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Samurai Awakening
Cover of Samurai Awakening
Samurai Awakening
Samurai Awakening Book 1
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Winner of the 2013 SCBWI Crystal Kite AwardDavid Matthews is having a rough time. Being a teenager is bad enough, but when he picks up and moves to Japan for a year, with barely any knowledge of the...
Winner of the 2013 SCBWI Crystal Kite AwardDavid Matthews is having a rough time. Being a teenager is bad enough, but when he picks up and moves to Japan for a year, with barely any knowledge of the...
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  • Winner of the 2013 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award
    David Matthews is having a rough time. Being a teenager is bad enough, but when he picks up and moves to Japan for a year, with barely any knowledge of the language or social behaviors of Japanese teenagers, things go from bad to worse.
    Until one day, David attends a temple ceremony and finds himself possessed by a Japanese god.
    Suddenly, he can understand and speak Japanese. He has unbelievable new powers, including the ability to shift into a tiger, and a powerful sword he can materialize at will from its sheath—his body. But nothing comes for free, and these changes bring David face-to-face with the most terrifying creatures of Japanese legend—vengeful okami, demonic oni and terrifying ghostly yurei.
    Trained by his host family, famous sword-makers and the keepers of an ancient secret entrusted to their family by the first Emperor of Japan, David must fight desperately to save his host sister from a hoard of Japanese monsters. Evil has returned to Japan, and David must overcome his own insecurities if he is to save her and become a True Samurai—the protector of Japan.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 24, 2012
    Martin offers an unconventional fish-out-of-water adventure in this well-researched but problematic debut. Thirteen-year-old David Matthews is an American exchange student spending a year in Japan, where his inability to speak Japanese makes him an outcast. Everything changes after an incident at a local shrine imbues David with the spirit of a Kami, a Japanese god. Suddenly able to understand those around him, David also discovers newfound powers and responsibilities as a newly created Jitsugen Samurai responsible for protecting Japan and fighting evil. Under the guidance of a host family, David is thrust into a shadowy life of intense training and deadly encounters. Martin scrupulously details the elements of David's apprenticeship, and his familiarity with Japanese customs and myth lends verisimilitude—the weight of which can sometimes overwhelm the story. Martin's writing is richest when conveying David's initial disorientation as an outsider in a new environment. While the fantasy elements are intriguingly grounded in Japanese culture, the central premise that an American foreigner is elected to become a chosen one is an outdated trope that undermines much of the story. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2012

    Gr 6-9-A 13-year-old American exchange student is unwittingly tied to a mystical samurai legacy in this contemporary fantasy that draws on Japanese myth and history. Staying with a host family of sword makers near the city of Himeji, David thinks his toughest challenges will be overcoming the language barrier and holding his own in school sports. He never expected to be possessed by a god and made to bear the responsibility of protecting the country from evil. Due to the author's firsthand experience as an American living in Japan, David's feelings of isolation as he attempts to adjust to new surroundings ring true, as do the details of school life. Dialogue printed in Japanese characters adds a pleasing note of authenticity, and the novel's rural setting will appeal to readers who seek to know Japan beyond Tokyo. The premise is intriguing, filled with sword fighting and legends, but the meandering plot may test readers' patience. The large cast of characters is underdeveloped, and the writing is riddled with copyediting errors. This book is likely to attract Japanophiles or martial-arts enthusiasts, but it is not polished enough to capture a general audience.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Tuttle Publishing
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