Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

Book Description:

Hardcover, 464 pages
September 17th 2013, Pan Macmillan Australia

The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC, 605 pages

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

My Thoughts:

Stormdancer rocked my world, and yet, it was just the tip of the iceberg. In the sequel, Kinslayer, the action, world building, character development went up an entirely different level. The Shiman Empire was on the brink of chaos, war and further corruption. With the throne empty, the Kage rebels and Yukiko had the chance to change the future of their empire. However, with the threat of the new Daimyo, hungry for power and revenge, they needed to fight twice as hard or the rebellion would just as easily be snuffed out.

The story unfolded from various points of view: Yukiko and Buruu, No One, Michi, Kin, and the Daimyo. Although the third-person point of view was maintained, it was easy to hear the distinct voice of each one of these characters. Thus, Kinslayer offered a broader landscape, encompassing the struggle of not only one girl but an entire population, from the Kage rebellion, to the political Daimyo and the Guildsmen, and finally to the people, who stand on neither side, choosing to remain out of it all. I love diversity, not just in color, but in perception and personalities. Kinslayer was deep and dark. Kristoff did an amazing job in making me see, understand and live Yukiko’s time in different skins and minds.

Another thing that I loved about Kinslayer was the character development. Not one character remained the same. Yukiko’s Kenning was getting stronger and stronger, becoming almost uncontrollable for her. It felt like the world was on her shoulders, its great weight bearing down on her, unbearable. The Kage look up to her for support, beyond that they saw her as the Stormdancer and The Girl all Guildsmen Fear. In reality, she was just a girl who lost her father, her brother and her mother. She was alone, save for Buruu who she treated like a brother. In an effort to search for answers about the Kenning, she journeyed far from the Kage and Shima. Would she get back in time, with answers and determination to finish what she started?

Kin was the Guildsman who left everything to help Yukiko. Despite his efforts and loyalty, the Kage members still perceived him as an enemy. He had to live with beatings, never-ending verbal assault, and ever-present looks of distrust and sometimes, even anger. I was really frustrated with how the Kage treated Kin. It simply wasn’t rational and justified. Isao and company was the receiving end of my death glares as I read on. After all these mistreatments, Kin was starting to doubt himself and his place in the Kage. With Ayane, the girl from the Guild, suffering along with him in the village, he had another reason to believe that they did not belong there.

The other characters such as Hana, Yoshi, Jurou, Michi and Ichizo pulled me into their stories and held me captive. I ached, hurt, laughed and worried over them. The trio Hana, Yoshi and Jurou were the closest to me after Yukiko and Buruu. Hana and Yoshi were clanless siblings who fought to survive on a daily basis. All the things that went through and were still going through just pained me. There was also a little bit of LGBT love in Jurou and Yoshi's relationship. They were partners in crime, bound together by their destiny.

Kinslayer was electrifyingly good in earth-shattering proportions. This book has everything that I love: action (the kind that is bloody and movie-like), unpredictability (the kind that leaves you sputtering), epic world-building (the kind that makes your eyes bug out and your jaw drop), ever-changing characters (the kind that surprises you and shocks you), and of course, mythology (the kind that is simply so exotic). I highly recommend this series to dystopian and fantasy readers! If you're looking for Japanese-mythology-related-YA (like Ink by Amanda Sun), then go for Kinslayer.


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

1 comment:

  1. Great review, Precious. I haven't read this series yet but this post single-handedly prodded me in the right direction.