I’ve read the first two in the Young Samurai
Series. Let me say, first of all, that I enjoyed them. They are young adult books, but they are decent light reading for adults who don’t take their martial arts novels too seriously. They are, however, shameless in their cribbing of popular motifs.
The Young Samurai books are what you get when you cross James Clavell’s “Shogun” with the Harry Potter novels. See if this sounds familiar: a European stranded in Japan is adopted by a powerful samurai and becomes samurai himself. There are a stolen rutter, a Catholic priest complete with Japanese dictionary, ninja attacks and gifts of swords to cement alliances. There is also a teenaged boy with two friends, a boy and a girl, at a special boarding school, chased by an incredibly powerful adult, menaced by a boy at his school, facing trials to prove his skills. It’s Harry Potter with kimonos and katanas.
“The Way of the Sword” is, however, a good read. And though it is not a slave to cultural accuracy, it has more than just sword battles. A good chunk of it is devoted to mind-body training and the internal aspects of the martial arts. I’ll read the rest of the Young Samurai novels when they come to my local library’s digital collection. They’re interesting, exciting, and they make me want to get up and do kata.
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