Relax, I Read a Ninja Novel

My childhood of learning martial arts under duress notwithstanding, I looked forward to giving this novel a try ever since I took notice of the author talking it up on Twitter. How’d the book measure up against my hopes? Find out, after these messages! (And by messages, I mean the usual details that precede the actual review portion of my review posts.)

The Book: “Relax, I’m a Ninja” by Natalie Whipple.

Genre: Urban Fantasy YA

Blurb: A Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable—but as the son of a ninja master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city. Or at least he thought he did.

When a killer with a poisoned blade starts cutting down teens, Tosh enlists Amy Sato—newest ninja recruit and his best friend’s crush—and sets out to uncover the killer’s identity. What they find is ninjutsu more evil than they could have ever imagined.

As Amy and Tosh grow closer, they discover their connection unleashes a legendary power that could stop the murders. Problem is, that power may be exactly what the killer is looking for, and wielding it could cost them both their souls.

Me with my copy of the book. I know, you can’t see me. I’m just that ninja-sneaky.
Me with my copy of the book. I know, you can’t see me. I’m just that ninja-sneaky.

My Thoughts: I’d call this one a solid read. I could have done with less training and waiting around bits and more this-is-not-a-drill ninja action on top of the Golden Gate Bridge or something to really get my blood racing, but that was my only real complaint.

I like that the story didn’t go for the obvious. (Because, really, wouldn’t we want a ninja book to be sneakier than that?) Plenty of plot points and character revelations caught me by surprise, or veered in a direction I hadn’t predicted. So props to the author for that, and props to Tosh for being pretty much made for his role as narrator, laying down the facts and expressing his inner conflict well, never leaving me feeling disconnected or frustrated with him for being dense/crazy repetitive/otherwise super annoying.

As for the romance, it felt startlingly normal. And I do totally mean that in a positive way. Like, there were the flirty parts, the mushy parts, the episodes of drama – not to mention the supernatural element – and none of it was completely over-the-top or ridiculously scripted or felt like, “oh, brother, tell me people in real life wouldn’t behave like this.” And can I just say, in a literary world full of those “oh, brother…” romances, I really appreciated that. So more props to Tosh, Amy, and their author lady.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): If I told you that this book legit ninja-flipped out of my hands when I reached the last page, would you give this book a read? Because I kid you not.

Your Thoughts: Put ‘em in the comments, and I’ll know!


4 thoughts on “Relax, I Read a Ninja Novel

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever read a ninja book…. Perhaps this could be a good first! And now that I think about it, having more **this-is-not-a-drill** action would probably be good for my WiP… *leaves to go dump that one on her main characters*

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