Recently, I ve read the action-packed novel,
Hattori Hachi: The Revenge of the Praying Mantis, the
first installment of the Hattori Hachi trilogy and first
novel of its author, Jane Prowse. Hattie Jackson (also
known as Hattori Hachi) is just a normal fifteen year old
adolescent with a slightly jumpy, cautious mother who
spends her spare time training Hattie to defend herself
against others. The training? A secret signal, mock
sparring, and submerging herself under their apartment
complex s lake, for instance. Hattie, having grown up with
this odd ritual that always unexplainably is kept hidden
from her dad, believes this practice to just be of her
mother s insecurities from her troubled childhood-- until
her mother mysteriously disappears. Traces of blood and
signs of struggle are found in the area where her mother
was reported to have been last seen. Grieving and
troubled, Hattie is determined to get to the bottom of her
mother s disappearance. That is, until her apartment s old
washerwoman (who turns out not to be so old after all)
reveals to Hattie her mother s true story; her role as the
last surviving descendant of the most powerful Ninjustu
family of all Japan that has dated back for thousands of
years. Quite enough for a fifteen years old s mind to
consume, right? Not yet. There s more. The quiet
laundress, Yazuchi, also informs Hattie that she is the
Golden Child, the heir to all the Hattori Ninjustu pride,
and that the Kataki, (an evil band of Ninjustu warriors
who also abducted her mother) are determined to kill her.
You must. You are last in line. You are Hattori
Hachi: Golden Child.
With this dreadful responsibility now keeping her
grounded, Hattie and her friend, the notorious juvenile
delinquent, Mad Dog, start training excessively with their
mentor, the washerwoman Yuzuchi. Learning how to control
their emotions, empty their mind, build their strength,
and break through their invisible barriers are constantly
demanding their attention while time is slowly ticking
away to the time to test their true Ninjustu
instincts&&&..the time where they have to face the Praying
Mantis, the most deadly assassin in the world&..
You think you can fight the Praying Mantis and win?
He laughed. It was chilling.
Jane Prowse has completely nailed this novel. I loved
the descriptions, the action, the heart-stopping moments
where deceit lurks just around the corner. The story plot
is fabulous, smoothly transitioning from one thing to
another, while almost a hidden profoundness is scattered
in every chapter, from the age-old ways of the ninja, to
the tiny little clues Hattie s mother leaves to aid Hattie
on her mission to save the common good of all people.
A ninja s sprit is as sharp as the edge of a blade&.
Considering this is Jane Prowse s first book, I
believe the fruits of her efforts definitely turned into
something phenomenal. I could honestly barely tear myself
away from the novel, from beginning to end! The only
thing I disliked about this book was the sometimes the
sentences were slightly awkward, kind of distorted.
I would recommend this book for ages eight and up,
for some of the violence mentioned in this novel.
Will Hattie Jackson have the courage and the
spirit to become the true Ninjustu princess she was born
to be? Read this intriguing novel to find out!
Note: If you are interested, there is a sequel to this
book, which is Hattori Hachi: Stalking the Enemy, and
there is also the last installment in this trilogy coming
up,entitled Hattori Hachi: The Curse of the Diamond Dagger.
Reviewer City, State and Country:
Leopold, Missouri U.S.A.