Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium is verging on the brink of environmental collapse; decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshippers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, land choked with toxic pollution, wildlife ravaged by mass extinctions.
AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of the imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary beast, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows thunder tigers 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 hidden gift that 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.

MY TAKE:

I've never really read any steampunk books before I read Stormdancer so I only had a vague idea of what to expect.

In Stormdancer, Yukiko lives in a world wherein pollution and addiction are threatening to destroy society and the world. In this feudal Japan-like world, the Shogun tasks Yukiko's father to find a thunder tiger which he intends to ride to war.

This book felt like it could be a very good anime series. The whole time I was reading it, I could imagine it in my head as an anime in the vein of Rurouni Kenshin. It had the same dark setting and vibe, and the same occasional peppering of humorous lines. The characters are also strong warriors. The tiger, phoenix, dragon and fox houses reminded me of Fushigi Yuugi and Yu Yu Hakusho, for some reason.

Yukiko is a strong yet fallible girl. Fortunately, she isn't annoying and Mary Sue-ish. My favorite character, however, is the thunder tiger Buruu. He's intelligent and funny, and I've always liked tigers.

As for the steampunk aspect of the book, I'm not sure if I'm qualified to assess that yet, but based on what I've read, this definitely fits the bill.

Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Dunne Books for the e-ARC. Publication date of Stormdancer is on September 18, 2012.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's like watching a really good new anime series.
  2. Japanese steampunk!
  3. Yukiko has her weak moments but she's not annoying.

THE BAD:

  1. There are parts, particularly in the beginning, that might bore some people.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
IN THE END, ALL QUESTIONS CAN BE DISTILLED INTO ONE. WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO GIVE UP TO GET THE THINGS YOU WANT?
READ IT IF:

  1. You like anime.
  2. You like steampunk but are tired of Victorian era-based steampunk.
  3. You like strong heroines.

RATING:
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