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(Katana #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,171 ratings  ·  196 reviews
Skater girl or supernatural samurai? Rileigh Martin wants to believe that adrenaline gave her the strength to fend off three muggers in the mall parking lot. But adrenaline doesn't explain the voice in her head giving her battle tips and warnings.

While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instr
Paperback, 375 pages
Published March 8th 2012 by Flux (first published March 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  1,171 ratings  ·  196 reviews

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usagi ☆ミ
DNF as of page 66. I cannot in good conscience as someone with a BA in the history, language, and culture of Japan recommend this as even a bit of light reading. There were so many bits of this that infuriated me (poor character development, a shoddy main arc that needed at least two more drafts to smooth out, flimsy banter, and a gay stereotypical male best friend who felt as if he were thrown in there for the sake of diversity), that it just made me want to throw Mr. Nook across the room in a ...more
Dec 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
It’s not unusual for a book to promise more than it can deliver. One can seldom blame the book itself for that, since so much time and effort from the publishers goes into making said book as marketable as possible. The temptation of a supernatural mash-up with Asian culture was one with immeasurable potential, as well as one that could easily slip into misguided cultural appropriation. On the bright side, such awkwardness is for the most part avoided. Unfortunately, this book is also just not v ...more
Wendy Darling
2.5 stars An interesting premise and intriguing beginning eventually became bogged down by a stereotypical story, a lack of character development, and a story that wasn't really developed to its full potential.

The romance was a major component of this story, and for me, it just wasn't that compelling. Even though the flashbacks to the past life were overall well-written, it was in sharp contrast to what was going on in present day that it was hard to make the connection to the teenagers in the
When I first read the summery I knew I had to read the book and not I feel satisfied with my decision and I would say this book has really some action, a kick butt heroine and a plot that I can compare with Kill Bill.


Rileigh Martin lived a normal life until she fend off three mugger with courage and skills she never thought she had, also instructed by a strange voice in her mind. She wanted to believe hard that all her actions were caused by adrenaline. But Adrenaline was not the excuse of her m
Jun 06, 2011 marked it as to-read
I know I'm such a dork, but a book about a girl samurai? That should be an awesome read.
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of The Guardian Legacy series
Originally posted at A Bookalicious Story.

*4.5 stars*
It was amazing! I think I have finally found the perfect novel with a Japanese martial arts theme. This book is phenomenal! I loved the flashbacks to 15th century Japan, I loved the undying love of the two samurais from the past, and I loved how that loved stayed true and un-cliche even till modern age. Wow.

My Summary

Rileigh Martin is a skater chick with a gay best friend, Quentin. They were shopping for a gift for the party they were abo
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Rose by: NetGalley, Flux Books
"Katana" has perhaps a very familiar premise to many stories centering around a contemporary teen embracing their roots as a pre-destined warrior/fighter. Unfortunately, the familiarity in its troupes are perhaps a bit too much, at least in my overall reaction to Cole Gibsen's work. I don't doubt that there are some who would enjoy this story, particularly in the target age group this book is aimed for, but for me, the biggest issues were never being able to connect to the characters and having ...more
Antony John
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In the interests of openness: Cole Gibsen is a friend of mine. But . . .

She did not ask me to read KATANA, or to review or blurb it. However, I asked her editor for a copy, and will definitely blurb it (if they'll let me) because I think this book rocks. The "Kill Bill" and "Buffy" comparisons are spot on, but I'd also add "Hold Me Closer, Nercromancer" by Lish McBride as an even closer spiritual companion. As in HMC,N, the main character, Rileigh, has no idea what's about to hit her, but both a
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
After Rileigh Martin manages to single-handedly fight off three attackers in a parking lot one sultry summer night between her junior and senior years of high school, her life takes a dramatic turn. A handsome boy named Kim starts trying to convince her that she bears the soul of his long-ago samurai girlfriend. The doctor who treated her takes an interest in her mother, but raises Rileigh's hackles. And an enemy begins to stalk her. Who can she believe, or trust? Anyone? Or maybe no one.
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it

When I picked up "Katana" by Cole Gibsen I really had no expectations and didn't know what to expect. The flow of the writing and story really just caught me. This book was stuffed full of action like you just step into the middle of a Kill Bill scene. Throw in a young woman samurai reincarnated into a young teen of today and a dash of romance and you have a kick-ass story.

Rileigh Martin is a skater girl living day to day. Until one day she fends off three muggers in the mall parking lot witho
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
More of my reviews can be found at Flipping Through the Pages!

Katana has been on my to-read list for a long time and I think it's easy to say that this was one of those books that I was disappointed in, but still thoroughly enjoyed. Whilst there was SO much potential for this to be a fantastic read; reincarnation, samurais, fighting, a little romance... The delivery was unsuccessful.

As a person who loves the idea of reincarnation, having the same soul and encountering the same souls in every li
S.J. Abbo
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Once upon a time, they were samurai warrior couple, who give they live for they master.


Can they now, after more than 500 years later, (reincarnated) stay alive long enuff to remember they are souls mates, and to remember who betrayed them the first time around?



Read and find out!

Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it
The story between Senshi and Yoshido was absolutely beautiful. The story between Rileigh and Kim? Not so much...

When I saw the cover and the summary, I thought, "This book is going to be so cool." Unfortunately, there wasn't as much action as I thought there was going to be. Just a lot of drama as Rileigh fights so hard against everything.

I think Rileigh was the reason why I didn't like this book as much as I wanted to. She had potential to be such a great character, but she ended up being a hug
Ave Binks
This was such a fun read!!

I'd say that the last line of the summary, "Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her," accurately describes most of this book. Don't get me wrong there was so much going on that when I was done with it I was so disappointed because I wanted to read MORE! However, Rileigh does spend way too much time in denial about the whole reincarnation thing despite overwhelming evidence. It tends to get a bit annoying; I m
Rainiekow ❤
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: light-read

Finally a book that doesn't leave me wanting to kill the heroine. Finally a novel where the heroine does not put the plot on hold to go on and on about how good looking the hero is. FINALLY JUST FINALLY A HERO THAT DOES NOT SHOW HIS LOVE BY BEING A COMPLETE AN UTTER ASS HOLE. OH FINALLY A HEROINE WHO DOES NOT WALK AROUND WANTING A DAMN PITTY PARTY BECAUSE SHE BEEN THROUGH SOME THINGS.

This was such a breath of fresh air.

Thank you Cole Gibson.

 photo tear_zpscabe6cc5.gif

Light, funny, good dialogue, wonderful characters,
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-review
I wasn't sure what to expect from this when I first started reading. And was even more apprehensive because the author is a fellow Apocalypsie and the last thing I wanted was to read their book and not like it. But that was not the case here. From start to finish, I was never bored. Plenty of action and building romance to keep the book going.

Katana was a long book. It did take me quite a while to get through. And the biggest issue I found was that I didn't really get a sense of urgency out of i
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it

Guys, I have been dying for Katana by Cole Gibsen ever since I read the “Buffy meets Kill Bill” comparison. And while I have never seen Kill Bill (*ducks and runs*), Katana was all kinds of awesome. It did take me a little while to get into, but once I was hooked, I was hooked!

For one thing, something crazy is happening to the main character, Rileigh, and she doesn’t just lay down and accept it when the mysterious boy tells her wha
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
What's not to like about Katana? A gorgeous, Japanese-inspired covered with a kick-ass chick dual-wielding katanas, an intriguing and action-packed blurb evoking the classic cult series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Kill Bill films. I was pretty much in love from the start.

While the story turned out to be much more Kill Bill than Buffy, there was still plenty to enjoy. Young Rileigh Martin hasn't had a normal life lately. She's been having strange dreams about feudal Japan, and finds herself
Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It had one of my favorite romance tropes - an enduring love that crosses over lifetimes - and a ton of action to keep things moving along. I couldn't put it down.

Full review soon at
Ms. Castellano
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
It all started with a quest for a toaster at the mall. Rileigh, a normal teenage girl, and her best friend, Quentin, are attacked in the parking lot, and Rileigh somehow fights off all three men. While at the hospital, she meets Kim, a hot Asian martial arts instructor, who insists she’s the reincarnation of a Japanese Samurai from 500 years ago. She thinks she’s just going crazy. But as people start coming after her, and the voice in her head and the change, almost possession, in her body happe ...more
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So this book was billed as Kill Bill meets Buffy on NetGalley. Do I love Kill Bill? Yes self, I do! Do I love Buffy? Yes again Emma, I think Buffy kicks ass and I miss her! I have also had a fascination in ancient Japanese culture for as long as I can remember. So I think it is clear to say that I had high hopes for this book! I was pleased that it delivered everything I was expecting and more.

Rileigh is a normal skateboard loving girl until she and her best friend, Quentin, are attacked by mugg
Rileigh heads to the mall with her best friend Q when the pair leaves they witness a attempted mugging. The mugger flee's with but before he can run past Rileigh she trips him ending up with the purse and he runs off. It isn't till Rileigh and Q get to her car that they are confronted by the mugger and his two friends. They attempt to rough them up but Rileigh surprises them as well as herself by using ancient samurai skills. When she's caught on the security camera's beating up the bad guys, su ...more
Rebecca A
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well if Buffy ever was a samurai in a past life and could wield a katana? She'd totally be Rileigh Martin. Well maybe not totally, but definitely a lot like her.

I was gripped in the beginning of the book, not by the plot or the summary or anything particularly significant other than Rileigh's relationship with her best friend Quentin. It tugged at my heartstrings in so many ways with it's echoes of my relationship with my best friend who calls me "poodle" and my other one that calls me "Juno." S
Veronica Morfi
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rileigh never expected her life to turn from skate boarding and hunging with her friend Q to getting attack and beating guys twice her size every other night. But it did. Rileigh is the reincarnation of a great samurai and soon she finds out that there are more people like her, people that know her from her past life and people that want to bring her back fully aware of who she used to be. Beside these new "friends" there are also new enemies and Rileigh can trust no one, only the voice inside h ...more
Mia Searles (The Muses Circle)
Check out more of my reviews on my blog, The Muses Circle

Katana was an absolute pleasure to read. It was one of those books that didn't require a lot of hard thinking, yet has all the elements of a great YA novel. That is NOT an insult. Let me explain. Before Katana, I had read 2 books back to back that were quite demanding. Both had stories centered around new mythology and world building. While I absolutely love books that are unique and don't fit a particular mold, those qualities do not necc
Sarah {Literary Meanderings}

♥ Find my reviews on Blogger ~ Reviews by Bookish Sarah

- - -

On the outside, Rileigh Martin is just your average high school senior. She spends her days in school, working, skating, or with her best friend Quentin. On the inside, she is something entirely unexpected. She is the reincarnated soul of an ancient samurai warrior named “Senshi”. Does she know this? Of course not! Then the changes begin.

One night she and Quentin are leaving the mall after a late-evening shopping trip. While in the par
Logan Douglas
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Rileigh Martin just wants to have a normal summer. She wants to hang out with her best friend, Quentin, go skateboarding, and daydream about her crush, Whitley. However, things change one day when three men attack her in the mall parking lot. Suddenly, she hears a voice in her head giving her warnings and battle tips. She feels this weird sensation coming over her, and single-handedly takes out all three men, even though she’s never had a martial arts lesson in her life.
Rileigh desperately do
Leigh Collazo
Jan 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
More reviews at

WHAT I LIKED: Sigh. Katana really had so much going for it. Samurai warriors. Reincarnation. Kicking butt with a side of romance and eternal love. Sounds like my kind of paradise. I give Gibsen major props for an original premise; I love the idea of past lives melding together and making us who we are today. Ever since I saw the movie Dead Again with my baby-doll Kenneth Branagh back in the 90s, I've been in love with the idea that we are constantl
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Katana will immerse you fully and completely in the world of Rileigh Martin. I found myself thinking about the book even after I had stopped reading. Planning out the different scenarios that could possibly happen! If your looking for a easy and fun read that'll leave you guessing, then pick up a copy of Katana when it's available!

The cover describes the book perfectly! Even if that isn't how I pictured the swords, the cover still works! Plus I love how they incorperated certain thi
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
The reader will be drawn in after the first chapter thanks to the main character's, Rileigh's, humor and wit. Rileigh is just the average teenager who is concerned about her social appeal and status as well as what her friends are doing and how does she look in those cute shoes. Well...she *was* a normal teenager. When Rileigh and her best friend are attacked in a mall parking lot, she discovers that while some people have inner strength, she has an...inner samurai??? Kim, a shockingly good-look ...more
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Growing up, Cole Gibsen couldn't decide what she loved more--dogs or books. So she decided to devote her life to both! Dog trainer (wrangler) by day and author by night, she's the author of over ten books with more on the way.

She would love to connect with you on Twitter at

and Facebook at

Other books in the series

Katana (3 books)
  • Senshi (Katana, #2)
  • Shinobi (Katana, #3)

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