Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 6-9-Bradford raises the stakes for his blond samurai student in this second installment in the series. Previously shipwrecked after his father was murdered by the ninja leader Dragon Eye, Jack is continuing his training as a samurai at his foster father's school for young warriors. Dedicated to keeping his father's navigational log from Dragon Eye, who has tried to steal it before, Jack hides the book at the castle of the daimyo, where he feels it will be safer. In the meantime, he must train to participate in the Circle of Three, a trial that would allow him to learn a double-sword-fighting technique, one he feels he needs to defend himself against the ninja's treachery. To add to his worries, his friend Akiko is acting strangely, disappearing in the night, and Jack suspects she may be training as a ninja. Bradford combines the structure of a British school story with the flavor of 17th-century Japan, and his descriptions of both swordplay and hand-to-hand martial arts reveal his extensive knowledge of the subject. Young martial artists will be eager to try out sticky-hands drills in their own dojos. Though the secondary cast is often too large to keep track of and only a few of the characters are fully developed, the ongoing struggle between honorable samurai and dastardly ninja will draw both reluctant readers and enthusiasts of Japanese history.-Alana Joli Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In The Way of the Warrior (2009), shipwrecked Jack began his training as a samurai after watching the vile ninja Dokugan Ryu murder his father. In his second year of training, Jack perfects a few new techniques while dodging his adopted society's increasing hostility toward foreigners. Bradford takes special care and pleasure in describing the minutiae of martial arts and other aspects of Japanese culture. With straightforward prose, he has managed to pen lively and exciting fight sequences and is slowly beginning to develop a keen edge to his cast of characters, laying significant groundwork for future installments.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
In his second story, Jack, a shipwrecked English boy, remains in Japan at Samurai Masamotos school learning to protect his fathers guidebook of the worlds oceans. In addition to tackling his classmates' anti-foreigner sentiment, Jack faces imminent danger as a ninja continues to hunt him. Blending historical elements with sword-clashing adventure, the exciting story effectively sets up the next installment. Glos. Copyright 2010 of The Horn Book, Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Book Review
Having completed the Way of the Warrior at Niten Ichi Ryu school, Jack is preparing to learn the Way of the Sword, the next discipline needed to defend his father's notebook and defeat the one-eyed ninja, Dragon Eye. When Masamoto announces a special challenge to learn his coveted fighting style, Jack knows this may be his opportunity. Though the second in Bradford's Young Samurai series, the work stands alone and doesn't require familiarity with the first text. Packed with staves, swords and martial arts, action dominates character development and historical setting. Jack's continual bemoaning of his outsider (gaijin) status in early-17th-century Japan quickly becomes annoying, especially for anyone vaguely familiar with the insular nature of traditional Japanese culture. The glossary and pronunciation guide will be quite helpful to curious readers, and the origami-crane directions add a touch of whimsy. Acceptable, but Jack could profit from a dash of wasabi. (Action. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.