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Early review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (The Lotus War #1)

Egalley thanks to St. Martin's Press

Synopsis from Goodreads

A DYING LAND
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.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
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.

A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL
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.


Release date: September 18th 2012.
 
Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

9.5/10

* * * 
This is more than a book, folks. Like Feed by Mira Grant this is AN IDEA, A MESSAGE, and that's what is so effing cool about Stormdancer.

There are many eloquent and in depth reviews like this or this, and I won't be able to compare with their awesomeness, so I'll just underline my bullet points for you.

Why this book is so EPIC?


1. Incredibly rich, detailed world-building. In fact it's so overwhelming, it took me about 40 pages to get used to the style and start feeling comfortable reading it.

2. Beautiful Asian culture. As far as I can understand, Stormdancer is a mix of Chinese and Japanese cultures, and alternative reality with its own rules and nuances. I can understand that for someone who knows those cultures well, to red this book is a bit frustrating, but for those f us who don't - it's breathtaking.

3. Unique steampunk elements like tattoos that come alive, airships and mechanisms powered by blood lotus chi, chainsaw katanas and Iron Samurai which reminded me of this...



4. Buruu's charisma. Buruu is a thunder tiger Yukiko is sent to capture and deliver to her shogun. However Yukiko and Buruu bond because of her unique gift of getting into the minds of other creatures and talking to them. The more they are together the more their personalities intertwine with each other. Buruu receives some of Yukiko's humanity and she gets some of his wildness and berserker's rage in fight.


Yukiko gasped as if she'd been stabbed, a rasping intake through a throat squeezed closed by grief, exhaled in an agonized, choking sob.
Kill him. Forget me, brother. Fight. FIGHT.
FEATHERS GROW BACK.
 "No, please," she moaned under the growling steel. "No."
SISTERS DO NOT.
 5. Kin, a boy just like Yukiko caught between his duty to his clan and his desire to escape The Guild. The girl he meets is a catalyst for his change, for all his rebellious thoughts of freedom to rise up to the surface.

6. There is only slight romantic element, which is a moving part of the plot but hardly takes space. Above all, this is a book about revolution, much needed change and rising up while you can.

7. At last this is a story of an environmental disaster, of dying land that chose technological progress, to become an Empire constantly at war with the rest of the world at horrifying cost to itself. Nature versus destructive force of technology with no regards to the consequences.

I lowered my rating of Stormdancer by half a point only because it took me awhile to get used to the writing, however after that the book grabbed me and didn't let go until the very end sentence which I finished... and cried.

Recommended to everyone, especially to those who don't mind very descriptive books.

* * *
 С огромным удовольствием прочитала Stormdancer!

Это уникальный Азиатский стимпанк в альтернативном варианте некой Японии с китайскими акцентами 19 века. 

Шима - это умирающая империя, погрязшая в экологической катастрофе, к которой привел  технологический прогресс и изобретение кровавого лотуса - уникальной энергии, на которой работают все гаржеты и летательные аппараты страны. 

Страной, медленно умирающей от отравления этим паразитическим растением, правит порочный диктатор сёгун и Гильдия, которая обладает секретом производства лотуса. Шима также ведёт бесконечную войну с соседями за расширение империи.

Главную героиню, Юкико и её отца сёгун отправляет на дальний остров империи в поисках легендарного крылатого громового тигра. Юкико удается найти тигра благодаря своему таланту телепатического общения с животными, и когда корабль на котором она и её отец путешествует разбивается в ужасной грозе, Юкико остаётся наедине с тигром, которому подрезали крылья охотники и начинается их странная дружба на пути к выживанию.

По дороге Юкико и Буруу подбирают мальчика Кина, сталкиваются с мятежниками и узнают правду о лотосе, прошлом Юкико и о самом сёгуне и разрабатывают дерзкий план спасения страны.

Я не хочу влезать в подробности, но хочу сказать, что идеи книги резанули по сердцу и захватили моё воображение. Как и в книге Миры Грант,  здесь показана порочность власть держащих и их наплевательство к собственному будущему, которое они уничтожают ради сиюминутной наживы и контроля над населением. Это книга о революции и пробуждении, и бесстрашии и возмездии.

Несмотря на тяжелый слог из-за многочисленных деталей и описаний, читала с огромным удовольствием и вам советую. Буруу, тигр, просто очаровашка, и из этой книги вышло бы прекрасное аниме.

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