Stormdancer — Book Review

Stormdancer (The Lotus Wars #1) by Jay Kristoffstormdancer

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Favorite Quote:

“Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves onto the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test.”

This book made my inner anime nerd glow in happiness. This is a book with Japanese tones and setting done right. A bit overdone perhaps but still compared to the books I’ve read, a vast improvement. Now I can see how people without any prior knowledge of Japanese culture could get severely lost. He throws in a metric f-ton of words, practices, beliefs, gods, clothing, weapons, folklore, you name it it was probably in there. I won’t lie, Kristoff is very wordy. Overly descriptive. Almost to the point of screaming “THIS IS SET/BASED IN JAPAN IN CASE YOU DIDN’T NOTICE YET” in your face while your reading.  Yet I still enjoyed it so much.

And oh is it wordy. I definitely caught myself re-reading paragraphs a few times and it got so descriptive I may have skimmed a bit a few times. Now I think with trying to convey so much of the Japanese culture it can be taken three ways. You’re already a fan and enjoy it (This was me), you roll with the punches and try to get by on the context or check back in the glossary, or you try to research every word/thing you don’t understand and rip your hair out because you’re constantly confused. I personally suggest just rolling with it.  I feel the context wasn’t THAT hard to grasp (perhaps I’m biased), there WAS a glossary and while there are SO MANY (there really are) potential unknown terminology thrown in that aren’t normally understood, see how it goes after a while. It’s just how you read I suppose. Do you feel the need to understand every single thing? Maybe this isn’t for you. I plan to recommend this book to my best friend, she has been living in Japan for about 7 years and I’m curious to her thoughts on this. Too much? Does it scream trying too hard? It depends on your view.

The idea of Japanese steampunk is so unique. I adored it. While I admit I rolled my eyes at chainsaw katanas (I mean come on) I loved adding in the clockwork gear to Japanese armor and goggles being worn due to all the lotus steam polluting the air. The airships, and did I mention the lotus steam killing the planet? Love it. The steampunk element wasn’t overdone and I think it really added to the descriptions making it a lot of fun.
I loved so many of the characters. Yukiko grew on me as she developed and realized she wasn’t aware of everything in the universe and she was being a douche-canoe in the beginning. I LOVED seeing that development. Kin also grew on me. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about him for a good portion of the beginning. I loved Kasumi (argh Yukiko you treated her like crap! But I guess I forgive you) and OMG Michi. I know she was a relatively small side character but she was one of my favorite characters in the whole novel. SHE HAD BETTER HAVE A MUCH BIGGER PART IN BOOK TWO. PERIOD. I NEED MORE MICHI. Of course we had Buruu. I love him so much. I want a Buruu. I need a Buruu. Gimme. Want want want.

While a bit slow moving (more so in the beginning) I really enjoyed this ride. The plot is thick with multiple layers. We had the main villain, the Guild which is a major faction just waiting to pounce from the background, The Kage, and Yukiko not knowing where to stand. This book had so much incorporated into it and I loved a few of the themes that were delved into. I had such a hard time coming up with a favorite quote because so many stuck out to me! Yet they were all from Buruu haha. Another one I was ready to use until near the end was:

“Change is seldom bloodless. Some eyes wish to remain closed. Sometimes they must be cut open.”

BURUU I ALWAYS AGREED WITH YOU. Seriously this thunder tiger knows what is what. It also had a few sprinkles of humor tucked inside. I knew I’d have a good time by page 6.

“It was on a sweltering morning two weeks earlier when Yoritomo-no-miya, Seii Taishogun of the Shima Isles, emerged from his bedchamber, yawned and declared that he wanted a griffin.”

I believe this also proves my earlier point of how this book reads, and trust me.  That ain’t nothing compared to other paragraphs. I loved the incorporation of Japanese gods, of the thunder tiger, the over-arching plot. It was a lovely mix of so many things that I love so much. Japanese culture is something I have researched and loved for over 10 years and reading this really was a lot of fun.

 

 

This review can also be found on my Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13251868-heather

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