KidsFiction Teton County Library's Reviews > Samurai Awakening:

Samurai Awakening by Benjamin    Martin
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's review
Aug 12, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: boys, fantasy, monsters, multicultural
Read in August, 2014

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 that his body has been joined by the off-shoot of a Japanese God/elemental…thing. Even though his language barriers have been removed, he still struggles to grasp the culture differences, battles the being within him for control of his actions and is tasked with keeping his situation secret (told he is to become a Jitsugen Samurai – a protector against evil in Japan’s time of need) lest he be destroyed by Japanese ghosts or monsters before he is strong enough to contend with them…and fight them he must, not only to save himself, but those he is closest to.
David is a likable enough character, and despite the power he gains (which saved his life) I can’t help but cringe at the idea of being constantly possessed by a foreign creature with appetites and a personality so different—there is definitely a price for power. The struggles he goes through, even at his strongest moments don’t turn him into one of the overpowered characters too common in literature for youth, although sometimes he gets…lucky…which is good for the continuation of the story. The book is possibly too long (or I was just too tired) and it was not always easy for me to keep the names straight (likely because they were not names I am accustomed to). Overall I didn’t enjoy the drama created between David, Kou (the being possessing/joined with him) and Natsuki; but it added to the conflict and was a fundamental part of the story. A book written primarily for teenage boys (possibly girls) with an interest in Japan, Samurai and magical elements.
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08/12/2014 marked as: read

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