STORMDANCER (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff
YA Science Fiction/Fantasy
322 pages, hardcover
Available now (September 2012)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Review copy provided by publisher via Amazon Vine
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.
I drooled over the cover. I lusted after the contents. But once I got it in my hands, I worried that I'd hyped it up (and read too much hype) too much in my mind. So I held off reading it, staring mournfully at the cover, gently brushing the spine...procrastinating just in case it sucked.
But I needn't have worried. STORMDANCER, Yukiko and Buruu blew me away. Thrust into an alternate feudal Japan, I fell deep under the spell of the Lotus, my senses overwhelmed by the deadly world of thunder tigers and griffin hunters, psychotically obsessive Shoguns, and floating airships.
While the beginning wasn't the fastest-paced in the world and did tend to be a bit too info-heavy, the story took off like a rocket after that as Yukiko and her father leave to hunt down an extinct thunder tiger for the Shogun under threat of death.
Buruu needs to come home with me. He's gorgeous and brilliant and, oh yeah, a thunder tiger--a griffin. One of a small group of remaining griffins who've hidden away from the ridiculous and war-like humans who care nothing for the land. Captured and injured, he has no reason to care for the small human who rescues him but he grows to love Yukiko as she does him and together, they become an unstoppable pair that the Shogun would do well to fear.
I'm not sure I can wait an entire year for the next installment. Write faster, Jay Kristoff! I want to know what happens to Yukiko and Buruu now that all that stuff happened and...no, no. Spoilers!
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