Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff on goodreads:
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.
There are books that generate a movement even long before it has been published. Stormdancer definitely is one of those books, which has been incredibly hyped during the last month! But, I get it – the story sounds so incredible unique and there is the promise of a wonderful blend of genres that just sounds mesmerizing…
High Fantasy, Steampunk in a Japanese setting
Just have a look at all those genres and tell me one book that has such an incredible combination. Jay Kristoff mixes those genres in way that seems natural and effortless.( Also, I fully believe he has to be a Samurai himself.) Clearly, we find ourselves into a world that is incredibly fascinating and woven into a story that combines beauty, magic and kick-ass fierceness all in one single book. All the single elements are described with a love for detail that is admirable and it was easy to get lost into this world.
Yukiko - fierce sword wielding young heroine
Yukiko was interesting with her combination of strength, fierceness but also naiveté. Having been forced to take care of her drunken father ever so often, she had to grow up fast, which explains the level of maturity she has. However, sometimes he youth shone through and I felt like she was emotionally not as mature as she herself wanted to be. Due to the complexity and diversity of her character, I had a hard time connecting with her as completely as I would have hoped.
Magical Creatures and a wonderfully crafted friendship
One of the most incredible aspects of Stormdancer was the Griffin Buruu. Forced to join Yukiko on finding their way back home and to safety those two formed a bond that was incredible beyond believe. I absolutely adored the way Jay Kristoff developed their friendship, especially considering that Buruu hated her at first. Even more, Buruu learned from Yukiko – not just language but also human emotions and this development was incredible described with such a love for tiny details! Getting to know Burru was one of my highlights in this book!
Slow Start – explosive Ending
Admittedly, I had a hard time getting into this story as the world is so rich that I needed time to adjust myself to the very detailed descriptions and explanations of this world. Once you read this book however, you will understand the need for these introduction and I was thankful later on. Jay Kristoff has a very unique and detailed writing style that I needed to get used to. After being half in the story the pace and storyline finally picked up and soon I found myself turning pages after pages. Together, with some very cruel fighting scenes the ending was explosive and left me wishing for more – right now!
Romance and Love?
With me being me, I believe I have to address this questions as it would feel weird to leave this aspect out. I was very disappointed in the romance aspect of this story. Already the beginning promised a romance so when it finally happened I actually felt cheated. I feel like when there is so much emphasize on a certain “male warrior with vivid green eyes”, I expect this to play an important role later one. Well, it didn’t as much as I hoped it would. There the short introduction of a Love Triangle. However, I do must stress that the world building and rich story made up for the lack of sizzling romance!
With Stormdancer, Jay Kristoff created something utterly unique and mesmerizing. The colorful blend of genres made it hard to resist the lure of this imaginative story, and Jay Kristoff intruded us to a world that you will find a hard time finding somewhere else. The explosive and thrilling ending makes up for the slow start and leaves us wishing for more! Book 2 ? Bring it on – right now!