A girl’s first mission as a ninja is complicated by a pair of young siblings and dangerous Japanese spirits.
Orphaned at a young age, Kata has been trained to be a “deadly flower”—a female ninja in feudal Japan. She is the best trainee at Madame Chiyome’s secret school. Kata is eager to prove herself on her first mission, only to realize that she must assassinate Ichiro, a little boy and heir of a powerful lord. His 15-year-old sister, Saiko, initially Kata’s accomplice, surprises her by thwarting the mission. Having failed her first mission, Kata’s honor forces her to help the siblings find their uncle. The plot is dense with detail and events. Ichiro hands Kata a small pearl for safekeeping but neglects to disclose its supernatural powers. Kata initially looks down on Saiko’s noble coyness but finds that Saiko’s skills have their uses on their journey. The three fight off demons, Madame’s ninjas, and a samurai’s legions. In Kata and Saiko, Thomson has created heroines who are opposites yet manage to use their strengths to take control of their lives under the social restraints of their time. Plot-driven moments feel like pauses in between the book’s heavy action scenes. Japanese spirits are described in frightfully vivid detail, along with the ninjas’ death-defying exploits.
Edge-of-your-seat action that will have both girls and boys rooting for the girl ninjas. (Historical fantasy. 10-14)