Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

6 August, 2012 Reviews 11 comments

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Stormdancer by Jay KristoffStormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Lotus War #1
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on September 18th 2012
Pages: 313
Genres: High Fantasy, Steampunk, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Author
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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.

I need to take a moment to do something before beginning this review.

Stormdancer is a fantasy nerdgasm, written by a fantasy nerd, for the fantasy nerds – and if it sounds like I just pilfered some of the Gettysburg address then that’s because Abraham Lincoln riding a grizzly bear was just about the only damn thing missing from this book.

Image by Rando

Subsequently my life is now complete.

Stormdancer is a world one step removed from our own.  Imagined as a Japan with Steampunk technology and alternate history, choking the life out of itself by growing and harvesting the Blood Lotus – which fuels all their mechanical marvels.  And then there’s Yukiko.  Daughter of the Hunt Master, subject of the terrifying and cruel Shogun, impure yokai-kin sent on an impossible mission to find the mythical griffin and capture it for the Shogun.

Things I liked about Stormdancer:


The Writing










Obviously the scene stealer of this novel is Buruu.  Proud, funny, vicious, blood-thirsty and beautiful.  But characters aren’t enough to breath life into a novel.  What Stormdanver has is the near-perfectly constructed prose which transform this beautiful narrative into a sprawling epic.  Kristoff’s style is rich, whimsical and near lyrical in his form and structure.  Novice’s to fantasy may either get swept away  or drown if it’s too deep for their skill level.

Clearly a great deal of tender loving care has gone into Kristoff’s stunning debut, as visible from every single page labored with meaty lore, obsessive detail and great imagination.  Some may enjoy the subtle, or not so subtle, nods to other fantasy and science fiction that litter this book.  The plot and pacing keep up a steady stream of interest and enthusiasm, I felt.  Making this book exceptionally readable and enjoyable.

And now that I have gotten all the obligatory serious discussion and annoying stuff that I have to do to be taken seriously as book blogger out of the way, may I just mention one, juvenile thing that I rather enjoyed:

Original picture by Cory Doctorow – alteration inspired by Darkstarz

All the jizzworthy toys. Yes!  Great characters, writing, world-building, plot, pacing, blah-blah-blah… GIVE ME MY CHAINSAW KATANA, KRISTOFF!

The mechanized armor and sky ships and CHAINSAW FUCKING KATANAS and tattoos and the hundred other little Steampunk-y ideas that filled this novel up and made it stand out above the rest!  I LOVE IT!  I LOVE IT!  I LOVE IT!

Ah… erm, that is all…

Buy this book.  Buy it and read it and love it.  Then make me a chainsaw Katana.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

11 Responses to “Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff”

  1. cynicalsapphire

    Hahaha, I’m pretty sure I wrote in my review (not up yet) that Buruu stole the show. He’s the best. He made me love ALL CAPS again.
    Jay Kristoff is composed of awesome.

  2. BlookGirl

    LOL. Glad you loved this, considering all the hype. I’ll be reading this within the next 2-3 weeks and I’m a little nervous, but more excited 🙂

  3. Kate C.

    *sigh*  At this point in time, I probably WOULD offer up my firstborn for a crack at this book.  Also, you never said if you cried or not.  I must know.

  4. Annika

    Oh wow, I usually don’t read YA but I think I will have to read this book, it sounds awesome!

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