Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books  (Sept 18th, 2012 – USA/CANADA)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she’s determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?


It’s just your typical girl meets griffin, girl communicates with griffin via telepathy, and they take down an entire empire story right?! Well it should be, because any time samurai girls meet arashitoris it should be as badass as Stormdancer. Definitely going into this book there was some high expectations for me and I was beyond happy to come out this not only not the least disappointed but loving it possibly more than I thought I would.

First off, the setting and mix of fantasy feudal Japan and steampunk is amazing, it’s so visually appealing for me and so extremely interesting to see how Kristoff would incorporate traditional cultural aspects with this new dystopian universe (my favourite is the use of the Japanese “Irezumi” tattoos). Luckily for me, I have some knowledge on the Japanese language and culture which made it much easier for me to immersed myself into Shima’s cul­ture right away but no worries if this is foreign to you, not only are there short explanations in the book, but a glossary to provide you with all the glorious details.

Secondly, Yukiko is an amazing heroine that i can wholly support and Buruu (the griffin) is just plain fabulous. Yukiko and Buruu absolutely won me over with their relationship. They had me tearing up and laughing out loud all over the place. I loved watching their relationship build from just tolerating each other (for the sake of survival) to such a bond that they would sacrifice everything for each other. I adored their interaction more and more as the book progressed, if anything because of Buruu’s development from his simple (animalistic) thoughts to understanding sarcasm and humour (and him definitely putting it to good use!). Also the secondary characters are strong enough that I don’t forget about them as soon as they not there and I actually care what happens to them (which is always a bonus).

Thirdly, the plot centres around the power of the blood lotus flower that not only runs the empire, but is also the drug that is destroying the nation with its addictive nature. A whole nation in ruins, and the Shogun is a heartless jerk who’s doesn’t mind driving the country into the ground as long as he still wields the power. There’s also Oni, Iron Samurai and a Lotus Guild that builds clockwork armory and machinery, along with revolutionary thoughts, of course there’s going to epic badass battles galore! There’s also that tiny bit of romance that I was hoping for to boot! Though not in the flowery-cute-ish was I thought it would be but a darker passion so fitting for the story that I can’t help but love and find so heartbreaking at the same time.

Overall a fantastic book, and the ending!! Awesome enough that even without a cliffhanger ending and I can only count the days before book 2 gets released.

{*Thanks to the publisher for providing an  e-arc via Netgalley.


Find Jay Kristoff:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Purchase the book:

Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

0 Replies to “Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff”

  1. […] Look at the cover! /swoon. Anyways, super excited for the second book in the Lotus War. I loved Stormdancer & can’t wait to see more Buruu and Yukiko! It’s almost […]

  2. […] an alien).  There’s Sarah Fine’s Of Metal and Wishes & Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer who have Asian main characters. Liz Czukas’ Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless has a […]

Leave a Reply