy I received detracted from my overall reading experience. HOWEVER, the copy I had for review was an ARC provided by Tuttle, the publisher, and the finalized form may in fact have the spelling, grammatical, and sentence structure errors edited out.
Cathy (Ms. Sweeney)
Set in contemporary Japan, based on Japanese culture, traditions, history and myths, see through the eyes of an American high school exchange student. An exciting modern day fantasy adventure with its roots in ancient Japan.
Jun 17, 2013 PWRL marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2013-new
Don marked it as to-read
Apr 07, 2014
Melissa Josef
Melissa Josef marked it as to-read
Apr 04, 2014
Chloe Welch
Chloe Welch marked it as to-read
Mar 31, 2014
Juliette marked it as to-read
Mar 30, 2014
Michael Healy
Michael Healy marked it as to-read
Mar 29, 2014
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Benjamin Martin was born in Phoenix, Arizona where he was first introduced to Japanese Culture when his family hosted a children's choir member from Japan. Later, he studied Japanese Language, Culture, and History at the University of Arizona. He joined the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme in 2008 and has been living and teaching in Okinawa ever since. His manuscript was a semi-finalist in th...more
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