Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stormdancer (The Lotus Wars, Book 1) by Jay Kristoff

Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publication: September 18, 2012
By: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press

"Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves on the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test."

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.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for this ARC. I was really excited to read this and hoped it would live up to the hype - and IT.DID!  Stormdancer begins with a gorgeous cover and continues with fantastic characters who take you on a spellbinding journey of love, sacrifice and hope that left me in tears. (Ugly-cry sobbing is more like it.) 

This story sucked me in right away and Jay Kristoff is a master worldbuilder.  He transports the reader right into a Japan on the brink of war by painting such vivid pictures through sights, sounds and smells. (I kept catching myself covering my face, as if I could actually smell the stench.) The relationship between Yukiko and Buruu is honest and heart-aching in it's tenderness and left me wishing for a Buruu of my own. (Are you listening Santa?) 

Yukiko is definitely out numbered by men and Kin and Hiro are just two who find themselves rotating in her orbit.  One is quiet and determined while the other is a fierce warrior. Both are loyal in their dedication and it's that loyalty that might just be their undoing.    

Yukiko does every girl proud with her strength, beauty and stubbornness.  She doesn't do anything half way, whether it's fighting for what she believes in or loving those around her.  She makes a few mistakes and learns some tough lessons about love and friendship but it's not until she suffers a gut wrenching betrayal that she learns the true meaning of sacrifice.

The Lotus Wars has only just begun and I can't wait to see what happens next!



  1. Hey Jen...

    There are so many people dying for this one, but I'm still not sure about it.

    But I might give it a try since you loved it so much!