Japan 1612. One year of training in samurai school and Jack is in real trouble… He’s busy preparing for the Circle of Three, an ancient ritual that tests courage, skill and spirit to the limit. And at the same time Jack is caught in a running battle with fellow student Kazuki and his gang. But these are the least of Jack’s problems. He knows his deadly rival – the ninja Dragon Eye – could strike at any moment. Jack possesses the very thing he will kill for. Can Jack master the way of the Sword in time to survive a fight to the death?
The first book in Chris Bradford’s Young Samurai series, The Way of the Warrior, received the 2007 Sasakawa Foundation Award for the best book interpreting Japan to the English-speaking world and also won Book of the Year at the Fighting Spirit Awards in 2008.
So all the author had to in the second book, The Way of the Sword, was to give us exactly the same again… except better!
And he has managed to do this all rather well. Jack is now slightly older, more mature and we find that the author has adapted his style to reflect this. Chris Bradford’s writing has in fact improved in all areas.
The writing is sure and the action is mixed in well with more contemplative moments. The relationships between Jack, his fellow students, and the teachers are extremely involving (the feud between Jack and Kazuki doubly so). I also really enjoyed the prologue of the book which gave us a little more insight into the ninja; the ninja are very much the villains of the Young Samurai series and this showed the way in which they immunise themselves against a deadly scorpion sting – by allowing themselves to be stung by an older, weaker male. It was kind of like having the flu jab, but a lot scarier.
If you enjoyed The Way of the Warrior then you are going to enjoy The Way of the Sword just as much, probably more. The Circle of Three, an ancient ritual that tests courage, is another highlight and the relationships between Jack, Kazuki and Akiko are cleverly handled and full of mystery. Japan is once again at its beautiful and brutal best and the series is left nicely poised; ready for the third book to pick up and take further.
Will Jack ever be accepted? Will he ever see England again?
We will have to wait and see…
A highly recommended adventure book for older children and young adults.
Chris Bradford lives an action packed life and is a self-confessed adrenaline junkie. Young Samurai was inspired by Chris’s passion for martial arts and a desire to share the positive influence it has had on his life, as well as his love of Japanese culture. To discover more about Chris go to www.youngsamurai.com.
Review by Floresiensis
2 positive reader review(s) for The Way of the Sword
Mohan from India
Awesome reflection of Japanese culture. In fact I got interested in Japanese tradition. The fight sequence will fill your body with adrenaline. Chris had taken immense effort in writing this sequel. Because it is far good than its prequel. Hats off Chris. He is standing a step high while explaining a fight. So I recommend all teens get Shane on this book.
Joe from Brighton
9.3/10 from 3 reviews