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Literature / Blood Ninja

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Blood Ninja is a 2009 action-fantasy novel written by Nick Lake.

The novel starts with young Taro's sickly father's death at the hands of ninja. Another ninja immediately pays a visit and assassinates the other ninja. He then convinces Taro's mother to fake her death and flee, giving her a messenger pigeon. Taro's own escape isn't easy, though - a horde of the first ninja's allies come to take him by force, and even with the backup of his best friend Hiro, Taro ends up dying in the fray.

Immediately the "good" ninja takes Taro and bites into his neck, effectively bringing him Back from the Dead, just in time to start the story. This ninja, named Shusaku, proceeds to explain how all ninja are vampires and, since Taro has been turned, he will also become a ninja. Together with Hiro, they will journey to the home base of Shusaku's ninja clan and later, find Taro's mother.

A sequel, Blood Ninja II: The Revenge of Lord Oda, was released in 2010. A second sequel will be released in 2012.

Do not confuse with bloodninja.

The novel and its sequel contain the following tropes

  • Bad Boss: Oda Nobunaga kills and maims those in his employ for the most insignificant reasons.
  • Berserk Mode: Taro gets locked into this after passing the Despair Event Horizon in a fight, and again after passing it halfway through the sequel. He snaps out of it both times.
  • Big Bad: Oda Nobunaga gets this again.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Shusaku, after getting burned virtually everywhere.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted. For a young adult novel, Blood Ninja can be quite bloody and gory at times.
  • Book Ends: Literally. The first novel's prologue and epilogue both describe Yukiko's Face–Heel Turn, from two different points of view.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Tokugawa is... rather odd, but extremely intelligent.
  • The Chessmaster: Tokugawa's said to be not just two steps ahead - he's playing a whole different game.
  • Driven by Envy: The male Kawabatas. Kawabata-tousan killed Shusaku's love because he wanted her and the son has burning desire to beat and kill Taro.
  • Escaped from Hell: Subverted with Kenji Kira, who does escape from hell, but by sneaking out through a door someone left open.
  • Healing Factor: Vampires heal really quickly.
  • High-Pressure Blood: The ending of the second novel has someone literally explode into blood. Yes, that's right.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Both Shusaku and Heiko, until Shusaku comes back.
  • Honor Before Reason: Taro holds this sort of mentality, but Shusaku repeatedly warns him of its impracticality.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Oda ruined his right arm in a former battle, but regained his sword-saint status by training his left arm, except that he found out that while his right arm is weak, it's still fast...
  • Instant Expert: Everyone - or at least, all the ninja students - are said to "progress to the sword ... naturally, as if they hand spent their early childhoods wielding katana".
  • Invisibility: Shusaku is Blessed with Suck - he had the Heart Sutra tattooed over his body, rendering him inivsible to other ninja. However he has to remove his clothes for it to work...and ninja burn in sunlight.
  • Ironic Echo: "You told me there was no honor in this .... Do you believe it still?"
  • King Incognito: Taro is Tokugawa's son, hidden in the village he grew up in. And Endo Shusaku was a former lord of Tokugawa's.
  • Life Drinker: Gaki, or hungry ghosts, maintain form and presence by feeding off the life of others. Taro can see them, humans can't.
  • Master of Unlocking: Taro takes Heiko on a mission with him specifically because she is this.
  • Never Learned to Read: Both Taro and Hiro. They were peasants, after all. In the sequel, Hana teaches Taro to read.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: All you really need to know about the novel is that it features vampire ninjas.
  • Orochi: Taro draws inspiration from this for a particular revenge scheme.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Well, for starters, they're ninjas.
  • Purple Prose: The author gets pretty florid describing Hana's beauty.
  • Put on a Bus: Taro's mom for book one. She returns in book two.
  • The Undead: We've got vampires, ghosts that feed off your life force, and walking skeletons by the end of the second novel.
  • Wham Line:
    • "The truth is, are Lord Tokugawa's son." closely followed by "Lord Endo Shusaku at your service."
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Heiko briefly pretends to be Taro so they kill her instead of him.
  • You Killed My Father: Oda sent the ninjas who killed Taro's dad. Well, not his biological father, but still...