Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Samurai Awakening: (Samurai Awakening Book 1)” as Want to Read:
Samurai Awakening: (Samurai Awakening Book 1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Samurai Awakening: (Samurai Awakening #1)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  80 Ratings  ·  29 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
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 320 pages
Published October 10th 2012 by Tuttle Publishing
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Samurai Awakening, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Samurai Awakening

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 30, 2012 Katy rated it it was ok
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 i
Kat Heckenbach
Dec 06, 2012 Kat Heckenbach rated it liked it
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
Eustacia Tan
Aug 19, 2012 Eustacia Tan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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,
Aug 28, 2012 David rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 10, 2012 Liviania rated it really liked it
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.

Aug 22, 2012 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, mythology
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
Jun 19, 2012 Suzanne rated it really liked it
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.
Tammy Huynh
Jan 18, 2013 Tammy Huynh rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 10, 2012 Lyuba rated it did not like it
Shelves: net-galley, arc
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
Apr 06, 2013 Phil rated it really liked it
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
KidsFiction Teton County Library
Chris’s Rating: 3.5 Stars

David (an exchange student to Japan) struggles both to understand the language and culture of the country he is visiting. Then one day his host family invite him to a special ceremony to bless a sword. When no one except David is able to see an approaching golden tiger, the young American bravely throws himself at the beast to save one of the family members. The next thing he knows he wakes up from unconsciousness understanding Japanese and learns t
Ornella (Nyx)
Jul 30, 2012 Ornella (Nyx) rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, stand-alone
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
Benjamin Martin
Apr 19, 2012 Benjamin Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  (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
Mar 31, 2014 Dk rated it really liked it
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
Feb 25, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it
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
Nathan Duong
Feb 19, 2015 Nathan Duong rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the best books to read if you are looking to relate to yourself and what decisions you would make in the situations in which the main character, David, encounters. This story also takes the reader into great connections with David and makes them feel as though they are good friends with David who went through a great bonding experience with him. It also gives us the satisfaction of a new adventure in which we can feel as though we a the heroes who saved the mysterious yet tru ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Katherine rated it really liked it
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!
Apr 08, 2013 Amelia rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
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.
Apr 19, 2014 Maggie rated it liked it
I think middle school readers are going to enjoy this book. It has action, mystery and some friendships that will appeal to many. Fight scenes and the appearance of a god, evil spirits and ghosts will satisfy the reader looking for a scary read.
May 16, 2012 Thomas marked it as to-read
Great book with a strong plot..... my boys also enjoyed reading it!
Lexie Gilbert
Aug 19, 2012 Lexie Gilbert rated it it was amazing
I think most boys will love this but girls.. not so much.
Dec 30, 2014 Aelvana rated it liked it
When David decided to be an exchange student in Japan, he hadn't realized what it would mean to live in a culture so different from his home in Arizona. Even without the language barrier, he's having trouble not embarrassing himself by violating social norms he had no idea existed. But when he attends a secret temple ceremony and ends up possessed by a kami, life gets a whole lot weirder. Now tasked with the mission to become a samurai, David needs to master his new power, before evil steals awa ...more
Aug 18, 2013 Kasandra rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
Aug 10, 2012 Bookworm1858 rated it liked it

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
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
Feliza Casano

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)
Feb 19, 2013 Cathy (Ms. Sweeney) rated it liked it
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
Rahel rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2014
Ana rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2016
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Homestays in Japan. What are your thoughts? 1 4 Feb 25, 2013 05:14AM  
Thanks for adding Samurai Awakening! 1 3 Sep 04, 2012 06:29AM  
  • Tiger Lily
  • Jet Black and the Ninja Wind
  • Year of the Demon (Fated Blades, #2)
  • Kansai Cool: A Journey into the Cultural Heartland of Japan
  • Rise (Paper Gods #2.5)
  • A Darkly Beating Heart
  • Simon and Hiroko
  • Now and Zen
  • Tokyo Hearts
  • Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy
  •  Death of a Kleptomaniac
  • Ichiro
  • Cage of Eden 9
  • The Betrayal of the Living (Blood Ninja, #3)
  • When the Cherry Blossoms Fall: My Life as an English Teacher in Japan
  • Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja (Moonshadow, #1)
  • Japan Tuttle Travel Pack: Your Guide to Japan's Best Sights for Every Budget
  • Sumo
Benjamin Martin was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He studied Japanese Language, Culture, and History at the University of Arizona before joining the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme in 2008. He taught English on small islands in Okinawa for five years before starting work with the Okinawa Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Demonstration Facility. His manuscript was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Amazon ...more
More about Benjamin Martin...

Other Books in the Series

Samurai Awakening (2 books)
  • Revenge of the Akuma Clan: (Samurai Awakening Book 2)

Share This Book