Thursday, June 7, 2012

BOOK REVIEW - STORMDANCER by JAY KRISTOFF - LOTUS WAR # 1 - BLOODY BRILLIANT!!

By : Jay Kristoff
Published By : Pan Macmillan Australia
Releases : September 2012
Details : Paperback, Proof Copy, 438 Pages

RATING : 5 BLOODY BRILLIANT STARS!!

Book Blurb : Taken From Goodreads

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.


BOOK REVIEW by Michelle :



Tiger proudly roars. 
Dragon dives and Phoenix soars. 
Fox gets the chicken. 

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, I mean, come on, steampunk , dystopian, fantasy, Japanese flavour , I knew I was going to be impressed. Then Charlotte from Pan Macmillan, the little goddess, dropped the book in my lap.

Knock me over with a feather.....stunning, incredible, and a whole bag of words that mean all things spectacular. *waves the Australian flag in the air* Yes, Jay Kristoff is Australian and a debut author. Boy did he arrive with a smashing entrance.

Holy mac and cheese, there is absolutely nothing I don’t adore about this book. Jay is up there with the big guns in writing. Stormdancer is a most outstanding read. Jay Kristoff’s writing is breathtaking. Your mind just washes over each page and like a paintbrush dipped in water and brushed over one of those books with the invisible picture, his words reveal amazing, beautifully painted scenes, to your minds eye. The attention to detail is impressive. The colourful use of words to describe, is stunning.

Costume designers would have a freakin’ awesome time with the characters clothing and gear in this book. I think they would be like kids in a candy store.

'Stormdancer' will play through your mind as you read it, like you are watching a movie. A 3D one. It really does come alive.

You, the reader will be gasping, gripping your book at the sheer terror you will feel with the villain Yoritomo the Ninth Shogun of the Kazumitsu Dynasty. Before you know it you will be face planting it in the dirt , shaking in your boots hoping to the Gods you don’t have to commit seppuka. Yoritomo, he evokes that much respect/terror, in those he commands an audience with. I felt like he was commanding an audience with me as the reader. He is a fierce villain. Jay will make you ‘feel’ Yoritomo’s power.

“If you defy me again, I will take everything you have left . Everything.” A low growl. “ And I will hurt it first.”

Jay’s words will bring a tear to your eye, your hand will lay over your heart, you will know when that moment is, and he will make you want to fight. I was in my own virtual world fighting alongside Yukiko. It was a bit safer with those epic chainsaw katanas in action. I was pretty kickass , I must say. * wipes sweat off the brow * I did want to do one of those arm held straight out, hand palm up, upside down waves that tells my opponent , ‘bring it on’ in my fighting power stance.


Frightening, yet awesome!!

Yukiko is very mature for her age. Her father Masaru, the legendary Black Fox of Shima, Master of Hunters gets on the lotus pipe a bit too much and likes to drink and gamble. Yukiko is straight down the line, a strong character, she is only sixteen years old. She will make mistakes that will cost her dearly. I love her to bits.

Yoritomo wakes up to announce that he wants a thunder tiger aka a griffin aka an arashitora. They have been extinct for years. You will die if you fail to bring him what he requests, so either way it isn’t looking good. This is where the story takes its direction. Masaru, Akihito, Kasumi and Yukiko must find this beast and bring him to Yoritomo.

Let the adventure begin. Bring on the Thunder Child.

The title of this book, and the series title , ‘The Lotus War’ have great meaning in this first book. The blood lotus, and it’s various uses, are sucking the life out of the planet. The air is clogged with poison, the sun too bright to not wear a pair of awesome goggles. Breathers are needed, if you can afford them, to breathe easier. Not everybody is willing to sit by and watch the planet die for the sake of power.

“The Thunder Child ploughed north through the fields of burgundy cloud, buffeted by the gentle hands of the summer breeze. Its propellers hummed, gears and pistons singing a metallic dirge as it vomited streams of poison into the Shima Skies.”



“What the hells are you doing out here?” Yukiko yelled.
“Being alive!” he shouted over the rolling thunder. “Alive and breathing!”



I love the sub characters, Kin the Artificer the engineer, and Hiro the Iron Samurai. Jay you played with my heart in all kinds of wrong....lol!! Michi, Aisha, Kaiji, Kaori, wise Daichi and the oni....yes, I shall include them, are all characters playing awesome roles.

I love all the names of Jay’s characters. They really do roll off the tongue. This book really grasped the Japanese influence and held on, you never forgot these characters were Japanese...hai!  In some books you know the character is Japanese, but you can forget, the influence doesn’t stay with the story. This felt very real, not fictional at all. These characters really come to life. The world Jay has built for us, feels very ever present.

US COVER
The Glossary, I didn’t realise was in this book until I got half way through the book and I went to see how many pages were in the book and then I was like ‘oh lookie, here you are’ tucked at the back of my proof copy. To be honest I had been reading and enjoying and thinking, ‘I need to google this word’, but no, it is all there, simplified terms broken up into ‘General Terms’, ‘Clothing’, ‘Weapons’, and ‘Religion’. I personally would like to see it in the front of the book so that readers give it a read before they start the book. It really is worth a preread.

The steampunk is visually fantastically detailed. Think more...much, much, more than the steampunk you are accustomed to. In one part I think Jay even goes a little sci-fi steampunk, dare I say that?? Jay really does take it a step further with his Artificer and Guildsmen.

I actually got myself into quite a frazzle when it came to writing this review, I swear Raijin , the God of Thunder and Lightning zapped my brain. My words feel too simple for the beauty of the outstanding writing Jay has filled Stormdancer’s pages with, although I do have to thank Raijin for creating the thunder tigers.

So now I come to Buruu. I absolutely adore Buruu. Jay has written a very special character who will win the hearts of everybody. Yukiko and her arashitora, it is a very special bond. You could wipe me with the floor with how much I loved these two and wring me out.

“We will endure.” 

A final message to Jay, you sir, have brought the picnic basket to the table for us to savour the flavour of this most awesome reading experience. I have devoured and am licking my fingers for more.

Yes, I do now hold these words in my hand , yes, it has now become a fist.

Dude, you can write! 


Michelle


10 comments:

  1. Seriously! Your review is way better than mine!! Discussed stuff I had no idea how to put in words! And also talked more about the environment than I did. OMG OMG BOOK TWO NOW PLEASE?! And book three while they’re at it.

    Great review Michelle!

    Argh chomp chomp chomp. How does your proof look now? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Braiden,

      Awww thanks for the encouragement. You have no idea the pain I went through. I still don't think I have it right, I did agonise over this as you know how much is in this book and how WOW!! It is. It is sooo hard to express this little gem. I shall check yours out now. I have been staring at the computer and redoing bits and been crazy all over this...lol!!! Also to not give anything away that is a real spoiler!! I am going to vlog what my proof copy looks like soon...lol!!! People!! I need another copy!! lol!! My goodness, it's got stickie notes all over it , I was feverishly flipping back and forth...I am glad you understand what our proofs look like. See we can share...lol!!!

      xx

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, I shall pop over to yours now:D

      Then it's bed, it's 12.21am people!!

      Mich

      Delete
  2. I WANT TO READ THIS BADLY! I love Samurai/Jap inspired reads and this story twist hasn't been done before, not to my knowledge anyway. Plus I LOVE male authors, the story is stripped to the essentials and not annoying, whining, weeping females anywhere.

    I WANT TO READ THIS!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh baby, you want to read this!!! Nothing annoying about this book...Jay sounds like a really cool dude too, check out his page!!Why am I still up!!??? I have sandwiches to make at tuckshop in the morning..it is the morning 12.49am I am Queen of the sanga's for 3 hours...I just wanna sleep in...hehe!!

      YES YOU WANT TO READ THIS!!

      Hun I think only 6 Aussies got a copy in the whole of Australia...well bloggers,it did sound more spesh when I said the whole of Australia..hehe!!

      xx

      Mich

      Delete
  3. I am so looking forward to getting a copy of this! I'm only skimming reviews so that I don't know too much going in but it sounds great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Mandee,

      I do that when I am looking forward to a book that much, that I want not much inside knowledge on it before hand:D

      It is beautifully written book:D

      Mich

      Delete
  4. Wowzer, great review! I can see that you've put a lot more work into this one - although that's probably also driven by how much you love the book, I can really see that! :D

    So, um, now that you've finished reading it - can I borrow it? ;) LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tien,

      Aww thanks hun. This review was really hard for me as I was quite passionate about it and there was so much awesome information to try to pick through and then express it. You will understand when you read the book. This is not your average bear:D:D

      Currently only 6 blogs I think got this book, so it's under wraps a bit, ask me again when it's closer to the release date and I will let you borrow it , no probs and have a read as long as it is a boomerang and flys back..hehe!! I got to make sure I don't get in a pickle with the publishers.:D:D

      When it comes to my reviews it's not that I put less work in to the other ones, it's what you said, it is driven by the book content.

      If a book has 350 pages but not a lot happens , even though the story could be great , it makes for a smaller review. Or makes for less to talk about. Jay's book has a lot to talk about and his words are so descriptive and gorgeous to read. I could have babbled for heaps longer. I left so much out and that was non spoiler stuff, but nobody wants to read a mega mega mega long review, so you have to chop it . Also, if a book has had gazillions of reviews done on it you don't want to repeat what's been said so that can change how I write a review too, if I am coming late to the party and the book has been all over blogosphere for quite some time:D:D

      This book really does sell itself. I am hanging for a book trailer but I wonder if it would be animated or non animated. Just from what I have read, it would make sense it was animated, but at the same time that costs $$$. It deserves a trailer, not that it needs it to sell the book. A mini movie, yeah I would pay to see that!

      Have a great weekend:D

      Mich

      Delete
  5. I've been slow on reading/commenting with blogs lately, but I finally got to reading your amazing review and.... of god, yes, EVERYTHING you said! This was such a stunning novel and even though I knew to expect something BIG after reading Braiden's review, Stormdancer still blew me away. Oh you are so not wrong about Buruu - how can he NOT steal your heart?! I haven't really read many animal/human bonds before, but this one surely tops them all. Hehe and I loved the scene where he was so totally jealous when she was talking to Kin :D

    FANFREAKINGTASTIC review, Michelle! Now please go appeal to the book gods and get us the sequel asap!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Braiden and I had been chatting on our fb page while we reading this here book and I spent like 4 days getting my review right. Braiden was waiting for it and this book is sooooooo WOW!! that I had to keep Charlotte waiting and Braiden waiting , I just had to sift through all my notes and get it as best as I could. I kind of felt the pressure ...lol!!! Braiden the first to write a review from Australia, me second...eeepppp!! So I had to take several power thinking showers and then a tub! I had all these notes and then I had written drafts but it felt clumsy, so back into the shower to think it all through as there is a massive review you could write as sooo much worthy of reviewing, but it had to be chopped to a better reading length. And not spoil. I could have really talked about Buruu and Yukiko HEAPS!!! but I just wanted readers to find out for themselves. It was tough putting on the handbrake in this review.

      Your review was FANFREAKINGTASTIC too, thanks for your kind words. I shall appeal to the book gods , but I think the sequel can not be rushed , I think we have another awesome book coming our way in like too long, but I would rather wait for awesomeness..hehe!! I have already helped Braiden pray for a proof of book 2 and 3, he is way ahead with his praying...lol!!

      It is very special when a book comes along that is all kinds of 'WOW'!

      :D

      Michelle

      Delete

We love hearing from you, your comments mean a lot to us.