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Reviewed by Benjamin Ookami for Readers' Favorite
In David Kudler's Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Seasons of the Sword #1), which is set in Japan in the late 1500s, three orphan children and a girl who learns that her mother has sold her to a woman that she barely knows, are being transported to a school (the Full Moon) that teaches young girls to become "kunoichi". Risuko (Squirrel) has no idea what a kunoichi is. While still not even an initiate at the Full Moon, Risuko learns that the woman who took her away from her home and who runs the school wants her to become something that goes against all of her father's wishes. Meanwhile, a fox-spirit is lurking about, looking for something and getting more dangerous when it can't seem to find whatever it is looking for.
As a protagonist, I absolutely loved Risuko, whose real name is Kano Murasaki. She has a knack for climbing anything, apparently no matter how high it is, without any amount of fear. Lady Chiyonne, who had shown up in Risuko's life one day to inform her that she has been sold, plays her role well as the heartless and highly respected woman who runs the Full Moon. Lieutenant Masugu of the Takeda army is there in the heat of battle when he needs to be, and is a major crush of not just Risuko, but of a white-haired girl named Fuyudori. The true identity of the fox-spirit is something that readers will find themselves scratching their heads about. I simply cannot get this book out of my mind. I have to read that sequel.