Author: Cole Gibsen
Published: 8th March 2012
Source: eArc thanks to NetGalley and Flux
Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline had given her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of 15th-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings.So this book was billed as Kill Bill meets Buffy on NetGalley. Do I love Kill Bill? Yes self, I do! Do I love Buffy? Yes again Emma, I think Buffy kicks ass and I miss her! I have also had a fascination in ancient Japanese culture for as long as I can remember. So I think it is clear to say that I had high hopes for this book! I was pleased that it delivered everything I was expecting and more.
While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.
Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her. - From Goodreads
Rileigh is a normal skateboard loving girl until she and her best friend, Quentin, are attacked by muggers in a parking lot. Without knowing what she is doing Rileigh manages to defend herself against all 3 of the muggers leaving them broken on the ground. This is when the dreams begin! Dreams of ancient Japan which are so real they make Rileigh's heart hurt with recognition. Before she knows it Rileigh has been pulled into a world of reincarnated Samurai Warriors and she must defend herself against enemies from the past. The only problem is that her enemies could be anyone!
There are only a handful of literary characters that I think I would get on well with in real life and that I would want to hang out with. Rileigh is one of them. She is such a strong character who is totally thrown into a situation that she is not prepared for and she totally reacts in the way I probably would, although I would have added being drunk to the moping and the bar fight!! In lots of books when the protagonist moans about the situation they have found themselves in you just want to shake them, but in this case you understand her concerns and let it slide as she is so kickass. She is totally Buffy-esque and that makes me so happy (I miss Buffy!).
Any awesome reincarnated Samurai action story has to have a smoking hot love interest and this one has two!! This was an interesting love triangle and not the usual bog standard one. Rileigh's head and current self is securely settled on the cute guy from school, but her heart and past self are all about the smoking hot Kim. He is buff, handsome, looks out for Rileigh and only wants her to be happy... where can I get me one? Also he owns his own dojo and I like a man who has plans for his future and a way to support himself (Argh, I'm getting so sensible in my old age!!)
This had some great supporting characters which enriched the story, especially her gay best friend Q (who doesn't love a gay best friend?). I also liked that Rileigh had a job and therefore could not just up and disappear on an adventure without thinking of the consequences or telling anyone. This is something that can often annoy me in YA fiction, but in this book it was tackled with grace. As we started to piece together the story from ancient Japan I was constantly trying to guess who the enemy was in her current life. I was suspicious of so many characters that it actually did not turn out to be the one I was most sceptical about! I had no idea who was trust worthy in this book.
I loved this book and flew through it constantly wanting more. The only thing I was disappointed about at the end was that this is a stand alone novel. I would have loved to keep reading about Rileigh and the antics her and her band of Samurai might get up to. I will definitely be picking up Cole Gibsen's next book as soon as it's released. I can't wait.