Shadow Warriors by Chris Bradford was sent to me by Barrington Stoke and is an action packed adventure story for 8-12 year olds in the Conkers range of books. It was sent to me in exchange for my honest review.
Shadow Warriors is actually Bradford’s Ninja trilogy, published together in one volume, with an extra, bonus story at the back. If you’re already a fan you may well want to get this anyway, even if only for the bonus story. It’s also nicely put together with great illustrations and extra material for the reader in the back.
The books focus on the main character, Taka, who tells the story of his ninja training and several adventures that he and his friends Renzo and Cho embark upon. Each story is linked and they work well together in one volume.
The stories are action packed and there are twists and turns on every page, which I really liked as it keeps the reader hooked throughout the stories. They are quite dark in places and don’t stint on the violent fight scenes, but there is more to them than this. They focus on friendship, loyalty, cunning, and the ability to think as well as you fight.
I liked the fact that Cho is a girl, and an extremely competent ninja in her own right. If anything, it is Taka who is the character who has most to learn as the stories progress. Cho and Renzo make great foils for Taka, but they also have their own plot lines and none of the characters feel like they are there as makeweight.
The stories are well illustrated by David Wyatt. The end papers are great with their fabric pattern and lacing down the spine. I also liked the Ninja test for the readers in the back. As ever, it features Barrington Stoke’s signature font for dyslexic readers, off white paper and plenty of space around the text areas of the book.
This is predominantly a story that will interest boys, given the subject matter, but with strong characters like Cho and even Taka’s mother, and with particular emphasis on Cho in the final story, this would work equally well for girls.