Review of Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1), by Jay Kristoff

StormdancerI picked up a copy of Stormdancer, by Jay Kristoff at my local library. (With that cover, how could I not?)

Description from 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 HIDDEN GIFT 
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.

Review:
This is probably a must-read for all Anime and Manga fans out there. You’ll definitely recognize the feel of it. Not to mention it’d be really helpful to already understand what a yokai and oni are, as well as any number of other recognizable Japanese words (clothing items, ranks, weaponry, etc).

I basically enjoyed it after a really slow start. I enjoyed Yukiko and Buruu, as well as some of the side characters. I probably could have done without the teenage romance, but this is a YA book so I don’t know that I can really complain about it.

Like so many YA books it is essentially an allegory. Shima’s Chi dependence mirroring the modern world’s dependence on oil and it’s destructive self-perpetuation. The maniac Shogun could easily be the greedy 1% crushing the common man, while placating him with lies and base entertainments.

All in all, well worth picking up.

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