Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com
In SISTERS OF THE SWORD, twin sisters Hana and Kimi were wrenched violently out of the world they knew when their uncle, Hidehira, brutally slaughtered their father and older brothers in order to usurp their father's claim as samurai lord.
Hana and Kimi escaped, as did their mother and their young brother, but the four became separated. For Hana and Kimi, the only hope of survival is to disguise themselves as young boys and seek safety in the martial arts training school, or dojo, of the insightful Master Goku.
They befriend fellow student Tatsuya, who, along with Master Goku, is the only one to know their secret. Things are going well, until Hidehira's son attacks and "accidentally" kills Master Goku in a competition, leaving Hana and Kimi without their greatest ally.
This sequel to SISTERS OF THE SWORD picks up shortly after the previous volume leaves off, plunging sisters Hana and Kimi, as well as Tatsuya, straight into action as they fight to protect their identity from their uncle Hidehira while simultaneously trying to follow a series of clues leading to Hana and Kimi's mother. Along the way, they will be forced to prove their strength, both of body and mind, in order to outfight and outwit Hidehira's forces.
Since Hana and Kimi are back on the run, there's a lot more movement, and arguably a lot more action, in this book. But the characters are still the heart of the story, and they are all remarkably well-drawn. I especially enjoyed the subtle differences that emerged between the twin sisters, and the development of their friendship with Tatsuya.
The path of riddles they follow in order to find their mother is intricately crafted and had me second-guessing myself every other page. The ending is once again somewhat inconclusive, leaving room for the next book in the series, but this was frustrating only because I don't want to wait for the next book to find out what happens!
If you liked SISTERS OF THE SWORD, then CHASING THE SECRET is a must-read.