Review & Giveaway: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff - Blog Tour
StormdancerStormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Lotus War #1
Published by: St. Martin's Press on September 18, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Mythology, Steampunk
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
Buy on AmazonGoodreads
Rating: ★★★★★

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.
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.
TO EAT?

Stormdancer ARC, Page 127

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?
Shhh.
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.

Stormdancer ARC, Pages 131-132

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!

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff Thunder Tiger Edition Fan Art Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff Fan Art
Click the images to enlarge them!

Giveaway

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!

Giveaway Rules

  • This giveaway is open to United States and Canadian residents only.
  • You must be 13 or older.
  • Only one entry is allowed per household. Entering again under another e-mail address or IP address is not permitted.
  • All entries will be verified. If you submit an entry but didn’t complete the task, your entry will be disqualified.
  • Winner will be notified via e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond. If no response is given, I will select a new winner.
  • Winner will have to provide me with a valid shipping address. This address will be passed along to the publishers, as they will be mailing the prize.
  • I am not responsible for any prizes that get lost in the mail.
  • Do not list your e-mail in the comments section! This is for your privacy and security! I will automatically get your e-mail through Rafflecopter.
  • For more information, read my full giveaway policy.
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The Verdict

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34 comments

  1. Holy shit! Why did I not know this was going on? HOW DID I NOT KNOW?! I must have been sleeping in a cave. I would love the fuck out of this book if I ever got it. It’s so far up my alley that I knew I would love it even when the only cover it had was the shitty UK one with the girl with fluffy pants. And now this. *drool*

    Sierra recently posted: Updates at permashift!
  2. I’ve seen this around the bloga but I had no idea,it was so amazing. You’re right. U definitely need to get,my hands on a copy!

  3. Oh Ashley your reviews always make me happy! Just happy! I LOVED all the quotes and .. Burruu!! He was fanfreaking phenomenal – the very best! But you know I felt a little more sad about the romance… I mean … what happened to .. him?!?!? Like SERIOUSLY??

    I hope I do not offend any male author, because that’s not my intention, but such a twist could only come from a man.. *rolls eyes* (just in case there are some male authors reading this, I love you all to pieces!!!!)

  4. I have been stalking this book for about 2 months now. Not long, I know. It may just be infatuation and not deep, endless love. But I am willing to get cuddly with this book to find out!
    I saw the book trailer for it this morning. Genius!

    nrlymrtl recently posted: R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII
  5. How did I not see the blog tour! I’m so excited for Stormdancer. I’m obsessed with Japanese culture. I was so happy when I found this book and realized it had Japanese names. I would’ve pre-ordered 10 copies of this if I had the money to ><". Thanks sososososo much for the giveaway! (*???)

  6. I’m not one who’s prone to overstatement but this does sound like a very good book.
    I’ve certainly heard excellent reviews of it from many people whose opinions I deeply respect.
    So, without resorting to unrestrained hyperbola, I’ll just say…

    BRING THIS MAMA ON!!!

    Thank you

  7. This book sounds amazing! I love a good quest and a character that can hear a tiger’s thoughts just adds to the story! I can’t wait to read this book! Thanks for this amazing giveaway – I would love to win!

  8. I am so freaking excited to read STORMDANCER I entered the Raiders of the Last ARC to try to win the last ARC in existence, and I went all out and posted it all here: http://gdonaldcribbsbooks.blogspot.com/2012/07/raiders-of-last-arc-official-entry-for.html

    Sadly, I did not win. Kudos to those who did win. Jay did send me a copy of the Littlest Stormdancer, which I promply read to my four boys. It only increases my anticipation of the actual book. And, I’ve already read the first 3 chapters available online at TOR, so I know it’s truly epic and badass. I would be thrilled to win and can’t wait to review it all over the place.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    G. Donald Cribbs recently posted: GUTGAA: Gearing Up To Get An Agent Author Bio
  9. Definitely sounds really good! I didn’t even know the US release date was coming up that quickly! I feel like I’ve been waiting forever, and now that it’s almsot here, I’m like WHAT?! lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. I loved your review, I did have to skip bits because I was afraid of getting too much of the story but I did enjoy reading the parts I did.

    I’m definitely excited about reading Stormdancer.

  11. Ahh I want this SO BAD. First of all, this is the most beautiful cover I have ever laid eyes on…even if the story were in fact terrible, I’d STILL want it so I could sit and stare at it for hours on end. But I have heard such fabulous things about it, and a story about griffins?! Yes please!!

  12. The Thunder Tiger sounds hilarious and though it has been said many times before the U.S. cover of this book is simply gorgeous!! The excerpts you have hear is making it so hard to wait for the upcoming release! Thanks for the chance at this great giveaway!

  13. So. Stinkin. Excited. All of the interviews with Jay have been amazing and made me more excited, and I just saw the book trailer. Best. Book trailer. EVER. Loved it in a huge way. Can’t wait for this book to be in my hands. Thanks for the chance to win!

  14. I admit, though I had heard great things about it and I planned on reading it once it came out, I then saw the book trailer I told myself this book is a must!

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