blo Teens Read and Write: Blood Ninja

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blood Ninja

Blood Ninja
by Rick Lake
Pub: Dec 2009
369 Pages

In the course of a day, Taro's entire life changes: His father is murdered before his eyes, and Taro is taken by a mysterious ninja on a perilous journey toward safety. Someone wants Taro dead, but who--and why? With his best friends, Hiro, and their ninja guide, Shusaku, Taro gets caught in the crossfire of a bitter conflict between rival lords for control of imperial Japan. As Taro trains to become a ninja himself he's less and less sure that he wants to be one. But when his real identity is revealed, it become impossible for Taro to turn his back on his fate.

Young Taro is living the simple life of a fisherman with his best friend Hiro until he is assaulted by ninjas in his humble village.

Luckily he is saved by a mysterious ninja (hehehe) named Shusaku but before they are safe Taro is fatally wounded and must choose between death or becoming a myth - vampire.

Blood Ninja is an excellent book...until the end. It was like a Quentin Tarantino movie. But more on that later...

The characters feel real and the story is great if not a little cliched. The action and suspense is nearly constant throughout which I loved. Lake did an excellent job capturing the setting of in ancient Japan...maybe too good a job.

Throughout the book in order to give a sense of proportion, Lake compares things to tatami mats and torii gates. Funny enough, I'm not well versed in ancient Japanese culture. I have no idea what those things are, and without the perspective I had trouble getting visuals in certain scenes.

This is a typical Torii Gate (School Children Not Included)

Ironically he does describe things that are rather obvious or common knowledge. For instance, the book is about vampires and in the beginning he overhears two men talking about someone who had two puncture wounds on his neck and was completely drained of blood.

The characters discuss that they think a
is responsible. Automatically you think vampire but guys go on to explain the legend of the kyuuketsuki and it's all the usual vampire folklore.

Vampire myth I know and, okay if you want to go into it again, but you can't let me know if a room is 10 feet across! No, Lake has to tell me it's the length of six tatami mats. Come on! But all in all this is a minor issue that can be overlooked.

Remember I mentioned about the Quentin Tarantino movie? Well, that comes at the end. It's a blood bath, physically and emotionally. There's lots of sacrifice and betrayal and overall unpleasantness.

I felt some things in the final scenes were unnecessary and rushed, and some things just left me feeling cheated. It's like Lake thought at the end, "Crap! This is all TOO perfect!" and decided things had to go bad. I would have been happier with less bitter and more sweet.

Blood Ninja is a wild ride and loads of fun. But the ending... I would have preferred different but, hey, you can always pick it up from the library. And Tarantino fans - this is your book!

The Cover: That's pretty cool how they made the O's bleeding puncture marks, but a ninja is never so sloppy!

The First Lines: Taro straightened up, took a deep breath, and pulled back the string of his bow. There was a familiar twinge from is left shoulder, where a think silver scar traced a semicircle from chest to back, at intervals punctuated by darker circles suggestive of large tooth marks.
These lines are pretty good. They create tension and mystery right away. Taro is hunting something and he has been attacked before by a creature with large teeth. I'm interested.

Blood Ninja has great action, interesting characters and a rapid pace. It kept me turning pages and while I wasn't completely won over by the ending, it was a fun read.


brizmus said...

okay, I didn't read the review so as to avoid the spoilers, but I totally want to read this! even if it's not intense and exciting enough to make it to the top!

Wings said...

meh i read the whole thing because it doesnt sound too much like id be interested...

ninjas yes, love ninjas

but i dunno this book doesnt jump at me, so meh

might read it someday, wont be head over heels for it though

Melissa said...

I had to skip over the spoilers because this is on my TBR pile...but it sounds great! :)

Jake Kirk@Teens Read and Write said...

Thanks for the comments! I took out the spoilers and just gave an overall impression - don't want to risk ruining anything for anyone!

Cleverly Inked said...

Not a norm read for me, I am going to have to step outside my box

Taschima Cullen said...

As I was reading the review I somehow kind of knew the person writing it. You are hilarious Jake xD

Hmm not my usual thing. I mean I understand how you would associate vampires with ninjas, but in my mind they never want to intertwine.

Mayyybe someday Ill give it a try =]

Liz said...

i like this movie!

I wanna see it`^


Misty said...

Hmm. This sounds interesting, though I don't know if I'm up for a bloodbath at the moment. Might save this one for Helluva Halloween II.
(makes note)

Ryan G said...

It does sound like a lot of fun and the cover is cool too.

ParaJunkee said...

I like the cover alot. And really, c'mon you don't know how big a tatami mats is????

elaing8 said...

I like the cover but I'm not sure this is a book I would normally read.


Great review Jake! I have this book on my shelf. I do like Quentin Tarantino movies, so hopefully I'll enjoy it. It sucks that your ending didn't live up to your expectations.

Juju at Tales of said...

Sounds good. Excellent review :)

Temperance Blackwood said...

Hohoho!! I'm a Tarantyino fan, so I think I'll love it, bloodbaths are really my kind os books/films. XD

Thanks for the review! =P

Dannie said...

i'm loving the idea about a YA ninja book (coz really, how many are there? seriously, count.) Thanks for the heads up.

Zombie Girrrl said...

Congratulations, Jake! Yours is the first review I've seen of this book! Kinda shocking considering it's got ninjas and vampires. You'd think that would sell like hot cakes!
Great review! I think the bitter ending might be a cultural thing more than the writer thinking it was too easy for the protagonist. I mean, if you're gonna go through all the effort of measuring things by tatami mats (btw, who doesn't know how big a tatami mat is???) you might as well go all the way and give it as bitter an ending as possible. Asian stories all end poorly. Case and point; Disney Land in Japan or China, can't recall which, had to change the ending to all their little stunt shows so that the good guys died because it was more culturally appropiate.
Despite the sour ending, I'm still interested in reading this one simply because it combines one overused entity with one rarely used one. Vampires and ninjas might be completely unique! The only other instance I can think of that compares is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which features zombies and ninjas!
Okay, this is getting really long, so I'm gonna cut myself off now. :)

Kristen said...

This has been on my tbr list and even though it wasn't a fantastic read - it still sounds great - ninjas and zombies? COOOL lol.

Rheanna said...

I really like the cover and would've probably picked this one up had I seen it in stores. But I'm really not a Tarrantino fan so thanks for the heads up and I'm glad I saw your review before I bought it.

Little Miss Youngblood said...

Great review! Although, I don't think I'll read it.

mariska said...

i guess i prefer to see ninja when it's on a movie not in a book. so i can see their Move :)

Bani said...

This book sounds interesting, not often that we see a story take place in historical Japan but is written in the west! I can only think of two others, Kagami (by Elizabeth Kata) and Memoirs Of Geisha. Certainly no YA ones so this is fresh and new. The ending sounds intense and lavishly destructive, appropriate for the era famous for its tragedies and struggles. As fun as kyuuketsuki is to say (heehee) it only just means vampire and should have just been translated like most of the other words IMO. Anyway, nice review!

Shy said...

*lol* I actually like your caption on that Torii Gate picture, Jake. Was funny to me (I know I'm weird :P).

Btw, about the book, while I love a lot of things regarding vampires, ninja is not really my thing so I'm not so sure if I'll ever read this book. But the premise sounds good and perhaps it's guy's kinda book.

Thanks for viewing though, otherwise, I might not be aware of its existence *blush*

YA Vampire Books said...

"That's pretty cool how they made the O's bleeding puncture marks, but a ninja is never so sloppy!" Lol, you're right of course! ;) Great review!

twipippi said...

I haven't heard of this book before and I don't think I will read it.

Lea said...

Well, I am a Tarantino fan...I'll have to see if my library's got this!

Bhumi said...

I think it's definitely time for me to read a good action-packed book. Sounds great!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

From the cover and description alone, I would not think this book has anything to do with vampires. Maybe I should have thought of vampires with the bleeding O puncture marks, but I didn't.

I really enjoyed the review. This sounds like a book my brother would enjoy. He has so much trouble finding stuff he really likes, so I'll have to tell him about this.

Bhumi said...

Me neither, Nikki. I wouldn't have expected this book to have vampires in it, just some action.

Amy said...

I love Nick Lake! He has another really good book out that's called THE SECRET MINISTRY OF FROST that was fabulous! So I think I'm eager to try reading this one :)

elizabeth said...

Sounds like a fun book...except for the ending. I'll have to check it out sometime!

Sherry @ Flipping Pages for All Ages said...

Another vampire book to get sucked into! With ninjas too.. thats even more awesome! Glad you liked it, its definitely something I will have to pick up!

misskallie2000 said...

This sounds like a great book. Your review was very good.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Susan said...

This book is AMAZING with all of the blood and the story is cool too. So far I'm in chapter 21 out of all 78 chapters. I love all the blood, guts and chopping off of limbs.

Rowena Hailey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jasmine Jones said...

Very appealing to teenaged boys, lots of interesting Japanese historical details, and not a bad read even for a middle-aged mom like me.

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