Warrior Born

Book 1 of the Katana Series

Fiction - Fantasy - General
226 Pages
Reviewed on 03/09/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Deepak Menon for Readers' Favorite

Warrior Born (Book One of the Katana Series) by Kathrine Leannan is an extraordinary tale of medieval times, about the ancient legends of the Japanese gods in the celestial Kingdom of the Samurai and their interaction with humans on Earth. The tale starts with Imperial Samurai Leader Yokami Sukani, and his wife Tomoe Gazen, sorrowfully looking down at Earth since Tomoe is barren, and the only hope for a girl child to train as the next Daughter of the Sword is waning. Suddenly Yokami is faced with mutiny from Bishamon, the Japanese god of war, returning with his celestial sword painted red with the blood of humans, in violation of the code of the Samurai. Yokami angrily draws his sword, the God Killer Katana, and disarms Bishamon, rendering him powerless. To prevent Bishamon from ever repeating his crimes, Yokami departs for Earth to hide Bishamon's Katana for all eternity. He materialises in remote Scotland.

Yokami meets the Celtic goddess Epona, who leads him to a Scottish family where a 'Warrior Born' daughter of the Highlands is to be born, who will also become Yokami's Daughter of the Sword. The vengeful Bishamon follows! Thereafter the book is a riveting sequence of amazing action, taking the reader to realms existing within realms, bringing alive the unknown truths behind the Scottish and Japanese legends of gods and their influence on the course of history. Right from a great cover, this gripping tale has been written in a flawless and unique style, fluidly weaving the past into the present. Events flow across a broad canvas, and human frailties as well as emotions are woven into the stories, often leaving the reader open-mouthed with wonder. As an author myself, I feel that Kathrine Leannan deserves the highest accolades for this book. 5 stars!

K.C. Finn

Warrior Born is a fantasy novel by Kathrine Leannan and is the first novel in the Katana Series. Blending the ancient cultural legends of the Samurai gods and the mysticism of Scottish heritage, this character-driven tale takes place in present day Australia. We follow heroine Connor MacDonald, the unknowing recipient of the sword of Bishamon, god of war, and the first-born daughter sent to bring hope in the Highlands of centuries past. When Connor reaches the age that she can first bear Bishamon’s katana, the vicious god begins his onslaught to reclaim his sword, by any means necessary. Gods and mortals collide with Connor’s own quest for love, success and normality in the human world, and it quickly becomes clear that her double destiny is truly inescapable.

For readers that love no-holds-barred action and fantasy with gritty, battle-worn realism, Warrior Born will prove a satisfying read. Personally, I did find the graphic sex, violence and language to be somewhat gratuitous and unnecessary against what was already an interesting and engaging plot, but I can appreciate that fans of today’s overly-explicit fantasy series, such as Game of Thrones, will relish the extra graphic detail that Kathrine Leannan adds to her work. The tale was extremely well written and the plot moved at a catchy pace. I found the mixing of cultures, dialects and characters' viewpoints to be enriching, and I can safely say that I’ve never read a fantasy book like this before. Readers looking for a novel that’s truly original need look no further than Warrior Born.

Jamie Michele

In Kathrine Leannan's Warrior Born, we are first introduced to Yokami Sukani, Imperial Leader of the celestial Samurai Warriors. Yokami is in the Scottish Highlands to hide the destructive Sword of War safely in the past. While there he is met by Epona, the Scottish goddess of horses, dogs, healing springs, and crops. Their paths are crossed by Marie MacDonald, and Yokami is forced to relay a prophesy to Epona. A deal is struck at the revelation that is mutually beneficial to both gods: Marie MacDonald and her families' lives are spared. In exchange, Epona will keep the Blade hidden. Additionally, the daughter of Marie and Angus will be both a child of the Friesian Horsemen and the next Daughter of the Sword. Transported to modern day Australia, Connor MacDonald is born and gifted with the Sight. Years later after a violent crime is committed against Connor, she is trained by Yokami in the skill of the Katana — the sword —and earns her place among both the Samurai and Highland masters. She lives life as a normal girl, getting tattooed, becoming a skilled equestrian, and marrying the love of her life, Craig. Through all this, lurking in the shadows and plaguing her life with heartache is Bishamon, who is relentless in his search for the Sword.

Kathrine Leannan's Warrior Born is an adventure that spans past and present, bringing together the worlds of earth and heaven. The characters are well developed, diverse, and skillfully depicted. Scotland, the Imperial Kingdom, and modern day Australia are so well rendered, it is easy for a reader to find themselves there, engrossed in the story. The story itself is unique and interesting, wonderfully inventive in the combining of two cultures completely alien to each other. However, there were multiple instances where words were used where they simply did not belong. It strained the flow and felt like a thesaurus had been overly and incorrectly used. This aside, Kathrine Leannan's Warrior Born is a spectacular story, full of adventure and fully encompassing the human experience — even through a daughter born of the Gods.