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Stormdancer: The Lotus War Book One [Kindle Edition]

Jay Kristoff
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.

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 Shogun 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 Shogun 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 Shogun'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.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Set in feudal Japan, Stormdancer is a steampunk fantasy with richly drawn mythical creatures and a tough female protagonist. Yukiko and her father are sent to the hinterlands to capture a Thunder Tiger, which is rumored to exist there. Dogged by disaster from the start, Yukiko fights to take a stand against corrupt political systems and personal betrayal. Along the way, she discovers the truth behind her family history and dreams of redemption for herself, her homeland, and the crippled Griffin, with whom she makes an alliance. While this first book in the series paints a descriptive backdrop, casual readers may find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of original terms and concepts they'll need to digest. The plot is similarly dense, packed full of surprising twists and turns, nonstop action, and intense dialogue. Committed readers will enjoy the original and genre-bending world that the author creates, but it will take time and effort.-Sunnie Sette, New Haven Public Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

A cruel, selfish shogun sends a father-daughter team on a seemingly impossible task: to capture the near-mythical Arashitora, half white eagle and half white tiger. Daughter Yukiko succeeds in snaring the beast, only to discover that they share a bond that will ultimately take them on a larger quest to dethrone a shogun and lead his people out of slavery and addiction. This steampunk series opener set in feudal Japan is a skillful example of world building, although the denseness of the description may discourage some readers early on. Kristoff thoughtfully includes several glossaries and a few maps to support his imaginary world. Those who stay with it will be well rewarded with compelling characters—particularly Yukiko, the Arashitora Buruu, and the artificer Kin—a strong environmental message, and a thrilling battle setting the stage for the sequel. Offer this to fans of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy or Philip Reeve’s Hungry City Chronicles. Grades 9-12. --Cindy Welch

Product Details

  • File Size: 2494 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 18 edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007XSN05E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,936 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
105 of 118 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it really is a Japanese steampunk fantasy! July 26, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
On the positive side, this book has crossed a dystopian steampunk story with a fantasy novel and it actually works. Quite well, in fact. The basic plot is excellent and the cast of characters is varied and interesting.

The problem for me, and the main reason for the 3 star review, is that I really disliked the author's writing style. Here is a sentence taken from the book: "A five-sided fist of yellow stone amidst a growth of hunchbacked, abandoned slaughterhouses, the great nest of pipes and tanks and vomiting chimneys that must be the refinery, a rusted length of intestine spilling from its bowels and leading off north toward First House." Now, picture page after page of sentences just like that one and you can understand why, at one point, it took a whole chapter just to describe a walk across town. I completely understand that this is a matter of personal preference. Some people enjoy this style of writing and some don't. I just happen to be one who does not.

I had a few other minor quibbles. Many of the characters were too one-dimensional. The author often chose to describe in great detail things that I didn't really care that much about, while completely skipping over events I wanted to know more about. The story left me with some unanswered questions that may, or may not be addressed in future books - both the subtitle, "The Lotus War Book One," and the Amazon description indicate that this is intended to be the first in a series.

Do I recommend this book? Maybe. As I said, the basic premise and plot are great. If the idea of a feudal Japanese dystopian steampunk fantasy novel appeals to you and you aren't bothered by the writing style, with its long, descriptive, adjective-overloaded sentences, then you will probably enjoy this book. However, I didn't like it enough to read any future books in the series.
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69 of 78 people found the following review helpful
By BookY
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Oh and I forgot to mention the cover! That gorgeous and sexy cover. I LOVE IT. But yeah, still didn't love the book.

It was mainly because of the writing - there was just way too much description for everything and I mean EVERYTHING. Details upon details are dumped onto the reader and it was just too much for me. And I use the word "dumped" because that's what it felt like. And it was boring. Was this book really only 336 pages long? Because it felt like 2,000.

I've read books with overdone writing like this before, but if there's a saving grace like say, awesome character development, then I can overlook it and still like the book. Obviously, this book didn't have that either. With one exception, the characters all came across as pretty one-dimensional and I felt detached from them throughout the entire novel.

And lastly, I know this is fiction so, yeah, the author can play pretend all he wants however he wants, but still I have to say - the heavy misuse of real Japanese words was annoying to me. Don't worry, I'm not going to go off on some white-man-raping-my-culture rant, but come on, if you're gonna use certain Japanese words so prevalently throughout your book, couldn't you have done just a LITTLE research to make sure you're using it correctly? (like -sama. Hello!)

Anyway, it's a cool idea - like, seriously cool - so I have to give the author props for that. Which is why this gets 2 stars instead of 1.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reminds me of a video game September 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I should have known better, since Stormdancer's own cover blurb praises the idea of the book rather than its actual quality. But I was intrigued by the description, and didn't realize that the book is much more appropriate for teenage anime/video game fans than for a general adult fantasy audience.

To start with something positive: the dystopian/steampunk elements of this book are pretty cool, and I like that it deals with environmental and social issues. And I didn't feel the urge to throw it at a wall. It does get a little bit better as it goes, and finishes strong (relatively speaking--I was never moved, but the end is the best part). And, in fairness, I am not a teenager and have never been very interested in anime; I don't melt at the phrase "chainsaw katana"; and so I'm not in the target demographic for this book.

Now the plot. Teenage Yukiko accompanies her father on a supposedly impossible mission to capture a "thunder-tiger" (part eagle, part tiger, essentially a griffin) for the evil Shogun, but winds up teaming up with the thunder-tiger to fight the Shogun instead. Here's where my problems with Stormdancer begin. The plot drags, especially but not exclusively in the first third of the book, weighed down by a ponderous style. Rather than building great imagery through well-chosen details, Kristoff dumps enormous amounts of detail on the reader in a pedestrian writing style, such that almost nothing happens for the first 50 pages. Here's a sample:

"She wore an outfit of sturdy gray cloth, unadorned save for a small fox embroidered on the breast, cut simply for the sake of utility. An uwagi tunic covered her from neck to mid-thigh, open at the throat, long, loose sleeves with folded cuffs rippling in the feeble breeze.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lotus War book 1 September 27, 2012
I knew I wanted to read Stormdancer from the moment I first saw the cover, I can't even decide if I prefer the UK or US version - I actually want to buy both just so I can sit and stare at them! This is one of those books that had so much hype surrounding it that it had taken the blogosphere by storm well before it had even been released so I have to admit that I felt nervous when I first picked it up in case it didn't live up to my expectations. Then when I started reading it took me a long time to get into, Jay Kristoff has a beautifully descriptive writing style but I found the beginning particularly heavy going. This was probably because a lot of the Japanese terms used were so unfamiliar to me but I did find it off putting. In fact I got about 80 pages in and decided that the book just wasn't for me and gave up on it. Thankfully a few of my friends on Goodreads persuaded me to give it another try, they assured me that it was worth the effort of pushing through and that once the story clicked I would be hooked and am very happy to say that they were right.

By the time I'd got around 130 pages into the book I was well and truly addicted and I didn't want to put it down for a second. I don't give up on books often but once I do I never go back to them so Stormdancer was an unusual exception that turned into one of my favourite fantasy reads of the year so far. I don't want to go into too much detail regarding the storyline (there are plenty of other reviews out there that already do that) but I do want to tell you that this is a book that shouldn't be missed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous story; a great read!
Great opener, then gets REALLY dry for about 60-100 pages (act II). I would have liked the author to ramp up the middle of the book. Read more
Published 8 days ago by KO
4.0 out of 5 stars My teenage son LOVED the series and insisted I read it
Very interesting and entertaining ! My teenage son LOVED the series and insisted I read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I am shocked it hasn't been made into a movie.
Published 27 days ago by CNB
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Fast paced, with characters who grow in amazing fashion. I'm glad that Yukiko and Buruu's relationship grew quickly, and I love how Yukiko's spirit and belief's grew. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alice Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars I've had this on my shelf for a bit of ...
I've had this on my shelf for a bit of time and should kick myself for not starting it sooner. I was a bit intimidated by it because I thought the world and the myths would be a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by T. Geo
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
At first it's energetic and engaging then slows down a bit to get back story covered to where it started but then picks up it is an amazing story can't wait to start reading book 2
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars and I don't want you to waste your time

I'm gonna be straight up with you, OK? Read more
Published 2 months ago by Christopher D.
4.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk like I've never read before.
A steampunk story unlike any I've read before. I thoroughly enjoyed this story with the environmental concern approach that it took. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Seth A. Tucker
5.0 out of 5 stars love this book the description of the surroundings and the ...
love this book the description of the surroundings and the actions scenes. The relationships could use more or in one case less development.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Book - why do people like this thing?
No - just - No

I am sorry, but the motto of any family in Japan is NOT the same as the Army

"Be all you can Be" - Seriously - this is ridiculous... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joe
4.0 out of 5 stars Stormdancer is pure bliss of a book for a fantasy lover.
Stormdancer, ah where do I even begin. Okay, I admit that I had a hard time adjusting myself to the terminology vomit which is why it took me more than a month to finish it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sana // artsy musings of a bibliophile
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More About the Author

Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press & Tor UK. Jay's new trilogy, the SciFi thriller THE ILLUMINAE FILES, is co-authored with Amie Kaufman. Part 1, ILLUMINAE, is due for publication by Random House in October, 2015..

Jay is 6'7 and has approximately 13380 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world's laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

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