Review: Risuko by David Kudler

I didn’t want to leave this world!

About the book:

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.


Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

Cover of David Kudler's Risuko

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Review by Katy Haye:

Oh, this was utterly sumptuous. I loved it! Now, I’m not sure if it’s a fantasy world based on Japan or it’s a historical novel set in feudal medieval Japan, but either way it’s glorious.

Risuko means squirrel in Japanese, and is the nickname for the heroine, who has a remarkable talent for climbing. It’s this ability that brings her to the notice of a redoubtable patron and leads to her arrival at an unusual training school.

The world-building was flawless, the characters were complex and enticing and the plot, while slower-paced than my usual, frenetic reading fare, was fabulous and just right for the story. I fell in and didn’t want to ever climb out, frankly.

If you read and enjoyed Lian Hearn’s Across the Nightingale Floor series (I loved it), then try this. And in a similar vein, but with magic, try Megan Crewe’s A Mortal Song.

Katy Haye is reading (and reviewing) her way through the alphabet. Check back next week for a review of her “S” read: Sand Runner. When not reading, Katy writes speculative YA fiction. Discord “The Matrix meets Planet of the Apes” is currently available.

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1 Response to Review: Risuko by David Kudler

  1. David Kudler says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Risuko, Katy!

    I’m working hard together book #2, Bright Eyes, out by next winter.


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