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Chronin, Vol. 1: The Knife at Your Back

(Chronin #1)

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Samurai Jack meets Back to the Future in Alison Wilgus’s full-length debut Chronin Vol. 1, first in a duology that begins an action-packed time travel adventure.

2042, New York City: A day in the life of college student Mirai Yoshida means studying Japanese history, learning swordmanship, flirting with her TA, and preparing to go back in time to Japan in 1864.

But every
...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Tor Books (first published February 17th 2019)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  166 ratings  ·  38 reviews


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Chad
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, 2019-netgalley
This started out as a historical Japanese graphic novel that I was completely uninterested in. Then three-quarters of the way through the book, I heard a record scratch in my head as the story went in a direction completely out of left field. I think you're better off not knowing where the story is ultimately headed to fully enjoy it so I suggest not reading the blurb as it spoils everything. The black and white art seems a bit amateurish. To do black and white comics well, they need to be well ...more
Devann
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley

actual rating: 2.5

I think this might just be a case of a series having a really slow start, because it definitely got more interesting towards the end of the volume, but overall I just don't feel like there's enough information presented here to really make me want to read more. The layout is kind of manga style, with only a few panels on each page and everything in black and white. There are also several pages with absolutely no dial
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Valéria.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: knceledz2019, comics
I said to myself that premise is kind of interesting, I like time-travel stories, but as I started reading, I already knew this is not going to be okay. Art is just not nice at all, no, the proportions are weird and faces are.. I just, can't. I had no idea who is who, characters were plain, not funny, boring, not interesting, even Kristen Stewart has more facial expressions than all of the characters had in this together. This seemed to be like any other story a child in pre-school could write a ...more
Lea ♞ That_Bookdragon
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-received
1.5/5 stars

Arc received through Netgalley by the publisher. All opinions are my own


I think this one sadly just wasn't for me. I didn't really like the plot nor the drawing style. The pace of this graphic novel is slow, maybe too slow for me and the characters felt a little bit blank.
Etienne
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Disappointment of the year? Might be! What I thought would be an amazing fantasy/science-fiction story about samurai finally end up being a contemporary book about sexually diversity with a slight touch of science-fiction. Not what I was going in for. Maybe I was badly inform. I mostly goes in book that pick my curiosity not knowing too much to not get spoiled in any way but I should have background check this one a bit deeper. I won't continue and regret buying it... I should't forget to mentio ...more
Blue Milker
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chronin's story plays in a familiar sandbox: the time travel misadventure. The bulk of the story takes place during a dramatic turning point in Japanese history, and we follow a handful of characters, both contemporary and from the "future", as they navigate and (inevitably) affect that history.

Adding to that, the main viewpoint character for the book is a woman who goes disguised as a male samurai. Within the larger context of the story, this is presented as a mostly practical matte
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Lois Young
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The volume of this new series about the cautions surrounding time travel should not be missed by readers and fans of both graphic novels and manga. Alison Wilgus presents an excellent story in "Chronin: Volume 1: The Knife at Your Back." Anyone who enjoys reading about anything Japanese should read this book.

After the introduction, the story goes on to follow a samurai who doesn't behave like a samurai. Given the era and the circumstances, Minoru Yoshida manages to blend into Edo, Ja
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Danielle
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Time traveling to Edo Japan...that’s all I needed to hear to want to pick this up and I wasn’t disappointed. The sci fi is light, but sets the stage for an otherwise historically set story where two women travel through turbulent times in 1864 Japan, both with secrets and a need to get somewhere which brings them together and forms a tenuous friendship. But when does time travel ever go according to plan? Their journey isn’t action packed, but the story is well written and the characters realist ...more
Emily
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, so good! I loved the drawing style. I had a bit of difficulty keeping the Japanese history straight, and there were a lot of names (besides the main characters’ names) to keep track of, but the story was good and worth the effort. The characters are great, especially Hatsu, and I really liked the friendship that developed between Mirai and her. I can’t wait for September when the sequel comes out!
R Macklin
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
3.5 stars, rounded up. Loved the concept of this, and the character designs were fantastic. The action sequences were difficult to follow, but some of the art was stunning
Kristina Feeney
I have no idea where I heard about this book but I'm glad it showed up at the library with my name on it.

A fun and interesting time travel gone wrong story. Beautifully drawn. The backgrounds and scenery 😍
Tamara Evans
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A super quick graphic novel telling the story of two college grad students from 2045 who find themselves stuck on 1846 Japan. Mirai and Kuji were classmates as well as a couple who were chosen to participate in a pilot program which allow them to travel back on history. Initially, their experience was going well until a differing of opinions between Mirai and Kuji to break up. After their break up, Kuji returns to 1864 Japan and begins a relationship with tea mistress Hatsu while Mirai disguises ...more
Jordan Stivers
Note: This review is only for an excerpt of the novel which I received via NetGalley in exchange for the honest review below. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher Tor Books, and the author Alison Wilgus for the opportunity to do so.

Between my adoration of Japanese anime, non-Western historical fiction, and all things sci-fi, the premise of an action-packed time travel story with samurai (Yay!) had me from the get-go. Unfortunately things fizzled out fast and never recovered
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lauraღ
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Science fiction and historical Japan? Say! No! More!

This was a really well-paced, super engaging read; I devoured most of it during what could have been one of the dullest car rides of my life, and instead turned out to be a great day, because long after I got to where I was going I was thinking about Mirai. Time travelling babe of my HEART. She's pragmatic but brave but realistic but kind, and has got a GREAT jawline, so I'm pretty much in love. I adore time-travelling stories where
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Olivia
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Another case of immediately judging the book by it's cover (which could you blame me, fellow visualists), Alison Wilgus's "Chronin, Vol. 1: The Knife at You Back" was nothing to detest, but it did not blow me away either. Instead, I felt myself feeling rather approving of the first in the series, but not enough to immediately tell everyone about it.

If it was the illustrator's goal to make everyone monotone when it comes to appearance (and even gender) I appreciate it for the equality and cohesi
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Morgan Golias
In the year 2045 time travel has already been around for some time, only accessible to an elite group of scholars. Now, they have begun opening that up to students, allowing them to travel back in time to assist in their research.

Mirai and Kuji were selected to join a group that travel back to Japan in the 1800s, and their research goes smoothly until the locals begin to take notice. Now they are both stuck in a time that is not their own, and they have to try and make it back to their own time
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gray
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I definitely recommend reading this, but I'd also recommend doing what I didn't do on my first read—give it time. Despite the seemingly high-concept premise, Chronin doesn't rush itself; the story largely plays out in small-scale emotional moments. At times, the panels pull away to show a scenic vista or a depiction of daily life in the historical setting, and it's worth taking a moment to appreciate the way Wilgus carefully builds a world one can envision time-travel students from the future wa ...more
Jim
What just happened? You know I hate cliffhangers - and since this is a duology, I should have realized there was a major to be continued .

I’ll just have to wait until the next issue to find out what happens.

The Madison Mega Marathon Goodreads Group January 2019 was to choose a book by it’s cover…so I thought I might pick up this comic from Netgalley, because the cover looked really cool - old and new; ancient samurai in the digital age?

This was interesting, if a bit hard to follow. The art wasn’t bad
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Kelly C.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
There's potential, I'll give it that. However, I almost did not finish. Why?

(view spoiler) ...more
Sistermagpie
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I really liked how this time travel story--like the art--is essentially simple and straightforward. The implications of the events (messing with the space/time continuum!) are huge, but the story itself is nicely contained among the characters in the story, all of whom I really liked. I don't know a lot about Japanese history, so I appreciated how information was given to me in a way that felt organically sparse while still telling me what I needed to know.

Definitely on the edge of my seat for
...more
Elaine Nelson
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Maybe there's an extra layer that I might've gotten if I were knowledgeable about either manga or Japanese history, but a thoroughly enjoyable tale nonetheless. It unfolds in a really satisfying way, gradually revealing the connections between the characters, the way that time travel (yes, I enjoyed a time travel story!) plays out through the plot. Lots of emotional and plot tension, and of course lovely art, with expressive faces and delicate landscapes. Will definitely be getting book 2!
Kiri
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

This graphic novel didn't connect well with me. The art wasn't my style, the story was interesting in some parts but not others, I didn't connect with the characters at all, and the ending left off on a cliff hanger so abrupt that I am too put off to read the sequel.
Abigail Pankau
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A student who was part of a group time-traveling to the end of the Tokugawa period in Japan in order to study it, gets stuck in the past when something goes wrong. Now she must find a way back, while not knowing who to trust, and that includes fellow time-travelers.

An interesting story and GORGEOUS art. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story ends in Volume 2.
Sonya
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting story about ancient Japan. Makes me want to read up on Japanese history. Drawings were nice, but the buildings were a little too straight and perfect. Still a beautiful looking book, despite being in B&W. Characters were intriguing. Will have to get the second book to find out what happens.
Freya Marske
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you like Connie Willis's Oxford Time Travel series and want to see what happens when a similar conceit is applied to late nineteenth century Japan, in graphic novel form, with bonus crossdressing...THIS IS FOR YOU. I particularly adored the historical detail in the backgrounds, Wilgus's gift for conveying Face Journeys, and the thoroughly relatable protagonist.
Brave SirRobin
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've reached the last scene of this time travel graphic novel and right now I wish I could jump ahead to September 2019 to see how it all ends.
I imagine if I was familiar with Japanese Samurai history I would appreciate the significance of the plot complications a little more.
Camina
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good story and art.
Cara
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
a typical time travel style isekai; it isn't terrible, but there's better out there.
Sesana
May 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Feels kind of directionless. In a series that's only supposed to be two volumes, it's strange that the plot doesn't really start up in earnest until about 2/3 of the way through the first volume.
Will
Aug 31, 2019 added it
Fun historical fiction.
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Alison Wilgus is a Brooklyn-based writer for comics and animation, and co-author of the bestselling graphic novel "The Last Airbender: Zuko's Story."

Other books in the series

Chronin (2 books)
  • Chronin, Vol. 2: The Sword in Your Hand