This is the 4th book in the series after Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl all got their own books and this one is finally a breath of fresh air of newness. The first 3 books all focus on the concept of a new girl coming to school, struggling to fit in and accepting her place at this elite new school. There were slight variations on the theme, but that's basically it. Wonder Woman and Supergirl felt very similar as they both dealt with similar issues and Batgirl had slightly different perspective, but it still felt like we've tread over this material before.
With Katana, we've finally got a new perspective. Katana is not the new girl at school, she's established with friends from the previous books and while she makes a new friend in this book, it was organic and part of the story. So it all worked really, really well. The basic plot is that Katana disappears after trying to get the cake for Batgirl's celebration of being Hero of the Month. With Katana missing or late, something that she never is, her friends go looking for her with a little help from the often invisible and incredibly shy Miss Martian. Katana is found in the tunnels under the school in water with 100 swords surrounding her. The group gathers up the swords and helps Katana. Katana gets a strange message via a shell and a mystery begins, one that will carry over for the entire book.
While trying to solve her mystery, Liberty Belle, the history instructor, has given out assignments to all the students to look into their past to inform their future, so Katana has to contact her family to begin unraveling some of the secrets of her own past and her grandmother's legacy as a great Samurai warrior. One of the best parts in this is Big Barda regularly chiming in that she's not so thrilled about looking into her past since she comes from Apokolips. Her lineage is all villains and evil, but Supergirl and the others encourage her to use her past to explain why she'll be a great hero in the future. It's so good.
Ultimately the story unfolds with a big battle and Katana shining bright during it. There is reference to Japanese mythology as well as Lisa Yee sneaking in a reference to Japanese-American hero, Tsunami. That made me super happy especially after Tsunami, a WWII era hero, is being excluded from DC Bombshells comic which is going to delve into the history and treatment of Japanese-American people during WWII and the interment camps, which is Tsunami's entire story and heroic arc, but it's going to be given to characters that have historically been white that will be Japanese for the Bombshells world. Either way, it's glad to see Tsunami won't be completely forgotten and that in a book for young girls, she gets a mention and nod.
Over all, I think unlike Summer Olympus, this book is perfect for anyone especially young girls that want to be warriors, artists, fashionistas, and save the world!