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.
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