stormdancer Title: Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Pages: 313 (Hardback)
Rating 4/5

When you sit down to read this book, I sincerely hope you have more time than me to just sit and read. For however long it takes you to get to the last page. I read this in large chunks, impatient to see how it would end. A beautiful read in many senses.

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.

A thunder tiger sounds pretty awesome yes? Buruu fits awesome like a glove (granted it’d have to be a pretty big glove for him to fit in it…) I loved the interactions between him and Yukiko and their growing relationship throughout the whole story. They balanced each other out and more than once I found myself laughing at the pair. There are tender moments and moments that leave you wondering what righteousness and justice really are.

The beginning had me off balance for a chapter or so until my mind took grasp of all the names and meanings of Yukiko’s world. I also really didn’t come to care for any of the other characters except for Yukiko’s father Masuru and Akihito, her uncle. I’ll leave their fates up to you to discover but I will warn you that no one is too important to die. In fact, a whole bunch of characters die, some better than others. (and poor Buruu! but that’s a spoiler so you’ll have to read for yourself to learn more)

Kristoff created a world that was a delight to explore and I’m excited to see what Yukiko and Buruu will do next. There’s a lot of action(my favorite being the fight with the oni warlord) and hinting at danger from all directions to come in the next book. I feel like Stormdancer is just a warmup for the ride that the second book Kinslayer will be. Looking forward to it in September!