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BLOOD NINJA by Nick Lake

BLOOD NINJA

From the Blood Ninja series, volume 1

By Nick Lake

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8627-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Growing up in a small village with dreams of becoming a samurai, Taro never expected to be the target of a ninja attack. Mortally wounded, he is turned into a vampire by Shusaku and begins preparing for his new life, a process complicated by the revelation that Taro is a warlord’s son and may be the one to end a deadly feud. Though the Japanese names may initially challenge readers, Lake’s characters are well developed and natural, moving about the page and into readers’ minds with grace. For all the life-shattering events that happen, however, Taro may seem somewhat too resilient to be true. Taro and Shusaku’s discussions over honor and integrity are well constructed, even though the dialogue assumes a didactic tone. The abundance of swords, sneaking and slicing helps propel readers along despite the narrative’s occasional slow moments. The dark cliffhanger leaves room for sequels, which will be appreciated by those vampire fans not inclined to follow more romantic bloodsuckers. (Horror. YA)