Friday, 14 September 2012

Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

  Author: Jay Kristoff
  Publisher: Tor UK
  Publication date: September 13th 2012.
  My rating: 4.5 stars


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.

I think this is one of the most toughest reviews I’ve recently had to write, so please excuse me if this review seems a little incoherent as since I’ve finished Stormdancer all I’ve wanted to do is run around flailing my arms in the air. I honestly had no idea that Stormdancer would be this good. Yes I saw several 5 star reviews filtering in before I picked it up, but recently I’ve been disappointed by so many reads when my expectations were too high, so I decided to go into this not expecting too much just in case.

But honestly Stormdancer just blew me away! Yukiko and her father Masaru have been ordered by the Shogun Yoritomo-no-miya on what Yukiko thinks it’s a wild goose chase to locate the mythical creature Arashitora. These creatures are supposedly extinct and so Yukiko knows they are going on a pointless mission. But Masaru is obliged to do as the Shogun says as he has the power to take everything he loves away from him, even his own life. So going into something she didn’t want to in the first place, Yukiko ends up in an even precarious situation, with their ship capsizing with everyone on board she ends up stuck on an island somewhere alone with the thunder tiger.

This book was highly addictive from the first few pages, the pacing was just incredible, there was always something that kept you on your toes, you’d think everything would die down as one situation had cleared up but then you’d find yourself smack bang in the middle of another one. The world building was crazy, from arashitora’s (part eagle, part tiger creatures) to oni’s (demon of yomi underworld) and then there were super tense moments which left me totally slack jawed. Kristoff’s writing is simply flawless, I could go on and on about how his descriptions were so detailed (some may be put off by this and find it too detailed) but I was totally mesmerised. They provided such vivid detail and breathtakingly beautiful imagery, I felt as if I was right there with Yukiko experiencing everything first hand.

The central character Yukiko certainly made reading Stormdancer a worthwhile experience for me. She was brave, fearless, intelligent and so many things that I could never be if I found myself in similar situations.  Several other characters also left great impressions on me; Buruu and Kin, I hope we get to delve much deeper into these characters in the next book especially with Kin.

I know if I keep prattling about the plot and characters this review will probably turn into a full blown novella and I will give the entire plot away. I know my review will fall way short of being able to describe just how much of an epic masterpiece this book is. All I can suggest is that you pick up this book as soon as possible (please so that I can gush about it some more). Also these awesome reviews will hopefully also give you the extra encouragement to do so!


  1. So much hyped this books is getting! I'm so glad you enjoyed this so much, Jasprit! I can't wait to start this, although like you, I'll try not to expect to much and be a little cautious. Fantastic review! :)

  2. Oh, I totally understand the need the run around flailing upon finishing this book. It's entirely different from everything we usually read. It was one of the hardest reviews to write for me too, but I think you've made your thoughts and your enthusiasm quite clear.
    Amazing review, darling, and thanks for the link. :)

  3. This book is getting such mixed reviews, I love it! It's so much fun when people have such differing reactions to a book, and I really want to give this one a try to see what I'll think. The world sounds absolutely amazing, and I love that this story features a griffin, I'm partial to those:) Beautiful review Jasprit!

  4. Great review Jaspirit, great that you enjoyed this one so much. I've seen good and bad reviews for this too, but mostly good tbh. I'll hopefully get a chance to pick it up soon :)

  5. So glad you weren't disappointed in this story Jasprit! Fantastic review!!!!!! Its great to know that you enjoyed Jay's detailed writing. love that you used alliteration! "breathtakingly beautiful" :0

  6. I was planning on reading and revieweing this for next week but I may want because I don't want to rush it. You are one of the first ones that doesn't complain about the slow world building pace in the beginning! I would totally love to see you running around flailing your arms!

  7. YES! *fist pump* I am SO glad you enjoyed this one, Jasprit! I've been a little worried about how other readers may like it because I feel as if I, and most other reviewers, have been hyping up this book SO much, but I'm thrilled that it still surpassed even your highest expectations! I loved this one, as you know, and I was totally running around with my arms flailing after I finished this one too!(: Now I need to get my hands on the follow-up novella, not to mention the sequel! If only Kristoff would write a little faster... ;) Yet another absolutely fantastic review, dear, and thanks for the link! :D

  8. Wow, so many people love this one. I love books that hook you from the beginning and it sounds like the author's writing, the characters, and the different relationships help it do just that. Brilliant review, J! :)

  9. I got this one for review via Netgalley and I was SO excited to read it, until I read some of the really disappointing reviews, saying that the world-building was just too much. Reading your review, you've gotten me all excited for it again! I'm SO glad to hear that you thoroughly enjoyed it, even with the detailed world-building. Excellent review, Jasprit!

  10. YAAAAAAAAAAAY. I'm so happy to hear that this book will most likely be to my expectations! AAAH. And as I've been exposed to Japanese culture before, I feel like a happy fan girl to see legit Japanese terms. Hahaa.

    Great review, Jasprit!

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  12. I'm not much of a fantasy reader, I can probably count the number I've read on one hand. Another thing is that they can be confusing if the elements are neverending and over the top. I was wary of Stormdancer because I'm not sure if my mind could keep up and the reviews I've read were making my head spin, but now... I. am. so. excited!

    Jasprit, this review is AMAZING. I think it's my favourite of yours so far! SO GOOD. ♥

  13. I'm not gonna lie, I still haven't added this one to my TBR yet. But after reading your review, I'm assured that I will love this book, so it is TOTALLY going on my TBR list! It sounds so utterly confusing, however, which is why I didn't add it in the first place. I think I'm starting to get the gist of it though. =) The pacing sounds great in this book! I love books that keep you hooked, the ones that make you stay up until 2 AM reading. :D And the main character sounds awesome and totally kick butt! And those secondary characters sound like they're well developed too.

    Fabulous review Jasprit! I'm so happy that you loved this one. <3

  14. I'm so happy you loved it! Stormdancer was seriously kick-ass awesome. I loved Yukiko and Buruu and their relationship that developed over the course of the novel. I just- *flails around embarrassingly*

    It was so good :D Awesome review, Jasprit! <3

    Jenni @ Jenni's Bookshelf

  15. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Jasprit! I can't help but have high expectations when most of the early reviews are 5 stars (either that or I want to avoid the hype completely!). This didn't work for me as you know, but it's nice to hear your thoughts. You did a brilliant job with this review! :)

  16. For some reason I keep seeing this book, but never get excited about it. I think your review changed that though.. now I'm intrigued, I think I'll have to read it soon!

  17. This looks amazing! I have also had bad experience with books with high expectations... I just can't help it. I'm glad this wasn't the case with you though, and you ended up loving it. I need to read this soon... thanks so much for posting, Jasprit! :) x


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