Monday 8 October 2012

Review: Hattori Hachi - Curse of the Diamond Daggers by Jane Prowse

Called to Japan with her family and friends, Hattie Jackson discovers her destiny is to resolve the cataclysmic rift in the Hattori family that began centuries before. To do it, she must reunite the three deadly Diamond Daggers, while somehow surviving the dirty tricks and ruthless fighting skills of her most terrifying enemies. But more is at risk than she thinks. The daggers carry a mysterious power of their own - one that can corrupt the very heart of their bearer...

I loved the first two Hattori Hachi books, as you can see from the quote on the front cover of the third book in this series, Hattori Hachi: Curse of the Diamond Daggers (my first ever front cover quote - hurrah!). They are up there with Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant series as perfect examples of boy-friendly books with female main characters. I know it is something of a generalisation to say that boys prefer their books to have a male main character, and the debate as to why this is (and if it is actually true) has gone on for years, but my experience suggests there is certainly a degree of accuracy to it. True or otherwise, those first two books are perfect for action loving boys, and this third instalment is more of the same (and I mean that as a great compliment). If you need more persuasion to give these a try, check out my reviews here and here.

The first two books dealt with Hattie's discovery of her heritage, and subsequently her role as the Golden Child of the Hattori family. Sounds cool doesn't it, until you discover that it could mean being killed by an army of ninjas led by evil ninja warlords. I'll take the safety and comfort of my sofa any day of the week, thank you very much.Over the course of those books she fought and defeated two of the world's greatest masters of the ninja arts, and now she is almost ready to head off for her mother's homeland of Japan, to finally face her destiny. Will she be triumphant, or will she fall victim to one or all of the cursed Diamond Daggers?

I said earlier as a compliment that this third book was more of the same. By that I meant that it is very tightly plotted and well written, with a fantastic set of supporting characters. Some of these, like Toby, we are still getting to know, but this does not make them seem any less real that the characters that we met in the opening chapters of The Revenge of Praying Mantis. We also have many more action set pieces, all kept fresh by the change of location to Japan. And of course, the coolest thing of all, are the ninjas. And there seem to be more of them than ever before in this book, including a full on ninja battle towards the end of the story. More ninjas also mean more ninja secrets, and I loved the way Jane Prowse gradually built tension throughout the story by focusing on the more stealthy elements of being a ninja such as the art of disguise; identity theft; stealth attack; wire walking.

This book neatly rounds off the Hattori Hachi trilogy, although an author's note at the end of the book will smiles to the faces of HH fans, as we are promised that her story is not yet finished and there will be more to read in the future.

My thanks go to Jane Prowse for sending me a copy of Hattori Hachi: Curse of the Diamond Daggers to review. For more details and the opportunity to download a free ebook of The Revenge of Praying Mantis head on over to the official Hattori Hachi website here

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