Comment: I know these type of books. They're popular,catch your eye, and sound like an action movie. They drag in every trick of entertainment known to man and stick it into the plot thinking enough mass-appeal will turn a plethora of gimmicks into something substantial. Unfortunately, it does not.
Samurai Girl is one of those series. A none-too flawed premise taken and squandered in a presentation that reeks of trying too hard. Heaven is pleasant enough girl, save for a few unforgivable things the author does to glorify her image. You know the story of the pushy talent agent forcing thier clients to do things against thier will for publicity? That's like what they've done to Heaven. They have her trying to fill the role of waif, tough-girl, leader, follower, good friend, and trash-talker all in one.
Another thing... why the heck is her name Heaven? She's japanese, right? Why not keep it whatever Heaven is in japanese? Or does the author not want to risk having potential english-only readers turn it away because it's too ethnic? Heaven is way too cool of a name- what happened to trying to identify with characters as normal?
Mostly, it's not so terrible-THe biggest, biggest problem is the books tries to be something it's not. In other words, this attempt to put an action anime in print failed horrificly. You just can't translate the cool visual moments of a samurai story into words this easily, especially not if you're just trying to write a book for teens who are into this samurai/ninja craze. Meanwhile, I'm hoping people won't think the "training" Heaven does under Hiro is an accurate representation.
The best and probably only reason to read the Samurai girl series- something embaressingly obvious in being "cool enough for today's youth"-is for the nice pictures.
Summary: Interesting Addition to the Samurai Girl Series
Comment: Heaven Kogo was a mere six months old when she was dropped from the sky, being noted as the only survivor in a deadly Japanese plane crash. She was named Heaven by the newspapers, to signify that she had fallen from the Gods. Later she is adopted by a wealthy family in Tokyo, where she is protected and pampered. Now, at the age of nineteen, she's realizing that all of her life things have been a sham, and she's not as lucky as she originally thought she was.
In SAMURAI GIRL: THE BOOK OF THE SHADOW, Heaven is training to stay alive, and defend herself against all evil. A few weeks ago, the people she trusted were her friends, now she fear's them. And the people who are helping her now, who have gained her trust, are now being placed in grave danger. Heaven is a good samurai, and good samurai's are able to make themselves invisible. Or so she hears. She's never actually been invisible, although she wants to become invisible to everyone around her, everyone except one.
I have yet to read the first SAMURAI GIRL book, but even so, I was able to understand, and enjoy the story told in SAMURAI GIRL: THE BOOK OF THE SHADOW. Heaven is an enjoyable character, whom reminds me greatly of the character of Gaia Moore of the FEARLESS series written by Francine Pascal. Carrie Asai has written an interesting, and complex story that girls of all ages will find captivating. The illustrations by Renato Alarcao are also a nice touch, that add immensely to the story, as there are so few YA books that offer them. A must have book for all. Especially if you're looking for a girl-empowering read.
Summary: Samurai Girl is gearing up to be an awesome series
Comment: I loved the first book, and just today I finished reading the second. The characters, storyline, and feelings as written by the author are terrific! It has romance, pop culture, and lots of (butt) kicking! It's just a great read. If you're interested in love, martial arts, or Japanese culture, this is a terrific book~ Even if you're not, give it a read, you'll love it~
Summary: samurai girl book 2
Comment: This second book in the continuing series of Samurai Girl is as good as the first book. Here is the back of it first:
I am a new person-training to stay alive. The people I trusted, I now fear. The people I trust now, I am placing in danger.
I'm told a good samurai can make herself invisible. And I want to be invisible right now...to every person except one.
The Book of the Shadow continues to follow Heaven's growth as a person. After another attack, she finally makes the decision to move out on her own. Finding a job for the first time(and then having to quit it right away), Heaven lives with her new found friend from the last book, Cheryl. More information about her adopted family, the Kogos, and the Yukemuras comes about. While still trying to figure out Heaven's old life, her new one becomes even more complex. Now, Hiro and Karen are dating. Teddy's attitude and actions towards Heaven are not only genuine, but are confusing Heaven even more.
I really enjoy this series so far and I am looking foward to the future books. It is not only a funny look at how people are, Samurai Girl teaches much about how Heaven finds herself when her life is turned upside down. I can really relate to this book in the sense that my life has also been very sheltered and pampered. Although not to Heaven's extreme, Carrie Asai shows a part of the Asian society that many people must live. In each book, you can see the struggle one must go through. Even though this is an adventure book, the characters are very human. How greed, power, and loyal intertwines. That no one is really a superhero and everyone has flaws. Every character has their reason for how they live, and those reasons are not necesarily wrong. Just different. I can go on and on about the different analysis of each character and theme, but I'll leave that up to the reader. It isn't a book for everyone, but it is very entertaining. The deeper meanings in this book (as in every single book in existance, since we all know that books have those deep hidden meanings...er...sort of) are up to the individual readers to decided. I just like it. If only the publisher would hurry up.
Summary: Keep 'em coming, Ms Asai!
Comment: I wrote a review for #1 of this series, and just mostly want to confirm that it's still good. Fun story line and illustrations! Can't wait for further volumes.