“Just because you’re standing in a crowd doesn’t mean you belong there.”
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 HIDDEN GIFT
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.
Reading Stormdancer is like stepping in a foreign country where I knew no one, understand no foreign words, and familiar with no streets and corner. I felt lost, afraid and even culture shock. It is overwhelming and confusing, but then being in a new place is also liberating. It gives me a sense of adventure and the itch to discover something new and experience new things.
The story introduce the readers to Yukiko, a sixteen year-old who works with her Father Masaru, warrior of Yoritomo-no-miya, Ninth Shogun of the Kazumitsu Dynasty. When Yoritomo tasked them to capture a mythical creature, arashitora or a thunder tiger which have been know to be extinct, they had no choice but headed to a doomed mission. Together with Masaru’s allies they sail into an airship to find an extinct creature. Much to their surprise, however, they do encounters and capture one arashitora. But on their way back to the City to present to Yoritomo his prize, more disaster happens. Soon Yukiko find herself stranded in wilderness with the arashitora as her only companion. What follows is a story of friendship between a girl and a feared creature, in the center of chaotic Empire where the ruler is a spoiled Shogun who cares no one but himself.
The premise is just awesome. Japanese mythology, traditional culture, dystopian world, steampunk elements all into one story. It is incredibly amazing and highly authentic. I haven’t read anything like this one.
“A conscience is easier to swallow on an empty belly, simpler to swing with a broken wrist. The people who hate money are the ones who don’t have any. The people who hate power are the ones who are powerless”.
Jay Kristoff writing is really descriptive. He made a very vivid dystopian/steampunk Japanese world in this book. Sometimes it feels overwhelming reading all his descriptions and explanations of the world, culture, and events, add the fact that there are Japanese words that I need to decipher as I read. But after a while I get the hang of it, then everything become more flowing and more enjoyable. It’s like I finally inhale the Shima pollution and become accustomed to it, because the story becomes more addicting and more enticing as I read. The dying land, the polluted skies, the sickness and the poor, the war machine, goggles and mask are more visible than before. It is chilling and sometimes despising.
Yukiko is a strong female lead. She is fearless, physically strong, and loyal. She is a born hunter with a unique ability to talk to animals, but she keep her ability a secret because if anyone knows she could be killed. And like anyone at her young age, Yukiko also makes mistakes which made her more real and relate-able. It took awhile for her to realized things and questions authority but when she did, she never doubt her ability and stay strong fighting her beliefs.
“It’s easy to lose yourself in the idea of a person and be blinded to their reality.”
Burru is a type of Yokai named Arashitori or Thundertiger, which is basically a griffin that is connected to thunder storm. This thunder-creature is a fully realized character that it so easy to humanized while you read even his dialogue is only telepathic. He is simply adorable. When he entered in the story the plot become more entertaining for me. I just love his sharp wit and humor. His friendship with Yukiko is one of the best part of this book. You’ll just easily see the connection between them. They are like brother and sister who are both willing to lay their lives for each other.
“Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves onto the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test.”
Jay Kristoff weaves an unforgettable tale of friendship in this new realm of fantasy dystopian world with steampunk vibes. With action, romance, family drama, friendship, betrayal, political intrigue, folklore and mythology, Stormdancer is a thrilling ride of adventure.
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