REVIEW #157: Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff

Title: Stormdancer
Series: The Lotus War #1
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Pages: 313, Hardcover
Source: Library

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.

There are several popular 2012 releases that I have been meaning to read for quite some time but have yet to for no good reason at all. Finally making good on my promises of “I will read that one soon”, I decided to start incorporating these books into my reading schedule, for real this time. I started with Tiger Lily, and not-surprisingly LOVED it. Stormdancer was the next one up on my list. And, well honestly, I wish I would have started this little personal challenge sooner because this too, WAS AWESOME.

In full disclosure, Stormdancer and I did have a bit of a rough start. I have no affinity for Japanese culture and for the first couple of chapters I felt like I was reading in another language. It took some time for me to get used to, but eventually, I did catch up. (Did this happen to anyone else? Just Me? Ok, moving on). I also felt the slow start that other readers have commented on before me. But I’d say this is over once you hit page 75. From then on, Stormdancer is a splendid, awe-inspiring adventure and I didn’t want to ever put this book down (but I did for necessities, like sleep and food).

This book is really without flaws (aside from the aforementioned, which I wouldn’t really call flaws). Yukiko, the main character, is fierce and head-strong. No overbearing romance fills the gaps between events. In fact, there really are no gaps. This entire story is one big adventure with no boring parts. There is a strong focus on friendship and family that complements the action. There is full character and story development. There is both happiness and heartbreak (no story should be all sunshine and rainbows). The surprises are plentiful. The writing is superb, almost poetic. The ending was satisfying yet open-ended enough for more awesomeness to come. I honestly can’t say enough positive things. Did I convince you to read this one yet?

Stormdancer is incredibly well-rounded. There are elements of fantasy, steampunk, dystopian, and more. I think it has a little of something to appeal to a wide variety of readers. It really does deserve all of the hype it has gotten. And anytime I finish a book that I really enjoyed I give it to my mother to read. And she loved this one too. So there you have it, two glowing opinions for the (non-existent) price of one ;).



  1. I actually take a huge interest in Japanese culture, so this immediately caught my attention. The cover is gorgeous!

    Plus, from what you've said here, it sounds like a great novel. The only thing I'm not crazy about is that this is a series - sometimes I'm completely discouraged by book-series since you always have to wait for the next book to come out in order to learn what happens.

    1. and it feels like EVERYTHING is a series these days. I do hate the wait and I hate forgetting things! BUT I don't think I would have been satisfied with just one book in this world. It was so good.

      If you like Japanese culture and fantasy YOU MUST READ THIS. But if you don't want to wait, maybe hold off until all the books are out?

  2. I have a bunch of 2012 releases (and 2011, 2010 and so on!) to get to as well. Both this and Tiger Lily are high on my list. I'm so glad you loved this one! I've been told amazing things about it. I am a bit nervous about being drawn in, initially, because like you I have no idea about Japanese culture.

    But still, I'm excited :D

  3. Ah! I can't wait to read this book now! <3 Someone put it in my reader's choice the other day!

  4. OMG, you made this book sound like the best book on the planet! I need to read this right now! Thanks for the brilliant review!!!!

    1. hahahah I did, didn't I. It was pretty darn great. Maybe not my FAVORITE EVER, but I still loved it and cannot wait to read Kinslayer. You should read this soon if you can!

  5. From the summary, this just did not sounds like a book I would be interested in reading, but your review is the second one I've read that was a 5-star rave review. I might have to read it! ~Pam

    1. just make sure you read past page 75! Cause 1-75 are a bit of an adjustment but it takes off at page 75. It is a really good, and doesn't have to just be for fans of fantasy or steampunk or dystopian etc. I hope you like it if you decide to read it!

  6. Glad you loved it. It's definitely one of my favorites and I could rave about it all day!

  7. I loved this one as well! And you weren't the only one who was a bit overwhelmed with the language at first. I kept going to google to search the terms and images, and then after I finished I realized there was a glossary in the end...Since then I have made sure to always read the glossary first before starting a book LOL.

    Nyx @ Unraveling Words

    1. Yeah totally didn't notice the glossary until the end (fail). I'm glad I am not the only one who struggled with this though. Totally worth fighting through it though!

  8. I'll keep in mind that the beginning is a bit slow, but this book sounds great :D One big adventure, yes please!


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