“New eras don’t come about because of swords; they’re created by the people who wield them” – Nobuhiro Watsuki
Author JL Snyder’s novel ‘Battle Cry’ narrates the story of a young female protagonist born into a family of samurai warriors. Kai-Ling is the 16 year old daughter of a murdered samurai father and an American mother. She was raised by her uncle Nobu, who taught her all the important lessons in the traditional Japanese art of sword play. And she has trained her whole young life with a single minded dedication to avenge her father’s murder. When she finally sets out to seek revenge, she has to follow certain instructions laid out by her uncle on her journey back to America. And it is on this journey that the young Kai-Ling matures into a fearsome warrior and makes friends who stick by her through thick and thin.
There are a lot of illustrations in this book that take you back to your own childhood and remind you of the various comic books & cartoon series that you used to devour, the ones that used to visualize every sound effect in writing to maximize the effect. And it’s amazing how quickly you will get pulled into Snyder’s storytelling. His amazing skills as a storyteller ensure that you quickly become a part of the world he has created and begin caring for his characters. He also has wonderful control and brevity over the information and amount of story that is packed into each chapter. And due to the brilliant editing the book moves at an even pace and keeps the reader’s attention in check throughout. There are a lot of scenes in the book that standout for their writing and use of imagination, the scene before entering the town of Mori-Ko and the battle scene in the Threshold of Darkness are brilliant, engrossing and makes for some highly tense reading.
Battle Cry is a classical revenge saga that has been made more accessible by having a bunch of characters who are grounded in reality and with whom you will be able to relate with easily. Another highlight is the wonderful use of language which flows uninterrupted through these pages, and like our lead’s Katana sword, the prose and dialogues usher in the beauty of the environment and the characters with such precision that you may be forgiven for mistaking the author for a samurai warrior himself, albeit a pen wielding samurai warrior. And it is pretty evident that the author has been heavily influenced by graphic novels, in Battle Cry he utilizes the same fast paced action, storytelling and illustrations to make it a gripping read.
And even though perhaps it is targeted towards a younger audience, this is a book that readers of any age are sure to fall in love with and treasure and rediscover the magic that only a good book can bring. Ending on a high note, you will look forward to more adventures involving Kai-Ling, along with a new cast of characters. The internet may say that JL Snyder is a first time novelist and that Battle Cry is his debut novel but nowhere in the book will you feel that and it makes you wonder what this extremely talented author was doing all along. It also raises expectations sky high for volume two of the Battle Cry series.
Print Length: 186 pages
Publisher: Bookstand Publishing (November 24, 2013)