Written by: Joe Hempel
Jason Ridler takes the plot point of an old coach looking to gain his former glory and a severe underdog fighter and turns it on its head in A Triumph for Sakura!
The place is Cascadia, a sort of dystopian US/Canada taking after the War Internal, where vampires, yes, vampires take over the world and divide the population in two.
Ned Bangs, a vampire, and a coach, once had a human fighter enter the cage and go one on one with a vampire fighter, the only human that they thought could win, but got completely torn to pieces. He lost everything in that fight and moved to the slums.
Years later he finds Sakura, defending herself against a group of three entitled women vampires and coming out on top. Taking her under his wing he trains her, sets up fights, and sets up a big reveal that she is in fact a girl, and tries to push her to fight in the Cascadia Arena.
You root for Sakura all the way in this. Her fighting style is intense, and she leaves nothing behind in the cage. Yet she’s a quiet reserved type, only wanting to keep her families theater afloat. It’s a stark contrast to the outspoken Ned Bangs. He’s jaded, he’s been there, and done that, and wants one more chance at glory and sees Sakura as it.
Through the entire book the action is bloody and frightening. He describes in great detail every grisly break or death. Even culminating with Sakura standing on a pile of bodies performing some sort of scene from a crazy old school Kung Fu flick. The best thing about all of this is that the fights make sense. He doesn’t insult the intelligence of fight fans. Each death, each break, each eye popping eye gouge (yes eyes do get ripped out, in bloody detail), could all happen in the circumstances described.
The girls are sexy, the violence is over the top bloody, and the writing is slick, terrifying at times, and paced perfectly.
It’s a 5 out of 5 for me in this bloody, action filled fight fest! If you love stories of the underdog, and want a different, horrific twist on it, then you want to pick this up. It’s $2.99. Skip the McDonalds Big Mac meal and feed your bloodthirsty mind!
Order A Triumph for Sakura here.