Titles: Book of the Sword(book 1)
Book of the Shadow(book 2)
Book of the Pearl(book 3)
Book of the Wind(book 4)
Book of the Flame(book 5)
Book of the Heart(book 6)
Author: Carrie Asai
If you ever see a book series in which all of its book were published in less than a year, do your time one big favor: don't...read it. That's exactly how I feel about Carrie Asai's Samurai Girl. The only way in which I benefited from reading it was an opportunity to write this book review. Below is my opinion of the series:
I must admit that the plot had good potential. It is about a sheltered, Japanese rich girl named Heaven Kogo who was adopted at six months old after becoming the only survivor of a plane crash. The story starts when Heaven is at her wedding ceremony(it's an arranged marriage) and a ninja attacks her. Her brother, Ohiko, fights the ninja and dies trying to protect her. Heaven runs away and finds Hiro, one of Ohiko's friends, and asks him for help. She spends the entire series trying to find out who killed her brother as well as why she is being hunted.
I thought the story was interesting and that is what kept me reading until the end. Unfortunately, the series' potential is ruined by the author(s) own doing. The first way it is ruined is the fact that book 6 is the last book in the series. The series needs at least one more book to complete the story. Yes, it is true that many books have cliffhangers, but when cliffhangers are so big that they equate to an incomplete plot, it ruins the story. That's how me and many other reviewers online felt about Samurai Girl. I considered watching the mini series for it, but I changed my mind after reading a blog post from angryasianman.com. The blog post writer makes it clear that the TV version is apparently worse than the books were.
The plot holes are my biggest problem, but the second one is poorly developed characters. If the characters were at least better, perhaps the reader would consider forgiving the author(s) for their corny ending. I must say though that when writers rush, stuff like this happens. There are several reason why I think the characters turned out to be flat. The first is the fact that the each book revolves around Heaven a little too much. The people who help Heaven do not seem to have any personal ambitions or motives outside of what relates to Heaven. As a result, they seem to be there only to be Heaven's helpers. Now, of course, considering that Heaven is the main character, most of the book is going to naturally revolve around her thoughts. Yet, in order for readers to get the best enjoyment out of a book, side characters must have goals, needs, wants, desires, and weaknesses just like the main character. They can't be just convenient throw ins.
Heaven is also what many authors would call a Mary Sue. Everything just falls her way no matter what even if the situation doesn't call for it. She also is also miraculously good at everything. How is her fighting better than all the thugs who chase after her? It just doesn't make sense. And it appears that every reviewer on Amazon thinks the same. What do you think? Leave a comment below.