Monday, June 27, 2016
Risuko by David Kudler
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I already knew what the Kunoichi were, and I guess that anyone interested in Japanese history would know who they were too. So the whole mystery was sort of a non-mystery for me. I did, however, enjoy the descriptions of the lessons that Risuko and the two other novices - Emi and Toumi go through.
I also liked most of the characters - especially Masugu and Mieko. It was so obvious what their bickering was about, even if Risuko didn't see it. I found it cute.
So, some complaints:
One, the chef's way of speaking. The chef is from Korea, and he speaks with what I imagine is a Texan accent. That was really odd, but then again, I think in the English dub of Detective Conan, Heiji's Kansai accent was changed to a Southern drawl too, so it's not entirely without precedent. It's still weird though. (And yay for me not needing subtitles or dubs anymore)
Second, I didn't get along well with the prologue. It felt more like a blurb to me. But it's short, so I'd just recommend everyone skip it.
Last, there was a slight inconsistency in the way lady Chiyome was addressed. Sometime, she was Lady Chiyome, at other times, she was Chiyome sama. If there was a pattern, I couldn't figure it out. There was also some unneeded repetitions, like "mukashi mukashi, long ago" (mukashi; 昔 means long ago so...) which I thought was odd.
But I did read an advance copy, so hopefully all that's been ironed out.
Despite the complaints (which are fairly minor), I enjoyed this story. The lessons that Risuko and the other two were interesting, and the subplot developed in a way that I didn't really expect, but made sense.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.