Series: The Lotus War #1
Published by: St. Martin's Press on September 18, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Mythology, Steampunk
Buy on Amazon • Goodreads
A DYING LAND
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.
AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Sh?gun 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 Sh?gun is death.
A HIDDEN GIFT
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 Sh?gun'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.
NOTE: Apparently there is a glossary of words at the back of the book. I didn’t realize this until I got to the very end — haha. But it would have been super useful for me during reading, so be sure to take a look (before you finish the book lol)!
After sucking us into the book with an epic fight scene, Stormdancer pulls back two weeks into the past and begins introducing us to the intricate world that the story is set in.
I have to admit I have a bit of a hard time getting settled into Stormdancer. The first 70 pages or so were a little.. overwhelming. The descriptions were often several pages long and a little confusing (riddled with Japanese words that I’d never heard before — see note above about the glossary!). Sometimes Kristoff spent so long setting one scene or event that my mind would just start to wander or I’d lose sight of the context. But once the action started, I got completely hooked!
One thing that surprised me about this book is that we actually got to read a chapter from the point of view of the thunder tiger! How AMAZING is that??? I totally did not expect this. It gave the thunder tiger a very real and human-like feel to it. I mean Yukiko describes the thunder tiger as being very intelligent, but I didn’t quite see that for myself until I got to read from its point of view, and then the thunder tiger quickly became my favourite character! I do wish we got more chapters from his point of view though. But at least his dialogue was frequent throughout the book and really developed his personality.
“She would be a pet, it decided.” Stormdancer ARC – The thunder tiger deciding that Yukiko would be its pet!
The thunder tiger (who Yukiko named Buruu) was always calling Yukiko funny names like “Insect” and “Monkey-Child.” I just loved how an animal really took the dominating role in this book. And Buruu was hilariously bloodthirsty as well.
ENOUGH NOISE. STAND ASIDE. I WILL GUT HIM.Stormdancer ARC, Page 127
Buruu stepped forward, a low growl building in the back of his throat. Yukiko glared at him over her shoulder, refusing to move.
We can’t kill him like this.
AH. YOU WISH TO LET HIM STARVE, THEN. SLOW DEATH. FITTING.
No, I think we should bring him with us.
Buruu blinked, cocked his head to one side.
And oh my god, sometimes Buruu acted like such a little kid.. or should I say thunder cub? I don’t know. But it’s like Buruu would get jealous when Yukiko spent more time talking to other people than to him. For example:
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?Stormdancer ARC, Pages 131-132
YOU ARE TALKING TOO MUCH TO HIM. TALK TO ME.
Buruu nudged her with his beak, almost knocking her over.
I DO NOT LIKE HIM.
Yukiko smiled to herself.
Are you jealous?
HE TALKS TOO MUCH. SCREECHING HURTS MY HEARS. HIS VOICE SOUNDS LIKE RUTTING MONKEYS. AND HE IS THIN. PASTY.
You are jealous!
FOOLISHNESS. I AM ARASHITORA. HE IS HUMAN. WEAK. PUNY.
Doesn’t he totally sound like a little kid who feels like he’s being ignored by his mom?? 😀 Or like, a clingy boyfriend feeling ignored by his girlfriend. I don’t know! But it was amusing!
But seriously.. OH MY GOD! When this book took off, it seriously took off. I absolutely adored watching Yukiko and Buruu’s relationship develop. And the book itself was packed full of revenge, hatred, and love. Buruu was the character with no censor, bluntly encouraging Yukiko to kill people, and making fun of her for wanting to “mate/couple” with someone. Ahhh!! It was just so awesome!
The best thing about Yukiko and Buruu is that they started out as almost complete opposites, but by the end they really meshed together and shared parts of their personalities. At the beginning Buruu is very one-sided, totally bloodthirsty, and arrogant. Yukiko is calmer, thinks things through, and avoids killing at all costs. She doesn’t want to kill unless it’s absolutely necessary (i.e. in self defense). Watching the two characters grow together, clash occasionally, and finally settle into some sort of middle ground together, was truly a delight!
The romance in this book is really interesting! It is far from the central plot of the book; it’s mostly a side story, or even a side story of a side story! But the small glimpses of romance were sexy and breathtaking! There is a little bit of a love triangle, but it doesn’t dominate the story, which I really appreciated. And then some serious craziness happens that I won’t mention to avoid spoilers, but just know that it’s like… Wow. Yeah. Let’s just say Jay Kristoff isn’t dead set on perfect romantic endings!
Okay so I’ll try to put epic kick-ass heroine, romance, and mythological creatures aside for one minute. In addition to that, this book is really a story about family vs. duty, the true meaning of honour, and about family. What does it take to forgive someone? There are many deep and intense messages in this book that are so beautifully intertwined with the story. And even further, we have an overbearing murderous tyrant, the dying land, the Lotus Guild, and more. There are just so many different sides to this story that everyone is bound to find at least one aspect that they enjoy!
As soon as I finished reading Stormdancer, I knew that I had to read it again. And again. It’s just one of those books that’s too amazing that you’re whipping right through it. Now I feel like it needs at least one more read for me to absorb every last drop of awesomeness that it has to give.
Stormdancer Fan Art
I already posted these in an earlier blog post, but here they are again! My Stormdancer fan art!
St. Martin’s Press is SO kind to be offering a finished, hardcover copy of Stormdancer for me to give away to one lucky winner! I am so thrilled to be able to share the Stormdancer love, because this book needs to be read by everyone like.. ASAP!
Fill out the below Rafflecopter to enter! Feel free to submit as many or as few entries as you like, but be sure to follow the rules. 🙂 This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only! Good luck!! If you don’t win, then you should still totally run out and buy this book.. or else I’ll send Buruu after you. Grr!
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