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Stormdancer: The Lotus War: Book One (Lotus War 1) [Hardcover]

Jay Kristoff
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
RRP: £17.99
Price: £12.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

13 Sep 2012 Lotus War 1
Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. Alhough she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu form a surprising and powerful bond. Meanwhile, the country verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shogun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko uneasy, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shogun’s crimes, both against her country and her family. Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu are determined to make the Shogun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?

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Stormdancer: The Lotus War: Book One (Lotus War 1) + Kinslayer (Lotus War Trilogy 2)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (13 Sep 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0230759017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230759015
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 454,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'What s that? You say you ve got a Japanese Steampunk novel with mythic creatures, civil unrest, and a strong female protagonist? I'm afraid I missed everything you said after Japanese Steampunk . That's all I really needed to hear' --Patrick Rothfuss

'With airships, demons, and lashings of revolutionary swordplay, this chi-fuelled vision of a steampunk feudal Japan will blow your split-toed socks off' --Scott Westerfeld

About the Author

Jay Kristoff grew up in the most isolated capital city on earth then fled. He worked 'creative advertising' for eleven years and has won several awards that nobody outside the industry gives a tinker's cuss about. He is 6'7, has approximately 13870 days to live, and can demand whiskey in almost a dozen European languages. He lives in Melbourne with his wife.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sometimes, I think there must be something wrong with me. When I sit looking over the myriad - well, 36! - glowing reviews for an over-hyped novel such as Kristoff's 'Stormdancer', I'm left feeling utterly bemused.

Let's start by saying that - surprise! - I didn't enjoy this novel. It is in fact remarkable that it comes across as so intolerably dull, despite blending feudal Japan with steampunk, mythical beasts, and a tantō-wielding heroine capable of telepathy! That, surely, is a recipe for unbridled success. And yet, no! From the very first chapter onwards, I found 'Stormdancer' to be tedious to the extreme.

For one, it is not very well written. Kristoff labours his prose with great lashes of description, endless paragraphs, which, standing on their own, might come across as well structured and occasionally lyrical, but are instead piled one after another, bogging the story down to such an extent that it takes over 100 pages before we meet the griffon, Buruu, who's character is secondary only to Yukiko herself. From this point on the story does pick up, though it's got to be said that it counts for little, given its prior level of sloth. I honestly think 'Stormdancer' could have done with being around 200 pages long. One needs a really good reason to tell such a limited story in more than that; Kristoff's reason is that he's long winded and indulgent.

And as for characterisation... Urgh, Yukiko is so uninspired. She might have special powers and a thundertiger as companion, but that's about as far as Kristoff goes towards making her interesting, let alone likeable. There has long been a problem with fantasy heroes/heroines being overtly liberal, often laughably unsuited to the medieval-esque societies in which they've supposedly been brought up.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Well, if there's one book that has had a hype machine going for it this year, it's Jay Kristoff's Stormdancer. No, not a hype machine. More like a hype combine harvester. I've seen this book being talked about so much over the past year, and naturally, I bought into the hype. It had to be good if so many people were talking about it, right?

Stormdancer tells the story of Yukiko Kitsune, who joins her father on a hunt for a rare beast - an arashitora, which literally translates to 'thunder tiger'. (Basically, a griffin.)

Yukiko and her father take to the skies in an airship, and succeed in capturing the supernatural beastie, but their new cargo uses his powers to cause the ship to crash into the mountains. While there, Yukiko earns the trust of the griffin (which she names Buruu), fights demons, and learns of a conspiracy to take down the shogun.

And that's the story in a nutshell.

Now, I really feel like disclaiming this review with a big old 'it's not you, it's me', or 'this just wasn't my cup of tea'. But that's what I find really strange about this book. How could I not enjoy this? It's got telepathic samurai girls, griffins, demons, Shinto mythology, a dystopian steampunk setting, and it's set in feudal Japan! That alone sets it apart from most of what you see on the YA shelves of any given book shop. I like anime, manga, and all the other typical nerdy Japanese things, I used to practice kendo and karate, and I used to take Japanese after-school classes!

So, I don't quite know why Stormdancer wasn't my particular cup of koucha.

To be fair, Stormdancer does have a lot of good things going for it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy of the year? 25 Aug 2012
By Chantal Lyons VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is hard to find fault with this novel. All the elegance of 'Across The Nightingale Floor' with the epic spirit of something like 'Princess Mononoke'.

The story is set in an alternate Japan, where a toxic industrial revolution has produced huge technological leaps but dire environmental costs. The 'arashitora', the griffin, is the mouthpiece of the story's environmental theme - even paraphrasing a famous Native American saying at one point - but the theme is never overly-polemical nor didactic.

Kristoff's prose is clever and evocative, if occasionally a little too-over describing. His steampunk Japan is highly imaginative, with samurai warriors armoured in robotic suits and wielding chainsaw katanas, and airships filling the sky. Most menacing of all are the Guildsmen, the brains behind the technology, permanently encased in their suits and described as insectoid beings. There are obvious links with Japanese mecha here, but Kristoff has produced a story that transcends such roots.

With all this fascinating invention, one of the main characters - the arashitora - is almost eclipsed. But his character is quite delightful, all his animal mannerisms captured. He reminded me of Toothless from 'How To Train Your Dragon' in more ways than one.

A truly accomplished debut novel, and one that I think and hope will go far. My only problem with it in fact is the front cover - so bland! The blurb gives away the griffin, so why not display it in all its glory on the cover?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but promising YA Japanese steampunk
The Shima Isles are an industrialised, steampunk world loosely based on feudal Japanese society. 16-year-old Yukiko's father is chief hunter to the Shogun, although there's... Read more
Published 2 months ago by I Read, Therefore I Blog
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites this year
I found this book so well-written and fantastic - at the end I was begging for more! I know people have mixed feels about this book, but I'd still say you should give it a chance. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Minna-Liisa Laitinen
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric fantasy
I picked up a copy of this book at the World Fantasy Convention, attracted by its beautiful cover (the one with the delicate splash of red blossoms and small figure). Read more
Published 4 months ago by Reclusive Muse
4.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk Japan- setting the backdrop for the series
A Steam Punk Japan that evolved along the original feudal lines is the backdrop of this engaging story which incorporates animal familiars, fantasy creatures and ecological... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jack Chakotay
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining
A good mix of traditional Japanese culture with new age machinery and weapons.

I enjoyed how the suspense was kept throughout while allowing the story to continue. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sara
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating read!
We'll and truly hooked. This is a great read, very well written; it was difficult to put down. Will be getting the next in the series!
Published 5 months ago by Karen Samuels
4.0 out of 5 stars New and fresh
I enjoyed this a lot. Familiar coming of age fantasy story but the new and different setting makes it stand out. I loved the Japanese style world.
Published 6 months ago by whitefalcon
5.0 out of 5 stars An Asian-inspired high fantasy, dystopia, steampunk with mythological...
I need to get one thing out of the way real quick. You see, this was one of my most anticipated books of 2012. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Debby (Snuggly Oranges)
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to marry this book
I freaking loved this!!

It's like bits from all my favourite books has been thrown into one book! Read more
Published 7 months ago by Anna-Louise
3.0 out of 5 stars A long slog with not a lot at the end of it
I suspect that if I'd read this in my teens then I would have loved it. A complex pseudo-Japanese alternate reality. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rowena Hoseason
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