Niya Moto's samurai school is a bit unconventional. While his teacher is the famous (but ancient) Ki-Yaga, he and his classmates all have physical disabilities that disqualified them from admittance to other samurai schools. Niya has one leg, Mikko has one arm, Yoshi has a secret past and refuses to fight, Kyoto (a girl), has six fingers and toes, and Taji is blind. Known as the Cockroach Ryu, Ki-Yaga's students train daily in preparation for the upcoming Annual Samurai Trainee Games, where they will face the Dragon Ryu, Eagle Ryu, and other respected samurai schools. Will the wise and unpredictable Ki-Yaga really prepare them to take on these talented - and physically "perfect" - competitors? While clearly a work of fiction, this is a fast-paced story with memorable characters who learn to work together and appreciate each other's special talents. In Owl Ninja, Niya and his classmates team up with a clan of ninjas in order to stop a war. By Sandy Fussell, 240 pgs, pb.