Japan has been going through a century long civil war; destroying most of the beautiful land in death. Kano Murasaki also known as Risuko (Squirrel) just wants to climb and forget all that is around her. But as a the oldest daughter in a fatherless family that isn’t a easy feat.
When her mother sells her to a high ranking lady, Risuko feels abandoned but quickly finds herself as a much needed asset in the war between armies.
The cover alone promised a badass girl, with not only the physical skills but also mental skills. No. No. This book did not even deliver based off the summary but that is not to say it wasn’t a decent book.
The book is more for middle schoolers than actual YA. I say that because Risuko is about 12 and for the most part she act as such. The lack of confidence and self-knowledge is evident from the beginning and the end of the book. This is a coming of age novel, which I don’t have an issue with; I simply feel mislead.
I didn’t like how the book centralizes about how Risuko loves to climb and yet for most of the book she spend most of her time in the kitchen. When she did climb, she either got caught sneaking or was taunted into doing it. How can someone love something so much and practically stop doing it?
The book was slow and drawn out. The “action” was full of yawns and the ending was i.e. the big twist was un-fufilling and more of ‘I can not believe I read this book for that.’ Despite all of this, I give the author credit for dragging me in against my will. There were things I didn’t understand that I wanted to know more of. There are still things I don’t understand and I am not sure if they are even going to be addressed in the next book.
I wanted more from the book. More passion, action, climbing something other than the promise of something exciting. I felt that the author played it too safe with this book. I also felt that the author did not allow Risuko to have an actual personality. I cannot describe her even if you paid me to.
Overall, it was a decent intro to possibly a better story. I still recommend this read for middle schoolers not young adults or adults reading YA.