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?
This book has me hooked from the very first few pages. The sheer powers of description that Jay Kristoff can shove into a few pages is effortless, beautiful and glorious. Excuse me for one second. (YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! IN YOUR FACE, BOOKS! HAHAHAHAHA!)
Can I just say how simply relieved and refreshed I am that there is yet another author in this world who knows how to describe and feel and be so remarkably talented at both of those things in just a few short, blissful pages. There are some authors where you can tell they have the talent, they just haven’t developed it or aren’t showing it off as much as they should. Jay Kristoff really used it to drag me into this book right in the very beginning, and that’s a matter of knowing what talent to use and using it. I applaud you, Mr. Kristoff.
My favorite character was Buruu. He was clever, funny, brave, heartwarming and proud. Vicious, yes. Bloodthirsty, yes. But beautiful? Yes. His gradual and complete friendship with Yukiko was solid, striking and awe-inspiring.
This was a fantasy geek writing a book for other fantasy geeks. It is clear throughout this story that a lot of tender loving care has gone into Stormdancer, and I really feel that it deserves the praise it is getting right now. There is a lot of Japanese culture weaved in with this story that I really appreciated, as well as the imagination, mind-blowing inventions and obsessive detail that shines through in every chapter.
Any steampunk book that Scott Westerfeld nods at, I will read. And Japanese Steampunk really stunned me this time. It was even more awesome than it sounded, and I will definitely be watching out for Jay Kristoff in the future. 4.5 stars. JAPANESE STEAMPUNK FOR THE WIN!
NOW GO GET SOME!
pg count for the paperback: 451
Series: The Lotus Wars