The Way of the Warrior: Young Samurai, Book 1

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Way of the Warrior: Young Samurai, Book 1 Book Poster Image
British boy becomes samurai; exciting but violent.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers will learn a bit of history as Jack begins to learn the customs and language.

Positive Messages

Jack comes of age as he learns martial arts skills, fights back against bullies -- and begins to master the way of the warrior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's easy to root for Jack as he deals with school bullies -- and even Dragon Eye, who will kill him or anyone else who stands in his way.


A boy is stabbed in the heart, another is stabbed in the stomach, both are killed, a man is burned to death, another has his fingers sliced off, another is decapitated, a boy sees his father murdered with a sword, much fighting with fists and swords.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Men and boys drink and get drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a story about samurai in feudal Japan, so there is much sword-fighting, and many injuries and deaths, including two boys. Readers will learn a bit of history as Jack begins to learn the customs and language. And they will find him an easy character to root for.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byBillly November 23, 2018

The most interesting book

This is a great book with lots of culture that has lots of action but is a little bloody.
Kid, 11 years old November 8, 2013


OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! The Plot was brilliant, it gets readers like me really intrigued and hanging for the sequel!! There are some violents though and it woul... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the 17th century, a British boy is marooned in Japan when his ship is attacked by ninja pirates led by Dragon Eye, and everyone else is killed -- including his father. Taken in by a samurai lord, Masamoto, whose son was also killed by Dragon Eye, Jack learns the Japanese language and customs, and is enrolled in Masamoto's samurai school, where he learns the Way of the Warrior. But Dragon Eye is determined to get his hands on Jack's father's log book, and will kill Jack or anyone else who stands in his way.

Is it any good?

Cross James Clavell's Shogun with The Karate Kid and you'll get an idea of what this book is like. The first half is all Shogun: Brit marooned in Japan, taken in by powerful lord, and befriended by beautiful girl begins to learn the customs and language, finds it's all too easy to offend, has to contend with the Portuguese Jesuits who want to keep the Brits out, and finds he has an affinity for this strange land. Then it goes all Karate Kid, as Jack is bullied, learns martial arts skills, fights back, and ends up in a tournament. There's even a super-secret move.

All right, so it's derivative. And the writing is a bit clunky at times. But it's a rip-roaring story, gripping from beginning to end, with a bit of history, the fascination of a strange, and strangely magnetic, culture to learn about, a stalwart hero to root for, and an exceptionally satisfying ending. The author may be a first-timer, but he knows his martial arts (the jacket copy says he has a "black belt in Zen Kyo Shin Tai-jutsu, the secret fighting art of the ninja"). This is the first in a proposed series, and young readers will be eager for the next installment. A very successful debut.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the enduring Western fascination with martial arts and the samurai. Why are they so popular in America?

  • This book features plenty of violence, but it is set in a adventurous/ historical setting. Does this make it easier to accept?

Book details

For kids who love adventure stories

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