BLUE FINGERS by Cheryl Aylward Whitesel


A Ninja’s Tale
Age Range: 11 - 13
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In a brave effort to draw martial arts film and game fans, Whitesel chronicles a young farm lad’s involuntary entry into a clan of astonishingly adept warriors. Having botched a chance to make good as a dyer’s apprentice, young Koji runs despairingly into the forest and finds himself held captive in a hidden rebel camp. Slowly, Koji falls under the spell of these seemingly superhuman ninja (they never use that word, but call themselves “grass”), who can dislocate their own joints at will and perform other eye-popping physical feats. Gradually developing into a strong, clever fighter himself, he joins them in a bizarrely convoluted plot to weaken the local daimyo by tricking him into rejecting the firearms recently introduced by European traders. However, the author’s long, slow setup may lose readers attuned to instant and continual action, and her focus on Koji’s emotional landscape and maturation is so close that the rough-hewn plot never acquires much suspense or sense of danger. Still, worth a try with readers of Lensey Namioka’s samurai mysteries, or (changing countries) Da Chen’s Wandering Warrior (2003). (glossary, historical note, two booklists) (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 22nd, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-38139-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2004


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