Clash of the Clans: Shinobi 7 Companion Book #1 by L. Benitez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lighthearted and funny...Highly recommended
This companion story for Shinobi 7 is a quick jump over to an alternate timeline where war never erupts, but Sector 7 still forms and the characters are essentially the same. With the war out of the picture, the story focuses on another kind of conflict, a tournament of the clans. Having read Shinobi 7, I loved being back in the world and experiencing it in such a purely enjoyable fashion.
As someone who practices Karate, I found both the tournament and the crazy way things play out delightful. Not only is the event entertaining, it's also a rather accurate representation of a martial arts tournament. I also enjoyed picking out the Japanese terms that are worked into the story. There's just enough context to make them easy to work out, but not enough to make them seem instructional.
As for the characters, I love, absolutely love, Luna. So cute and hyper, her childish logic is infallible even under the stern watch of the judges. And Kuroi, as gruff as ever, yet still facing a challenge that makes him doubt himself. These two are my favorite, but each point of view is interesting. I also liked some of the main villains of Shinobi 7 make an appearance as judges.
I honestly can't think of anything I didn't like, though I did wonder what might have motivated everyone to join the Kitsune Clan without the tragedies spawned by the war. Some of it matches up to Shinobi 7, but the split in the timeline is mostly vague. Still, I didn't worry much about it. In fact, as a standalone, the back story is fine.
Overall, I loved this story. The characters are wonderful and the story kept me smiling and, at times, outright laughing. I so wish I could write about my favorite part, but that would spoil it. I highly recommend Clash of the Clans to anyone who likes martial arts, youthful exuberance, and a bit of fantasy. This is a quick read and won't spoil Shinobi 7 if you haven't read it yet.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
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