Aug 282012

StormdancerStormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff
Source: Review copy from Thomas Dunne Books via Netgalley
Links: Amazon, Goodreads, Author’s website

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.

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.

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.

In the beginning, I was confused. Japanese names and feudal system are very different from the usual Euro-centric stories I read. But once I figured it out, the story swept me away. The actual storyline is quite simple, and yet there is a complexity to it that captures your attention and keeps you enthralled.

Buruu was the highlight of the story for me. He was an incredible animal that felt more real than some of the other characters. He had depth and personality and emotion. The interactions, interchanges and growth between Yukiko and Buruu was beautiful. It wonderfully highlighted how relationships change and affect everyone involved.

This may have been an action packed story, but the emotion spoke even louder. There was no part that did not pull you in some direction. It was a great book, and one that I would recommend to readers willing to experience a unique journey.

4 stars

Challenges read for:

2012 Ebook Challenge

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