Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff

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 Shōgun 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 Shōgun 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 Shōgun’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.
This book is a combination of Japanese mythology, steampunk and a little dystopian thrown in. If that isn't curious enough to get you to read this, may I say that I was enchanted with this unusual tale. I so love something different and imaginative and I do think it filled that title nicely.

I do have one criticism. It was with the beginning. I admit I had a hard time getting into this world at first, but when Yukiko, our heroine, was fully on her adventure, all doubt and slowness melted away and I could hardly put down this book. The adventure and the plot was interesting enough to keep my attention, but I have to admit I absolutely fell in love with the arashitora, or "storm-tiger". All I can say is that my snark quota was fully filled by this creature. Oh I really enjoyed this character!

I also loved the way Yukiko thought. She questioned everything including what was not encouraged to question by anyone. She not only examined others behavior and motivations, but she examined her own. How many people, let alone characters do that? This made me root for her even harder than I would have normally. I really think she earned the title of heroine.

In the end I give this unique and thrilling tale 4 1/2 stars. I am so glad I got to read this book and heartily recommend it to anyone looking for something different in an older YA. I also recommend it to those that like dystopian and steampunk.
I received this eARC from NetGalley and Macmillan and was thrilled when I finally got it to work (long story). No compensation for my review was given.

PS... you HAVE to check out this book trailer!!


  1. Oh I really want to try this one, everyone loved it, I'll have to give it a try.

  2. Oh it does sound right up your alley! I bet it was truly unique and yet a perfect read for you :) 4.5--can't hate that!

  3. Interesting. I'm intrigued by such a mix of styles - I mean Japanese mythology, steampunk and dystopian must be a rather unique combination.

  4. I;m so glad that you made it through this book. I DNF it. Not that it was bad this book just wasn't my style. You know what I mean? I thought I like it since I like fantasy, but no.

  5. I am over sixty percent through and loving this one. I know everyone keeps complaining about the slow start but I had no problems with it, I enjoyed detailed writing and incredible world building and this book has all that! I can't wait to finish!

  6. Wow, that's a very striking cover. And I love the sound of a Japanese steampunk book. I'll definitely make an effort to get a hold of this one. It's good that you warned me about the beginning, though, because I'll sometimes give up on a book early on if I have trouble getting into it.

  7. I liked the booktrailer :D
    And the book sure sounds good, I do think it could fit me

  8. Ha ha ha!! I love that trailer. :D And dang you!! You are just as dangerous to my WANT list and TBR pile as I think I might be to yours. LOL! I so do want this one. :) Thanks!!

  9. Melissa-

    Meant to get over here earlier! I knew you'd love the relationship between Yukiko and Buruu! He wasn't a dog, but still, gotta love your animal companion, even if he is a thunder tiger! I think Yukiko is the toughest character I have ever read in fiction ever. Stone cold blooded when needed.

    I know a lot of people had trouble with the beginning, but it was such foreign territory for me I was really scared I was gonna get hung up on names and ideas, so I was glad for the slow pace in the beginning.

    Excellent review and so glad to see such a high rating. Haven't seen one of those in quite awhile! YAY!

    Jay has a wicked sense of humor if you read his blog at all.

  10. I had a lot of trouble getting into the story as well-there was just so much description and world-building that had to be laid out. But I can see that it was all worth it for you so that's what really matters!


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