Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Book Description via Goodreads:


August 21, 2012, Pan Macmillan Australia (AU)
September 1, 2012, Thomas Dunne Books (US)

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?

Source: Charlotte & Pan Macmillan Australia (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Post-reading reaction:

I just closed Stormdancer a few minutes ago and I’m speechless! This is what I’m thinking of right now: WOW. It’s the most perfect, most exciting, most everything book I’ve ever read. Period. I tend to read and prefer romantic books but when it came to this, I pushed away my romantic-self in a dark corner of my mind, opened the ARC and started reading. Guess what? I was hooked from the beginning.

Post-post-reading reaction:

The story world that Kristoff built was magnificent and highly imaginative in mind-blowing proportions. Shima was a group of islands covered in chi fumes, bowing under the demands of its Shogun, Yoritomo-no-miya, burnt and damaged. The Shogunate was being run by chi from the blood lotus flower which was destroying the land and enslaving the people with its addicting smoke. I liked the Japanese influence that spilled all over the pages. As a girl who loved anime ever since I was a kid, I didn’t struggle with the terms. I’m familiar with half of them, plus there’s a helpful glossary at the book so readers won’t feel lost.

Yukiko was an easy character to like. She was fierce, kickass yet down to earth and concerned with other people. She had a strong stand against killing people. She was fine with killing onis though. I like that she wanted to keep her hands clean from human blood. But just like other teens, she crushed on cute guys, too, and she preferred the green-eyed ones. I loved seeing Yukiko grow as a character. She started as a simple hunter who deeply cared about animals and the people around her but her stay with Buruu on the Iishi mountains molded her and hardened her to some extent. She was no longer just Yukiko, she carried a wildness, a fierceness and a strength in her that went beyond her humanity – she was manifesting Buruu’s attributes.

I enjoyed everything about the Japanese mythology in this book, from the creation myth wherein Izanagi and Izanami starred, to the children of Raijin, God of Thunder, to the magnificent arashitora, and to the twisted, grinning onis from the depths of Yomi. It was something new for me and it appealed to my mythology-crazy self.

The characters were not only interesting but they were also well-developed. There was a background story for every character; I got to know all of them, down to the minor characters. Kin-san was one of the touching characters. For me, he was fragile – physically and emotionally. I felt for him. Buruu, the arashitora, was undeniably mesmerizing. Mighty and fierce, he could take down several oni any time of the day. What I loved about him was how he became humanized: he was perceptive and easily learned human concepts. Above all, I found him cute especially when he was protective and when he would offer the warmth of his wings to shelther Yukiko from the cold.

One of the things I liked about Stormdancer was the action. It was beautiful in a lethal and elegant manner. The attention to the detail of the weapons and to every move, and the breathtaking writing delivered thrilling action that could rival that of Legend and Divergent. Another point was the humor. At times I just couldn’t stop laughing after reading certain scenes. Kristoff’s humor clicked with me – almost sarcastic, playful and witty.

With an unforgettable, tantō-wielding heroine, wave after wave of loss, pain, and betrayal, an onslaught of humor, unpredictability and razor-sharp action, Stormdancer is perfection. This novel is exciting steampunk adventure, rich fantasy and kickass action rolled into one. I highly recommend this to reader of dystopia, steampunk and fantasy! If you’re looking for action, adventure, or badassness, Stormdancer is the book for you!



  1. You got to read it! I've been salivating over this book since I first read Jay's blog. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

  2. Can't wait to read this book! Should be getting my copy very, very soon. Anyway great review! Nice to hear it's so awesome!

  3. I cannot wait for this book! I actually got accepted on Net Galley but I can't load it to the Kindle T__T you sure did justice on this book Precious! I need to get this book as soon as it's out!

    We Fancy Books

  4. Woooot!!!! I loved thus book too! It was so so amazing!!! It started out a little slow though and it took me some time to get into the story, bu the world building? AMAZING!

  5. SO glad you liked it, thanks Precious :D

  6. This looks so good! I'm not sure if we get it in the UK...will bea real shame if we don't. Steampunk and Japan isn't your normal mix, and the rest of the plot looks good too.