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Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Seasons of the Sword #1)

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  391 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be
a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is K
Audiobook, Unabridged audiobook
Published August 15th 2017 by Stillpoint Digital Press (first published June 15th 2016)
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This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
David Thanks for the question, Renee!

There is no sex in this book. There is some background romance; it's not a major theme in Risuko, but will become…more
Thanks for the question, Renee!

There is no sex in this book. There is some background romance; it's not a major theme in Risuko, but will become somewhat more important in later volumes in the series. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
As most of my goodreads buddies know, I despise young adult as a genre. The characters are always stupid and all the angst is useless. Authors make their characters unable to communicate with each other, and that leads to the most absurd/uncalled-for situations. So why did I sign up on NetGalley to read Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale? Because Japan! And because I really liked the cover.

The official description:
Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees
Taylor Knight
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, diverse-books
3.5 stars
I really loved the concept of this book and the writing was really great as well. I do think this is more Middle Grade than Young Adult though. I wasn't really expecting MG so I was a little bit disappointed. I thought the first %10 was kind of confusing and just felt weird to me but it definitely got better. I loved the Japanese culture and history and even though I don't much about Japan, it felt like the author did a great deal of research and knew what he was talking about.
The one
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free ARC copy of this ebook from Netgalley, the Publisher, and the author in exchange for a honest review.

Risuko Murasaki loves to climb trees. When she is taken away from her family and sold to a noblewoman named Lady Chiyome who has chosen her to become a shrine maiden at her school The Full Moon, Risuko must quickly grow up and learn how to be a kunoichi while surviving in times of war. Want to read more? Check this book out for yourself and find out.

This book was a pretty good r
Lonna | FLYLēF
FLYLēF Book Reviews

Original Post: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale at FLYLēF (

IT WAS ODDLY nostalgic reading Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler. The vivid portrayal of the Japanese culture brought back many fond memories of my childhood, a time when I was much more rooted in my Asian heritage.

Kano Murasaki, nicknamed Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl with a gift for climbing. Her unique talent catches the eye of Lady Chiyome, Head Mistress of a remote school in Mount Fuji. Risuko soon find
Dani - Perspective of a Writer
Thank you Netgalley and Stillpoint Digital Press for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Risuko means squirrel and is a nickname for Kano Murasaki, a girl who loves to climb trees to escape the hardships her little sister and mother go through trying to survive without her father. Set in historical Japan, the land is torn apart by warring samurai lords trying to unite Japan under one flag. An old woman, Lady Chiyome, decided she wanted to play a part in forming Japan's future and s
Nek0 Neha (BiblioNyan)
Japanese literature, or literature with Japanese influences is one of my most favored types of genres to read. When I came across Risuko by David Kudler, which was described as a historical Japanese fiction novel with fantasy elements, I was immediately intrigued by it. I received this book about a month and a half ago. Since that period, I have made an attempt at starting it three times. Finally, when I began it for the fourth time, I forced myself to trudge through it and it took me almost thr ...more
Thanks to Netgalley and Stillpoint Digital Press for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book was delicious.
This may sound absolutely weird, I know.
But I don't find another word for it.

I loved the cover, I love foreign languages, I think it's no wonder that I loved this book.
Though, I have to admit, at first it was a bit difficult for me to distinguish all the characters because of their Japanese names and because of all the nicknames everyone had.
But after a while you get u
Nicay │The Nerdy side of a Queen


Review originally posted at The Nerdy side of a queen

Thank you Netgalley and Stillpoint Digital Press for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.


-Risuko-Proper name: Kano Murasaki
-Lady Mochizuki Chiyome
-Mieko and Kuniko-Lady Chiyome’s maid
-Hanichi Emi and Tasugu Toumi-Risuko’s friends.
-Little brothers-Servants of Lady Chiyome.

Rating: 3.5 stars

“A Kunoichi is married to her duty and to death.”

I have a lot of things to say about this story by David Kudler; there were things
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.9 Stars

Rusiko is a beautiful story set in sixteenth century Japan. Females are warriors and Japan is tearing itself apart all in the belief they are helping put the country back together.

Risuko is full of beautiful language, amazing settings and jam packed with cultural knowledge.

I loved the descriptions of the fighting dance, the smooth movements and grace, the prediction of moves and serenity. I felt I was there doing the moves with Risuko in the falling snow with the other woman.

The reason
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like this story. It has great characters, great history and the end surprised me. You should read it if you have the chance.
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5/5
(I received a free copy from the publisher, Stillpoint Digital Press, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
***Minor spoilers***

Kano Murasaki has loved climbing her whole life. So much so that she has been nicknamed Risuko by her family - Squirrel. One moment she's simply climbing a tree with her sister, and the next she's going off with Lady Chiyome, who tells her that her mother has sold her to Lady Chiyome's services. Risuko doesn't know what this entails, but she has
Jolly Per
Note: I received a digital copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.

If you've been my friend for a long time, you would know how I love Japan; food, culture, mangas, people, language—name it. So basically, the title of this novel caught my attention that's why I signed up for it.

Anyway, the story was about Risuko on her journey to be a kunoichi, an assassin. Her mother sold her for an unknown reason (view spoiler)
Dilsh Wijesinghe
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
"An Advanced Review Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review."

Such a lovely & amazing book!!! This one was the best book I read ever. Everyone could be a writer, But everyone can't be an author. A clever author. I think David Kudler is a good author. A clever author. I must admire author's writing style. It was very impressive. Because when I read the first paragraph of the "prologue - Serenity" positive feelings come through my mind.

And yeah, this bo
Sharon Mariampillai
I received a copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Actual Rating: 3.75

This was a great read. The story was interesting and fascinating. I thought that the story-telling was like that of an anime than a book. I enjoyed learning about Japan and its history. However, the story was not fast-paced and I thought that made the story a bit boring.

Risuko is an interesting character. Her name means "Squirrel" in Japanese because she loves to climb trees. I thought her character was stron
Rachel Stansel
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story about a young girl in Japan during a time of great turmoil. Known as as Squirrel because of her ability to climb, she is sold away from her mom and sister to Lady Chiyome. Risuko doesn't know why or where she is headed. Along with two other girls, she finds herself at a school of sorts where they work in the kitchen and at lessons. The food is better than anything they have seen. Risuko learns more about the goal of the school and how her father's story brought her to this plac ...more
ɑƨħŵɑɡ ♥Team Magnus Damora FOREVER♥
I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Stillpoint Digital Press and NetGalley for this opportunity.

I am really impressed by how my feelings changed from lack of interest to admiration for this book. The start was slow as always is with 'different' books. By different I mean not the usual mainstream/hyped up books. It's a literary work in its honest form. However, once I passed the 30% mark, I was starting to get invested in the story.

I like how uniqu
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is AMAZING! The plot is interesting, the characters are interesting, just EVERYTHING was great. I can't recommend this enough to friends, family and random people on the internet! All ready waiting for the sequel!!!
monica ♪


Title: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale
Series: Seasons of the Sword #1
Author: David Kudler
Release Date: June 15th 2016
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Cliffhanger: Not really
Writing Style: First Person, Female POV
HEA: (view spoiler)


One word to describe this book: unexpected.

When I saw this book on NetGalley, the title really captivated me. Although I didn't really read this kind of book, in fact I never read a book with this genre before, but I just knew
Tayler Steele
**Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a digital copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review!**

This book wasn't at all what I was expecting, which was actually kind of nice.

First, I have to say that if I was a middle grades student, I probably would have absolutely loved this novel and given it 5 stars. The writing is definitely geared more toward a younger audience, but at the same time, some of the themes are decidedly not child-like. That really would have appealed to
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough Love for a Lovable Novel

This review was originally posted on my blog Hounds & Habits.

Risuko by David Kudler is my first ARC and I absolutely loved the main character and story. Being an ARC, however, it needs a little tough love before it reaches its full potential.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.

The first thing anyone will notice about Risuko is the killer cover. I actually fell in love with the cover alone; this book barely needed a summary & hook to get me reading a
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
The story starts with our main character, Risuko, called that for her affinity for climbing (Risu means squirrel in Japanese), playing with her sister amongst the trees. Risuko also means ‘child of the law’, which is fitting for a child who is said to bring victory back to her disgraced family, of whom we learn more about as the story progresses. Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, but Risuko lives rurally and only knows of her own family troubles until her life takes an unexpec ...more
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Risuko!!! First things first: I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley.
The book came out june 15th and I really recommend this book.
Look at that another review. I'm on a roll today. Wohohoooo!!!!
Book summary:
Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single gi
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Risuko was quick-paced, fun to read and very interesting. I loved the setting. Japan is so interesting and so beautiful. The political talk and history was good. I liked how important and strong women were portrayed in the book. Maybe I would've liked a little more world-building or explanations for the surroundings, but I liked it nonetheless. The story was action packed and the second half of the book was my favorite! So much started to happen. The little mysteries surrounding the book were wh ...more
Source: This book is available as Read Now on Netgalley.
Cost: Free

Title: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale
Series: Seasons of the Sword #1
Author: David Kudler
Overall Rating: 3.7 stars

When I saw this book, this cover, on Netgalley as Read Now, I grabbed it almost immediately. In my head, I was picturing some kind of Japanese Mulan going on.

I love Japan, I love learning about Japan and it's culture, and this book is a really interesting read. Squirrel, or Risuko, is our main and she seems like a p
Steve Sarner
If you had told me that I would read and enjoy a YA novel set in 15th century Japan about a girl’s journey to both her first menstrual period and training to become (what I guessed to be) a samurai warrior, I would have said you’re crazy.

Turns out, I’m crazy about this story of not an apprentice samurai but, a “kunoichi” in training. Google it.

I love discovering not just new books but altogether new genres on Goodreads. Usually it’s via friend recommendations or the magical Goodreads recommend
Yasamin Seifaee
I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


I really liked this book! From the beginning to the end! The concept, the world, the writing style, everything!

But one thing was missing and it was the plot. And i guess that i why i gave this book 4 stars. I mean i was reading this book not knowing what we were seeking?!

The first half of the book's pace was slow but then it got better an

This book is available as Read Now on NetGalley.

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I just knew I had to pick it up! The synopsis is what won me over and I love the cover.

This book was an excellent introduction to the series, it was very entertaining. Risuko is sold from her family, not out of spite, but for Risuko’s own good. Along the way, Risuko learns about the politics in her country, and there are hints of the war to come.

Risuko focuses on the journey of the pr
The blurb seems to promise action-packed plot, yet there are little-to-no exciting scenes. However, that's not really a problem. This book works as the first installment, which spends time introducing characters and world building, and I have to admit, it did a great job.

Aside from exquisite cover, I actually love most of the characters, both M&F. Not only are they interesting, but they also fall into grey-area characters. Which means, they aren't thoroughly portrayed as Good nor Bad. It's p
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow I haven't sat down and read a whole book in a very long time! This book is very interesting for many reasons. I liked the synopsis and the cover is absolutely gorgeous!
Overall I give this a 3.6 stars.
I enjoyed the concept (though I do feel it has been done before)

The writing and storytelling felt like I was being treated like a child; I know this is middle grade so I can't complain but the book did not feel like it was for me. With other middle grade books anyone can read it, here i
Michelle Kidwell

A Kunoichi Tale

by David Kudler

Stillpoint Digital Press

Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles

Middle Grade, Teens & YA

Pub Date 15 Jun 2016

I was given a copy of Risuko through the publisher and their partnership with netgalley in exchange for my honest review:

Totomi Japan, 1570 AD

Everyone puts their hope in Risuko her family is in disgrace but all Risuko wants to do is climb trees.  Her family believes she can be a special female warrior and urge her to fight for
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David Kudler is a writer and editor living just north of the Golden Gate Bridge with his wife, actress, teacher, and author Maura Vaughn, their author-to-be daughters, and their apparently non-literary cats.

He recently published Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale, a young-adult historical adventure novel set in sixteenth century Japan, and is hard at work on the sequel, Bright Eyes.

Since 1999, he has overse
More about David Kudler

Other books in the series

Seasons of the Sword (3 books)
  • Schools for Gifted Youngsters Monthly Headmistresses' Dinner
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“The blossoms fall just once each winter, yet in our memories, they fall every day.” 13 likes
“I tell yeh, Bright-eyes. Men and women? A bloody mess. Every time.” 9 likes
More quotes…