Title: The Way of the Warrior (Young Samurai #1)
Author: Chris Bradford
Genre: Young Adult, Middle-grade, Adventure
Publication: August 7th 2008, Puffin Books
Pages: 332 pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Exclusive Books for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review!
Jack Fletcher is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan, his beloved father and the crew lie slaughtered by ninja pirates.Rescued by a legendary master swordsman and brought under his wing, Jack begins the grueling physical and psychological training needed to become a samurai. Life at Samurai school is fraught with difficulty for Jack who is bullied and treated as an outcast. With his friend the remarkable, beautiful Akiko at his side and all the courage he can muster, Jack has to prove himself. Will he be able to face deadly rivals and challenges that will test him to his very limits?
The Young Samurai series is a series I don't think I would've picked up before, let alone read if I hadn't been sent. My interest was piqued, though, and I do quite like ninja books, so I decided to give it a go and I was pleasantly surprised!
The Way of the Warrior is about Jack Fletcher, a twelve year old boy from the seventeenth century who is sailing the seas with his father, in hopes of reaching the Japans. When everything seems to finally go according to plan, they are shipwrecked off the coast of Japan and then Jack's father and crew mates are horrifically slaughtered by Ninja pirates. But luckily, Jack survives and is then rescued. He is then adopted by one of the best Samurai in Japan, and so begins his life at the the the samurai training school, where he will try and prove to the Japanese that he is not a worthless foreigner, but he can be a samurai just as good as them.
I really enjoyed reading The Way of the Warrior, it exceeded my expectations and I would never have expected to read such a brilliant story.
The one thing that stood out for me was the writing. You wouldn't have thought that a book as deadly as this one could posses such gentle, stunning words. Chris Bradford is an amazing writer. The descriptions he paints transfixes you. You can see what he is describing as well as if it were in front of you. The synonyms and metaphors he used were outstanding, and I think everyone should read this book just to experience the magical writing. Although the writing was phenomenal, the amounts of description used could get slightly tedious occasionally, but you would shortly regain interest again.
The plot was enjoyable, and for the most part completely entertaining, but unfortunately there were some parts in the book that had me bored and disinterested and I'm hoping that the second book will be able to hold my attention the whole way through.
I love that this book is set in Japan. I love reading books based in other countries as I've always wanted to travel around the world and experience the diversity of different cultures. Whilst reading The Way of the Warrior, you are given an insight on how the Japanese live. You see how to behave in front of respected figures if you were to live/visit there, as well as respecting those around you. I loved learning about the samurai and the ninjas, as that has been an aspect that has fascinated me in the past. Whilst reading The Way of the Warrior, I practically experienced living the Japanese culture, I feel as if I were there, not simply as a by-stander but as a participant in their activities.
There was one thing that infuriated me at times and that was the Japanese words that were scattered on every page. I didn't know there was a glossary at the back until I had finished the book and I wished that I had known that as it would've made the reading experience even more pleasurable.
The characters were third-dimensional, and although I had a good idea of who all the characters were, I did feel at times that we weren't always given an insight into the secondary characters.
Jack was a great main character that stood strong throughout the book. Even though he had suffered treacherous hardships, and been treated like an outcast, he still continued to prove his worth to the others and treated them with respect and kindness. Most of the time.
Akiko was a fantastic friend to Jack and I absolutely loved reading about her! She's such a sweet person, who is also a fantastic archer, and I would love it if the author would write a book where she is the narrator. She reminds me of a Japanese Katniss. Yamato I couldn't stand at first, and when we found out that he was quite a traitor, I detested him. But he proved his worth and regained my trust. He did a honourable thing that was extremely courageous of him and I liked him much more after that!
The Way of the Warrior is start to an action-packed series. A story that will intrigue you with Japanese samurai and the way another the culture lives there lives, be prepared to be whisked away to 1611 and experience what it's like to be a foreigner training in a samurai school. An adventurous, action-packed novel that will have you eagerly wanting more.
I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!
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