“The Samurai warrioes of old Japan considered the cherry blossom, with its beautiful but short life, as a symbol of their own lives – which could end violently at any momeny. My mum always kept a bonsai cherry tree in our living room, and every year in early spring when it blossomed, we’d have a tea ceremony to give thanks for the fact that we were all still healthy, happy – and alive.”
Hattie Jackson is just like every other 15 year old girl – bar the fact her mum has played strange games involving stamina and indurance pratice without her really noticing over the course of her life. Then her mum goes missing and Hattie realises everything is definitely not as it seems. Her mum was a member of the Hattori family, the highest ninjutsu family in old Japan. She is descended from ninja warriors and in order to help her mum she must complete training to become one of them. However with the Kataki after her she isn’t in the best frame of mind and that’s before she finds out she has to fight the most deadly assassin of all…
The Praying Mantis
I love all things Japanese, I learnt the language in college and I have wanted to visit the country ever since I first saw pictures of the countryside there! I knew that this book was set in London but with a background of Japanese warriors I thought it would be great, and it was!
The books actually told in quite a contemporary way… it reminded me of the Jess Jordon books by Sue Limb and the Lottie Biggs series by Hayley Long, just with ninjas and training. Hattie has a great voice and I think a lot of teen girls would be really hooked with this book. The action is kept up the whole way through and there aren’t any dull bits at all. I loved where the plot takes you through the book and I think it sets up the second books brilliantly… I cant wait to read that one and find out whats next for Hattie and Mad Dog.
The characters really made this book, you see all of them express different emotions and I love how fired up Hattie could get but also how she learnt to control herself through the training. Mad Dog was a brilliant character and I felt so sorry for him. I wnted to take him out of the Dojo and just go somewhere for him… I would hate to be stuck like him for the best part of the year. Suzi is great as well and comes across so well… I wanted to love her but I found her intriguing moer than anything else! Neena was brilliant too but I wish she had a bigger part. It was obvious she wanted to be more involved and I felt a bit like she was left out of things sometimes. Yazuki was by far the best character I loved her and wantedher to be my own grandmother or something! I loved the way she had a full spectrum in her personality and how wise she was… she was like Yoda or something!
I did really like the book, I saw a few things coming a mile off and I knew there were certain people you couldn’t trust and others who you knew to be wary about. However some things still came as a shock to me and I find myself hooked anyway! I would really recommend this to any teen who was looking for a fast paced, kick-ass female leaded book of any genre. It’s got romance, ninja fighting and friendship… what else could you want?
Hattori Hachi: The Praying Mantis was published by Piccadilly Books in July 2009. It is the first of a trilogy with the second following in June 2010. The third is currently being prepped for publication through the independent website Unbound. Go here to find out more and thank you to the guys at Unbound for sending this book in exchange for an honest review. This book counts towards my British Book Challege