The Worst Ronin

Regular price $ 18.99

by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Illustrated by Faith Schaffer

Harper Alley

5/21/2024, paperback

SKU: 9780358464938


When an unlikely pair of female samurai join forces, what begins as your run-of-the-mill quest for glory and revenge evolves into something much more complicated. Turns out fighting actual demons doesn't mean you're not running from your own internal ones. Nimona meets Attack on Titan in this edgy, unexpectedly hilarious, genre-defying young adult graphic novel.

Being a samurai isn't easy. Sixteen-year-old Chihiro Ito knows that more than anyone. Her father is renowned among the samurai, but the only thing Chihiro is known for is spending way too much time on her phone obsessing over Tatsuo Nakano, Chihiro's idol and the first woman to be accepted into Kesi Academy, a prestigious samurai school.

So, when Chihiro's father is conscripted for service and the opportunity arises to work with Tatsuo in his stead, Chihiro jumps at the chance to prove that she's worthy of a spot at Kesi Academy and the samurai title. Their mission: kill the yamauba demon terrorizing a village. With a legendary samurai like Tatsuo by her side, Chihiro is convinced victory is inevitable. But Tatsuo isn't at all like the hero Chihiro imagined. Foulmouthed, quick tempered, and a terrible drunk, Tatsuo completely turned her back on the samurai way and is now a ronin working for hire as a means of escaping the grief that haunts her. Forced to work together, the two are thrust on a treacherous journey filled with epic battles and twisted conspiracies as they must put aside their differences to save the village and face the demons of the past.

Target age: 13 to 17


"Themes of self-determination, betrayal, revenge, feminism, and social justice are at the core of this fast-paced, twisty adventure." -- Horn Book (starred review)

"Incorporating modern technology and an offbeat contemporary tone, the authors offer an innovative blend of a modern and feudal Japan that balances weightier matters of loss and honor. Schaffer creates a commendably comedic and diverse medievalism in her myriad of goofy expressions, skin tones, and action-oriented art that well-suits the feminist, punk-rock tone of Tokuda-Hall's writing. Fans of Fumi Yoshinaga's Ooku: The Inner Chambers and N.D. Stevenson's Nimona will soon find themselves swearing fealty to this exciting new title." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

"Female samurai with cell phones and Wi-Fi turn feudal Japan upside down in this humorous, genre-bending graphic novel." -- Publishers Weekly

About the Contributors:

Maggie Tokuda-Hall is the author Also an Octopus, illustrated by Benji Davies; The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea; Squad, illustrated by Lisa Sterle; and Love in the Library, illustrated by Yas Imamura. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband, children, and objectively perfect dog.

Faith Schaffer is a designer and visual development artist for animation. Her art has been featured in Disenchantment, Amphibia, The Owl House, and more.