Series: The Lotus War, #1
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Pages: 322 (Hardcover)
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Amazon | IndieBound | Book Depository
A DYING LANDJapanese-inspired Steampunk + Beautiful Covers (US | UK) + Strong Heroine (?) + Kickass Summary + First Impression of Author: Awesome + Hundreds of Stunning 5 Star Reviews = One of the Best YA Novels in the History of Mankind? Wrong. Devastatingly, unbelievably wrong.
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.
I didn't want to do this, but here comes the rage. All those that hate spoilers and swearing, please exit stage right. Lovers of Stormdancer, feel free to do the same. I apologize for this and these thoughts being so long and disorganized.
On Steampunk and Description after Description after Description...
So much info-dumping and useless description! Really, that by itself destroyed the pace I was going at and bored me to tears at times. Amazing work on airship experiences and fight scenes though. (Chainsaw katana~) I love how steampunk is actually something the world revolves around and not some side element. The forms of steampunk here, like the technology of the Guild, are very fascinating.
On Friendship and Romance
Yukiko and her Father
I hate both of them, and I understand Yukiko's resentment for her father but what is up with her attitude towards him? Most Asian cultures, including Japan's, are very respectful toward their elders. They do not yell at them in public or embarrass/disgrace them, especially in front of friends.
Yukiko and Buruu
Two words: Too. Fast. On one page, he hates her guts. On the next, he's giving her the high honor of riding on his back. Slow down! Soon the next book will open with a proposal.
Yukiko and that Green-eyed Whatshisname
Oh, Yukiko and her stupid infatuation of a special Asian samurai's totally not Asian green-eyes. May I remind you that she's only met him once before she's suddenly having dreams about him and thinking about his sea-green eyes on the brink of death? You wouldn't believe how unbelievable and forced their romance was.
Yukiko and Kin
Can I pinch his cheeks? I'm sorry. Kin is so adorable! Like I said before, I hate Yukiko, but I wanted her to be together with Kin because... well, I wanted Kin to be happy. At the very end, when something happened between them, I wanted to hug him and take him out for a drink. You don't need her, Kin! There are better girls out there!
Yukiko's Father and Kasumi
Worst couple ever, I swear. Lamest infidelity excuse since The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight's.
On Japanese Language and Culture
I understand how hard it is to name things, but "Shima Isles"? Translated, it means "Island Isles". Are you serious? All my knowledge on Japanese language and culture comes from my Japanese friend, YouTube video lessons on the language, and years of anime and manga. I am not an expert but I knew enough to spot the errors present here.
"Sama, please. Enough for one day, hai?" - Yukiko
What the fuck is this? "Sama" is a honorific attached to the end of someone's name, usually someone older or of higher importance. "Hai" does not equate to every form of "yes." I find these new meanings incredibly infuriating and insulting. The worst part is that they happen on every single page. (Don't get me started on the "Aiya"s, a Chinese expression of exasperation. I've only heard one Japanese person say this and that was because he was the voice actor of China in Hetalia.)
Stormdancer is one of those novels that is supposed to be perceived as "translated," in this case, Japanese to English. If you think about it in those terms, you begin to realized that when Jay Kristoff writes a Haiku (not the only type of poetry in Japan, people) or mentions a number of syllables/words, it's weird. He uses the syllables of the English word instead of the syllables of the "original" Japanese word.
A lot minor words are kept Japanese (Again, weird because the important words in this story are written in English. Instead of "I love you", why not "ai shite ru yo", "suki da yo", "daisuke", or its many other forms? Instead of "father", why not "otou-san". Instead of English swears, why not Japanese?). To even add more to the point that the important words should have been written in Japanese is that the minors were so frequent, that I had no idea what was being said. Don't get the ebook copy. There's a huge glossary at the very end of the book and it will be easier to flip to it. It would have been heaven-sent for me if I had realized there was a glossary.
Some of you may be thinking, "But the Shima Isles and Japan are not the same! It's not exactly the same culture! It's not exactly the same language! This is fantasy!" That may be true but when specifically basing a fictional country on a real one, please give proper homage to their culture. Please try to minimize any changes. Please properly research it
Speaking of which, you may be wondering where did most of the research for Stormdancer come from? Let's take a look, shall we?
"Wikipedia was really my go-to guy." - Jay Kristoff [source]Yeah. I'll leave you guys with that.
There is so much more I want to discuss, however I neither have the time or the effort