Sisters of the Sword: The Warrior’s Path
Japan, 1216. The respected and powerful Jito, Lord Yoshijiro, is awaiting the arrival of his much-loved elder brother, Hidehira. It should have been Hidehira who inherited the family estate, but their father thought his younger son’s prowess in martial arms made him fitter to become the Jito. But the affection between the brothers has remained strong – or has it?
When Kimi and Hana, Yoshijiro’s daughters, peek through a screen to watch the welcome ceremony, what they witness instead is murder. Hidehira suddenly plunges a dagger into the Jito’s back, kills his two nephews and yells to his Samurai guard to kill the rest of the family. Kimi and Hana must flee for their lives.
Disguised as peasant boys, they enter the service of Master Goku, who runs a martial arts school and once trained their father. Kiri and Hana must adapt to their new lives and learn things they would never have dreamed of doing as wealthy daughters of the Jito. All they have to hold on to is the hope that their mother and youngest brother managed to escape and to train for the day when they can avenge their father’s death and restore the prestige of their family. They must also keep out of the way of their arrogant cousin, Hidehira’s son, Kan-ichi, who is a student there. The sisters have done some martial arts training with their father and, recognizing their talent, Master Goku allows them to watch some of the classes. The girls practise all they can.
Then they learn that Hidehira intends to pay the school a visit…
This is the first of a quartet about Kiri and Hana’s adventures, and it certainly kicks off splendidly. The author skilfully entwines 13th-century Japanese customs and assumptions with an exciting and entertaining story.
For 11-14 year-old girls.
- Elizabeth Hawksley
I thought this book started well, with an interesting atmosphere set up, warriors etc, and at the beginning of the book there were some exiting plot twists and situations. However, I didn’t think the characters in this book were very three-dimensional or original, and this meant that the book, narrated by the main character, was not very easy or interesting to read, although some scenes in it were intriguing.
There are some tense life-or-death situations, which create suspense, and some good descriptions of fighting. There was also a good family dynamic, with characters protecting each other etc.
I would have liked better descriptions of the setting of the book, as the time/place was unusual.
I think altogether this book could have been better if the characters, especially the main one and her sister, had more to them.
- Ella McNulty, age 14