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Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff

Title: Stormdancer
Series: The Lotus War #1

Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Pages: 359
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Source: Ebook
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The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shogun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shogun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shogun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

After reading Illuminae last year and falling in love, I knew that I had to read this series too! I am so very glad that I did! This book is like nothing I've ever read. There is Feudal Japanese culture mixed with mythical Japanese creatures, steampunk elements, and a science fiction/dystopian hybrid feel. All of the Japanese elements are very authentic. All the elements that are brought together for this story are incredible.

Simply put, I am going to be honest and say that I didn't connect with this book in the beginning. But by the time I finished this book I was entranced by this story. Some books just start off slow or confusing, but end up being a book that you love. I rarely ever stop reading a book before it is finished for this very reason. With this book, there is a lot of Japanese terminology to get used to. Once you do, things start flowing nicely. I went back and read passages more than once because I was confused and I wasn't used to the Japanese culture displayed in the book. At first, I thought that this would negatively impact the way I felt about this book, but it didn't. The story really speaks for itself. By the time you get to the end you are in love.

One of the best things about this book is how involved the world building is. There is just so much in this world. There are so many elements of this story. This world is complex and unique. I have seriously never read about a world quite like this one. I just love it!

The characters are very interesting. Each character has secrets and they have their own agendas. I also love that one of the main characters in this book is a mythical creature! How cool is that? His name is Buruu. The way that he connects with Yukiko, the heroine of the story, is amazing. At first Buruu despises Yukiko, but they have to depend on one another to survive. This leads them to become like siblings by the end of the book. It is such a growth for each of them. The other characters are just as involved. Kin was a character that I think I loved most. He is a young man that was born into a world that he is bound to, but does not want to be a part of. I really felt for him. And while I couldn't figure out Masaru, Yukiko's dad, at first, I really felt for him by the end of the book.

The diversity of this book really spoke to me. In the world of young adult books filled with Caucasian heroines and fantastical lands overwhelmed with elves and magic and the like, this book is a breath of fresh air.

This is just one of those books that you have to experience for yourself. I highly recommend this unique story. Don't let the Japanese terminology discourage you. After you get a hang of the words and the meanings, this book is one of the most original stories that you will ever read.


Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE LOTUS WAR, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE. He is the winner of two Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named multiple times in the Kirkus and Amazon Best Teen Books list and published in over twenty-five countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6’7 and has approximately 13030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell. He does not believe in happy endings.


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