Another random bookstore find WIN! I was browsing around B&N and saw this on one of the displays – besides the pretty cover, I saw the blurb from Patrick Rothfuss on the front and BOOM! SOLD! I decided to give it a try, and I’m so glad I did!
When the Shogun of the Shima empire sends a team of hunters in an airship to capture him a griffin, everyone thinks it’s a madman’s errand – griffins have been extinct for over a century. Yukiko is accompanying her father on the hunt, and they’re certain that death awaits them when they return to the Shogun empty-handed. So when Yukiko ends up alone in the a patch of wilderness with an enraged, crippled griffin, it’s certainly a surprise. Set in a world where the environment and it’s people are dying because of industrialization and the machine-entombed fanatics of the Lotus Guild, Yukiko and the griffin will have to form a bond not only to survive, but to take down a corrupt empire as well.
Japanese steampunk! Well let’s be clear – I’m not that into Japanese stuff, and I’ve just barely dipped my toe into the steampunk genre, but even I knew that this would be a cool combination. Things started a bit slow and on the heavy-descriptive side, but once the griffin entered the picture I was hooked.
There’s a lot to this story, so I’m going to bullet-point my likes and dislikes, mmmkay?
- Yukiko can talk telepathically with the griffin, which is pretty cool even it did remind me just a tad of Eragon. (This isn’t a spoiler, it’s actually on the back of the book. So there.)
- Yukiko is actually just a bad-ass girl all around. Girls that carry blades for protection are always a win.
- BURUU! That’s the griffin. He’s angry and powerful and fantastic.
- Demons, crazy arm-sleeve tattoos, a bit of myth and legend, creepy men who live in metal suits, etc…
- CHAINSAW KATANAS. I mean really, that doesn’t even need explaining.
- No big love story. This is a trap that a lot of fantasy novels fall in to – if there’s a young female protagonist, large portions of the book must be dedicated to her finding love among one or two boys. But nooooope. Stormdancer actually focuses on the STORY, which is awesome.
- It made me cry in public. Like halfway through the book, reading it when I was having lunch at Wegmans. I’m sure I got some confused looks.
- Super excited for the sequel, Kinslayer, which comes out on September 17th.
- Wish there was just a bit more back story for Yukiko. Like I love that she’s pretty talented with a blade… but why? Did she have training? Or are all kids in Shima raised that way? Just little details like that would be nice.
- It’s a TAD bit preachy on the pro-environment thing. Industrialization is bad, it’s killing off all of the land, yada yada yada… It’s an admirable view and one that’s interesting to use in a fight-the-evil-empire kind of story, it just got mentioned a bit much for my taste. But this is EASILY overlooked by all of the positives of the book.
Stormdancer was fun, engrossing, and I’m so glad I took the chance on it. And I obviously can’t wait until the 17th to get Kinslayer and read it ASAP.
Sarah Says: 4 stars