-“No animals were harmed in the creation of this book, although Atticus the cat did have to be locked out of the office several times due to his inability to stay out of the garbage can. And not nip at my ankles. And not stop slowly pushing things off my desk. Like my glasses. Just stop pushing my glasses off the desk, little dude. Seriously.”

It took me a lot longer than I originally planned to read this book, but not because it was particularly boring or because I was particularly busy. It definitely wasn’t because of the font ~ the font was Goudy Old Style (the same as the Inheritance Cycle), one that I quite enjoy. It wasn’t the size either ~ it was 437 pages, but the font was at least 12pt, so it really wasn’t that bad.

For whatever the reason it took so long to read, it was actually a rather good book. The one problem I had with it was that I wasn’t ever sure exactly when it took place. I was guessing the 1800s, in England, but I couldn’t really pinpoint a year. Probably the late 1800s somewhere.

Of Cora, Nellie, and Michiko, I definitely liked Michiko the best, but I respected the abilities of all three of them. Cora’s knowledge and ability to invent thrilled me, because I have an interest in building and creating things as well. However, I wasn’t overly fond of Cora otherwise. I’m not sure exactly why ~ she just seemed to have that typical main-character feel about her, and I never really like main characters. I guess there’s just something too much the same about how they think and reason that chafes against my own logic.

Nellie was a bit too girly and sparkly for me, but her lockpicking and escaping abilities were fascinating, because ~ like with Cora’s inventing ~ I have an interest in them as well. I hope to someday acquire a lockpicking kit. There’s just something about being able to get in anywhere that makes you feel like you have the keys to the city (which I suppose that in a way you do, without actually having them).

Michiko’s discipline and fighting skill were obviously my favorite to read about, since martial arts are my favorite thing. But I think the reason I like her best is because, despite the language barrier she has to deal with, she is really quite intelligent and has good logic and understanding of what’s happening around her, even though she’s unaccustomed to it. I found her samurai teachings to be most interesting.

Another character I would like to mention is Michiko’s young friend Hayao. His running ability intrigued me to no end. Running, jumping, and climbing have always been a thrill of mine, and seeing him do it so effectively and flawlessly was breathtaking (okay, I suppose I didn’t technically “SEE” him doing it ~ but when I read a book, my head plays a movie).

What I liked about this book was that they got together, worked together, and finally found the person they were looking for, but then found out that that person didn’t actually commit all the crimes they were trying to solve. It really left quite a lot open, and it had the potential to be 600 pages instead of 437, if the author had gone into more detail putting together the plan to solve what was left. All of the crimes WERE eventually solved, but it could have been more interesting filling in the final blanks.

-“You feel pain. You feel surprise. An unexpected moment happened and you reacted. But why? We can feel, we can think, we can react without having to share this information. Discipline and control allow the samurai to internalize every moment. Distraction can be deadly.“-

I absolutely LOVE all the samurai stuff in this book because I have done some research on ancient Japanese martial arts, and discipline is basically the entire foundation of it. Discipline is the one thing Michiko has that makes her the character she is, and I find it fascinating seeing someone with so much of it. It’s so difficult to find in America these days. I also liked the fact that she struggled slightly with one samurai teaching, which she considered to be the one thing keeping her from being a proper samurai ~ the fear of death. Fear is a powerful thing in every person’s life, and seeing a warrior like Michiko struggling with the same thing everybody else does was really comforting.

-“Girl Friday. You know the term. ‘Man Friday.’ Like in Robinson Crusoe. A person who’s always there to help. A person without whom I’d be lost. Only, of course, you’re a girl…not some island native…“-

It seems like every book I pick up has something in it that I can vybe with. That’s just the beauty of books, I suppose. This time it happened on the last page. I read Robinson Crusoe only once, and it wasn’t the original ~ it was slightly changed for kids ~ but I still understand the meaning of the term “Man Friday,” even though I’ve never heard anyone actually use it.

The concept of having a Dude Friday (using “dude” because it has become gender-neutral) fits right in with my idea of the perfect best friend, and that’s why I find it such an endearing term. I think I shall use it. Perhaps if I find the perfect best friend I shall nickname them Friday. After all, everybody loves Fridays.