Title: Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release date: September 18th 2012
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Buy it at: Amazon | B&N | BookDepository
Read first chapters here.
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.
Since I saw the cover, I knew I had to read this book ... yes, I do pick a book by its cover and after reading the synopsis I knew I had to read it. I must confess that I struggle with the first 70 pages, the book didn´t hooked me right away, maybe because the complex world building is very descriptive and also because I had to recur constantly to the glossary (at the end of the book) or search in google since the book is based on Japanese culture and there are many words that I didn´t understand, especially the weapons.
Stormdancer takes place on the islands of Shima, much like Japan in feudal times but have mechanical technology (clockwork) and flying machines. The earth is dying because of Blood Lotus which has many uses: fuel, drugs, poison, etc, but this flower is killing the fertile land, polluting the air and water. Stormdancer´s world is a little weird because the steampunk breathing masks and goggles, the iron samurais with chainsaw katanas, the sky-ships.
The islands are governed by the Shogun (commander or dictator) who rules his people with an iron fist and he commands the capture of the thunder tiger a mythological creature believed to be extinct. Yukiko a 16 year-old girl is with the group of hunters who are entrusted with this task, she´s strong and very good to fighting with her tanto, and by a twist of fate she ends up "stuck" in the same place as the thunder tiger, an animal that sees humans as insects and would happily kill her, but they end up creating a very strong bond of friendship.
Stormdancer is a fantasy steampunk novel, told in third person from multiple points of view. Baruu, the Thunder Tiger is a character that makes you love him and has the best lines. I recommend this book to those who like epic fantasy novels, with a very descriptive writing and have no problem to be checking the glossary (at the back of the book).
"Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves onto the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test".
I want to thank St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for this review copy.