Monday, September 17, 2012

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff [ARC REVIEW]

Stormdancer
(The Lotus War #1)
by Jay Kristoff
 Summary from 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 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.

A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL
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."

Rating:

Readers, step into the world of Stormdancer, and feast your eyes into a fantastical realm like no other!

Yukiko, proud descendant of the Fox clan, and daughter of the great hunter, Masaru, stands witness to the environmental destruction brought by humans to the land of Shima. While the once rich and beautiful land achingly dies from the treacherous, toxic Lotus plant; as the sky bleeds red from all the pollution; while men continue to create diabolical machines, and as the rich and powerful thrive and the poor starve and die, the empire’s Shogun, driven by greed and ambitiousness, sends Masaru and his company, along with Yukiko, to capture a thunder tiger. Thunder tigers have long been known to be extinct, along with all the other great spirit animals that once roamed the lands. Although knowing that the task at hand is impossible, defiance and failure of the Shogun’s orders only mean death, and so the hunters go forth.

Goodness, have they been blessed to seize one, in spite of all the odds! But Yukiko has just about run out of luck. She finds herself stranded in the wilderness with the crippled thunder tiger. And here is where Yukiko uncovers something within her, something she has kept secret for fear of her own life. Now she must use it to save herself, to save her loved ones, to save a friendship she has just earned, and most of all to save an empire…

Before anything else, I would first like to apologize to Mr. Jay Kristoff, to Yukiko, Masaru, the rest of the Stormdancer characters, and most especially to Buruu (I love you by the way), for having doubts about this book when I started reading it. I’m sorry. I was just too confused with the lore, names, and whatnot that I thought this was going to be bad. Add the fact that I was having trouble loading the copy I got from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. I wanted to read the map so badly but damn it, it won’t open properly, and my ereader was hanging. In my defence that was not my fault, but please do accept my sincere apology, because this was, without a doubt, so freakin’ awesome!!!

The Shima world was incredibly vivid and outstanding; hats off to Jay Kristoff for creating a world that, although brutal and disturbing, brought about a great story with a solid historical foundation, and a very interesting mix of mythological creatures. The juxtaposition of Japanese culture with dystopian and steampunk genus is truly remarkable. Even though I had difficulty settling into such a world, I was completely drawn to it once I got the hang of it. I couldn’t get enough of Yukiko’s world!

The characters are well established. They’re very distinct, even though I had a hard time keeping up with their names; I’m horrible when it comes to remembering names so I guess you can see where I come from. I won’t go into details about each and every one of them anymore, but let me tell you how much I valued the kind of relationship Yukiko and Buruu had developed. Now, I know Buruu isn’t a pet to Yukiko but I can kind of see their relationship build into something similar. The bond of a master and his/her animal friend is really strong and deep. I should know I have four dogs after all. And knowing what Buruu is and what Yukiko is capable of only makes that kind of bond run deeper and more meaningful. Seriously, every pain these two characters felt was like slowly driving a knife to my heart. Yes, I was crying; like that’s a surprise! Hello? Bleeding heart here. LOL. I felt like I was part of the gang all throughout their journey, I laughed with them, cried with them, and I relished each moment. That’s how much Buruu touched my heart. I wish I can find one like him. Ha, ha!

Jay Kristoff’s writing may be a bit too descriptive but he makes up for it through breath-taking action scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Once Yukiko goes bad ass, and joins forces with Buruu, I couldn’t put the book down. Also, I have to note that you have to be patient when the narratives come along, because in spite of how long it may seem, it all falls into place at some point. You’ll be happy you stuck through it since a lot of things will make sense once the pieces are all put together.

Love, action, betrayal and a whole lot more – this book has it all, definitely my kind of fantasy book. Although this is a series, I’m glad this part of the story came to a fitting ending, and not the annoying cliff-hanger type. There are more adventures to come for Buruu and Yukiko, and I can’t wait to see them!

*Thank you St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the copy of Stormdancer.

2 comments:

  1. I feel you, I hate that they didn't release a Kindle format for this book. I think I'm going blind trying to read the galley and it sure takes away my pleasure of reading the story. I still have like 300 pages to read. Ugh!

    Talk Supe
    Reader Tribute

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my! You're the second person I know that had trouble too with the eformat. Bummer! But I hope you keep reading it, I swear after I finished it, felt totally worth the trouble. :)

      Delete

I really appreciate your thoughts and I hope you take the time to drop me a line. Thanks! ^_^