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Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Stormdancer  by  Jay  Kristoff

Shima is a dying land. It farms the extremely versatile Blood Lotus plant which is used to make tea, drugs, fabric and most importantly, the chi (fuel) which the Guild use to power all things industrial and mechanical (including their ‘skin’). Unfortunately, this pernicious plant destroys the land that is used to farm it, and fertile land is becoming increasingly scarce.
The Shogun is narcissistic, highly strung, quite unstable and therefore supremely dangerous. So, when he decides that he needs to possess a mythical creature called an Arashitora (a Griffin, also referred to as a ‘Storm Tiger’ or a ‘Thunder Tiger’), in order to become a living legend - a Stormdancer, he sends his Master Hunter to capture one. To refuse, disobey or fail would mean certain and painful death, so the hunt commences even though no-one actually believes this creature exists.

Yukiko is sixteen years old.  She is the daughter of the renowned Black Fox, the Shogun’s Master Hunter. Unfortunately the eminent, esteemed and revered Black Fox has an addiction problem, which means that Yukiko has been the adult in their relationship for a while. She is strong willed, intelligent and practical, yet still retains an innocence which hints at an emotional journey ahead that will break her heart, crush her soul, destroy her beliefs and transform her into the stuff that legends are made of. 

So, I came across this book whilst checking out the future releases section on Amazon. It was the cover art that caught my attention and enticed me to investigate further. The blurb was intriguing,  the story sounded quite unlike anything I have read before – I mean seriously, steampunk, feudal Japan, mythical creatures, and to top it off the main character has a secret power that could get her killed if it was discovered! I was sold. I wanted this book.

After checking goodreads (the authors explanation of this book is highly entertaining) and then the official Stormdancer webpage (check out the FAQ and the bio) and finally the  author's blog , I stumbled across a competition that was still open. The prize was a copy of the UK version of the book and all I had to do was tweet the publisher (@UKTor) and the author (@misterkristoff) the name of the trilogy that Stormdancer is part one of. Easy peasy! So I entered and then forgot about it because I never win anything. And I won!!!

It nearly killed me to wait until the following weekend to read it. And from start to finish it took me about 8 hours to read. I was not disappointed. This book is outstanding!

Feudal Japan is not something that would have ever occurred to me as a setting for a fantasy novel, but in this one it really works. The steampunk elements were explained very well and made perfect sense within the context of the story - there is a whole level of authority, the Guildsmen, that exist inside a metal ‘skin’, and the preferred method of long distance travel around the island is by airship. But the coolest element in the story has got to be the griffin. Yes, a griffin. Awesome.
I found the story captivating - it grabbed me at an emotional level that I was not expecting and was unprepared for. It made me laugh, brought tears to my eyes and made me afraid for Yukiko – not just because of the situation she was in, but also because of what she was going to have to do. Hope and courage - the struggle to find them and make them useful instead of wallowing in apathy or resigning your fate to a seemingly inevitable outcome was a powerful undercurrent in this novel. At one point a mixture of despair, relief, triumph, hope and fear turned me into a blubbering wreck and I actually had to stop reading to pull myself together before continuing! But continue I did, to a very satisfying conclusion that ends this story well and also hints at what is to come in the next instalment.

I love this story. It wrapped itself around my heart very early on and still hasn’t let go.

August 27, 2012, 04:56:56 PM
Re: Miscellaneous Musings The YA covers for EON + EONA are waaaaay better than the adult ones!

I've had a copy of EON sinking lower and lower on my kindle tbr pile for ages, but now I've seen those covers it's moved right back up to near the top - thanks Overlord!  :)

February 19, 2014, 11:09:14 PM
Re: Baudin SPOILER enter after you finished chapter 11 Love the idea of the Talons. Opens up a whole new set of possibilities .... ;D 8)

Felisin is starting to do my head in. I'd have have killed her by now I reckon. If there was a prize for most petulant and annoying and deliberately obtuse character ever she would win hands down. Not that she'd give a toss, of course!  :P

Looks like Tavore is the smartest of the three siblings so far. Hope she lasts long enough for us to get to know her a bit better.

March 11, 2014, 12:43:48 PM
Re: Deadhouse Gates - Finished! I just finished this.

I need chocolate.  Lots. Of. Chocolate.

March 14, 2014, 11:05:36 PM
Re: Memories of Ice - Book Three: Capustan Jeez!

I thought the war in DG was bad enough - it was absolutely horrifying and left me completely drained...but Capustan? That was something else - I felt physically sick for most of that. How could someone live through something like that and walk away sane?! The Tenescowri. Manipulated into becoming such base, savage creatures in order to survive...hideously abhorrent and yet so tragically sad. And when Itkovian tried to  bring peace to all the souls that had died and it looked like that was going to destroy him, I was in bits.

Whiskeyjack and Korlat....Awww  :D

Hetan is hysterical...I choked on my tea when she suggested Silverfox should get it on with Kruppe!!

So, the second gathering didn't go according to plan ... or did it? Nightchill is obviously cooking up something and the rest of Silverfox seems happy to be a part of it. And just who did she promise the T'lan Ay to? Curious!

Is Paran going to have to sacrifice himself and swap places with Draconus in order to free him without releasing everyone/everything else? Or does he just need to pop back into the sword for another chinwag...Draconus did mention in the prologue that he would be needing to make the power in the sword not quite so final, so maybe there is a way out and he is just waiting for the right time/ opportunity...hmm.

Be interesting to see which group get to Coral first and who will actually dispatch the Pannion Seer.

March 20, 2014, 10:57:16 PM
Re: Member birthday calendar HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARRY !!!

Hope you have a fantastic day  :D

April 05, 2015, 06:27:35 PM
Re: Misc. thread
@Idlewilder, @Eclipse, @Jeni - where are you? How far did I leave you behind? ;)
Let me assure you that Assail is totally worth your time. In some ways Esslemont surpasses Erikson in Blood and Bone and Assail. Try them out. :)

I only got as far as the end of the first part of Dust of Dreams before my head imploded and I literally couldn't concentrate long enough to read more than a page at a time .... thought I was getting back to normal a few months ago but then had a bit of a relapse... I have actually read nearly 3 books over the last month so I'm getting back to normal, but I might leave it another month or so before I head back to Malazan to finish the series.

April 06, 2015, 03:04:24 PM
Re: What are you currently reading? Almost finished with the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks

... then I'm going to get hold of a copy of Pratchett's The Wee Free Men and join the book club read this month.

April 06, 2015, 03:53:50 PM
Re: The Wee Free Men - First Impressions Started this today  :)

Only read the first chapter so far but Im already amused and intrigued, so yay!  :D

April 15, 2015, 02:47:29 PM
Re: The Magicians - First Impressions I've read the first couple of chapters and so far I'm enjoying it  :D

For some reason I always thought the 'Magicians' in this book were the tricks and illusions stage performing types and there would be little or no magical magic .... very happy to find I was mistaken!   :D :D

May 04, 2015, 06:38:51 PM