The Worst Ronin (Paperback)

The Worst Ronin By Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Faith Schaffer (Illustrator) Cover Image

The Worst Ronin (Paperback)

$18.99


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May/June 2024 Kids Indie Next List


“Energetic from the start with messy, but lovable, characters. This whole story is full of so much humor, paired with some very tender moments and lots of REVENGE. Couldn’t have asked for a better fast-paced graphic novel.”
— Kaitlyn Mahoney, Under the Umbrella Bookstore, Salt Lake City, UT

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.

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.


Product Details ISBN: 9780358464938
ISBN-10: 0358464935
Publisher: HarperAlley
Publication Date: May 21st, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English

“Maggie Tokuda-Hall's writing is a constant stream of pleasure. Faith Schaffer's art is gorgeously expressive and overflowing with fun. The best swords-and-cell phones epic you will read this year or any year for that matter.” — Jordan Morris, author of Bubble and Youth Group

“The Worst Ronin is filled with glee, heartbreak, and hilarity. A laugh-out-loud buddy story that kept me riveted. I love these gals so much!” — MariNaomi, author and illustrator of the Life on Earth trilogy

The Worst Ronin is a wickedly enchanting samurai adventure full of humor and even more heart. Faith Schaffer's captivating illustrations bring to life Tokuda-Hall's deeply emotional story in such a way that made this experience a sheer delight from the first panel to the last.” — Terry J. Benton-Walker, bestselling author of Blood Debts and Alex Wise vs the End of the World  

The Worst Ronin is a heartfelt and hilarious journey of self-discovery and worth. Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s delightful writing and Faith Schaffer’s wonderfully expressive art will you keep you engaged and delighted from start to finish. A dream team bringing a dream of a graphic novel to life!” — Stephanie Cooke, author of Pillow Talk and Oh My Gods

“In the grand tradition of Ronin and Yokai stories comes this epic collaboration between Maggie Tokuda Hall and Faith Schaffer. Full of dark adventures and epic sword fights, this book sits well with tales like Demon Slayer and Inuyasha.” — Victoria Ying, Harvey Award Winning author of Hungry Ghost!

“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

“Entertaining and empowering.” — Kirkus Reviews

Thematically bold and consistently inventive, The Worst Ronin should not be missed. I cheered at the ending. — Matt Braly, creator of Amphibia

“A samurai story for a new generation. Rising stars Tokuda-Hall and Schaffer partner to create an approachable, surprisingly funny, and female-forward story. Skilled panel layouts and epic action sequences add emotional tension while also creating a solid setting reminiscent of the worldbuilding in Nadia Shammas and Sara Alfageeh’s Squire. Purchase for any graphic novel collection.” — School Library Journal