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Stormdancer: The Lotus War Book One Paperback – August 6, 2013

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Lotus War (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250031281
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250031280
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Vickie T. VINE VOICE on 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 on October 30, 2012
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 By E. Smiley on 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 By Sarah (Feeling Fictional) on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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