Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

book-review

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff 4/5

6tag_210717-204649Arashitoras are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shõgun, they fear that their lives are over – everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled arashitora for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shõgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shõgun’s crimes, both against her country and her family.

Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shõgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless arashitora do against the might of an empire?

Review:

I went into this book with an open mind. I had read 5*, glowing reviews, and 1*/2* slating ones. Most of the 1*/ 2* reviews are based on what the readers felt was a lack of thorough research into the Japanese culture, or stereotyping of the same. I haven’t much knowledge on Japanese culture, and decided to read this book knowing it is a fantasy novel, and not actually in set Japan, but Shima, a fictional location.

Another thoroughly enjoyable read from Jay Kristoff with characters to love. Yukiko and Buruu’s relationship was well crafted and had me giggling at times. The sub-characters were all perfectly flawed, and added to the narrative.

I found the beginning a little hard going, but one advantage of lots of description and  slow, world-building is an indepth, immersive read. Seriously, it is worth ploughing on. Steam-punk twinned with Japanese elements was an interesting mix, and the two worked well together to create a vivid world.

The ending was worth the journey: surprises, shocks, and oh, my poor heart. I have book two, Kinslayer, to read, and I doubt it will be long before I have to return to Yukiko’s world. The title makes me a little worried, though. Kinslayer… Kin-slayer…. I hope I’m thinking on it too much.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

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Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

book-review

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 4.5/5

17619798_1476575219060557_1541559010_n.jpgIn a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Review:

Trained from childhood for one thing: to be a killer. Mia’s tragic history only strengthens her need to become a Blade. Can she survive the Red Church’s initiation process, the other Acolytes, and her quest to enact revenge on those who wronged her family?

From the reviews I have read, Nevernight appears to be a marmite book. You either love it or you hate it. I loved it. Well, with the exception of those bloody footnotes. Footnotes do not agree with my reading digestion. Otherwise, I’m in awe of the worldbuilding, the fantastically crude, dangerous, endearing characters, and the intriguing narrative. Think of Hogwarts as a school for assassins with teachers who would hack their student’s arms off for showing off. I know, right? Shamazing!

Mia is simply sublime as a character; an anti-heroine to root for. Her motivation is apparent, and the progression of her character arc is natural and subtle. In fact, every character and their dialogue is on point. I’m a stickler for believable characters and I love the diverse cast, their quirks, and their flaws.

Throughout the whole narrative, I was double guessing characters and their motives. Let’s just say that I was blind sided. I did not see that twist coming, and I love Kristoff for it.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Read it, people! And if, like me, you are a detestor of footnotes, just enjoy the story and visualise punching those little bastards in their footnotey throats.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review