Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Lotus War #1
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Synopsis: Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.
But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.
Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she’s determined to do something about it.
Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?
My thoughts: This book was brilliant! It blew my mind to smithereens. Stormdancer has had a lot of hype and a lot of praise so I was very excited to read this. I read the book and I loved it! The idea of a steampunk Japan-inspired world was original and worked very well with the story. The book was exciting and memorable. There were telepathic thunder tigers, steampunk awesomeness, clockwork armor, and chainsaw Katanas.
The writing was beautiful. Filled with great prose and very detailed writing. It seemed like every word was carefully examined before being placed in a sentence. The way the world in the book was written was strong and filled with detail. I could clearly imagine and understand how horrible the polluted world that Yukiko lived in was. I loved this about the book but I found that in the beginning that all the descriptive writing made the already slow introduction to the world even slower. I believe that if the beginning was rewritten with less descriptions mixed with more telling about the world and history of Shima I would have enjoyed it far more.
Ounce the thunder tiger is introduced I became absorbed in the story immediately. Buruu is beautiful, fierce, and magnificent. I also thought he was quite hilarious. I loved the relationship between Buruu and Yukiko. Both became stronger and more knowing after becoming friends and eventually growing a very strong bond. Yukiko was a great heroine and she felt very real. She struggled but she fought and never gave up. There are many other characters that I loved: Masaru, Akihito, Kin, Kasumi, Michii, and the Shogun (because I thought he was a great villain). The characters in this story breathed in a lot of life into the book.
Stormdancer was filled with a lot of action-filled fight scenes and the detailed writing made battles very bloody. I also liked how the politics of the empire were written. I was always able to understand the politics of the world and I appreciate that. The dying land of Shima’s history and world all felt real even though it was fictional. The greed of the Shogun and the people fighting against him were very interesting to read about. The ending was amazing and sad.
Some might be bothered with the inaccuracy in the Japanese customs and culture. I was not bothered by this at all and I was able to enjoy the book immensely.
I believe that Stormdancer was a fantastic and unique story that many will love. This book is a great start to a series and I loved it.