Title: Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1)My Thoughts:
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre/s: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk, Mythology
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.
Stormdancer captured the essence of Japanese culture, especially its literature, in this one of a kind tale of family, honor, sacrifice, loyalty and friendship.
Yukiko, along with her father, Masaru, Kasumi and Akihito was commanded by Shogun Yoritomo-nomiya to find an arashitora (thunder tiger), a legendary creature with the head, foreleg, and wings of an eagle and the hindquarter of a tiger, which everyone thought was extinct for millennia but apparently it wasn't because they found one and caught it.
Using her ability to communicate with animals, Yukiko tried to make friends with the arashitora but the beast was full of fury and rage from being captured. But when Yukiko saved him from death, the arashitora knew that he has a debt to pay and he paid for it immediately by saving her life from an oni. And that's where their friendship started.
But when their friendship was tested, they learned how to fight together, to trust each other’s instinct and to care and love each other. And when a very important secret was revealed, a common enemy will arise. Things around them will change drastically. Beliefs will clash. Inevitably, blood will spill. This war wasn't going to be easy but sometimes sacrifice is necessary for the sake of something greater.
I am totally overwhelmed with this book. The world-building was so superbly written, it awed me every time I turn the page. It has the combination of vivid imagery and the fluid language of poetry. It was a page after page lyrical brilliance and that is not an exaggeration.
Kitsune Yukiko and Buruu are like Hiccup and Toothless or Ash and Picachu. They started out as enemies and ended up as bestfriend. They have the kind of friendship that is hard to find. A kind of friendship that is not set in lies or pretension. It's the kind of friendship that no matter how big the problems were you know you both will make it through. It's the kind of friendship that will make other people envious because it's the kind of friendship that you can only find once in your lifetime.
This is the first time I discovered the steampunk genre and it was absolutely amazing. If all books in this genre is as awesome as this then this would probably be my newest favorite genre ever.
Overall, this was a supercalifragilistic expialidocius read (that's the highest remark I could give in a book). A must-read book for all the awesome people out there. And yes, I meant you.