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Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  8,978 Ratings  ·  1,734 Reviews
Arashitoras 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 he ...more
Paperback, 451 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Tor UK (first published August 21st 2012)
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Oliver Griffins 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…moreGriffins 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 griffin 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 griffin do against the might of an empire?

this is the goodreads summary
Amanda Adult, but with major cross-over. It probably could have been published as either one.
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2012 Debut Authors (Young Adult & Middle Grade)
82nd out of 1,015 books — 6,428 voters
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6th out of 185 books — 308 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jay Kristoff
Jul 10, 2012 Jay Kristoff added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Edit 10 July: You can read the first three chapters of STORMDANCER all typeset and logo'ed and whatnot here.

STORMDANCER is my book, so it should go without saying that I love it in the pants. I love it more than that moment at the end of Top Gun when Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise have just killed the bejeezus out of all those commies and Val is all like "You can kiss me on the mouth be my wingman anytime" and the music swells and some deckhand is just wailing on an electric guitar somewhere in the b
Dec 04, 2013 Cyna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

This book made me really fucking mad.

I'll admit, I was a little leery of Stormdancer from the start - Japanese steampunk sounds cool, but coming from a white western author, the chances of problematic weeaboo fuckery are high. Exoticization. Romanticization. Plain old appropriation. Yet for some reason, I didn't really peg Stormdancer as a weeaboo outing. I don't know why. There was no good reason, and yet, I expected Kristoff to be a scholar of some
Kat Kennedy
I need to take a moment to do something before beginning this review.


Stormdancer is a fantasy nerdgasm, written by a fantasy nerd, for the fantasy nerds – and if it sounds like I just pilfered some of the Gettysburg address then that’s because Abraham Lincoln riding a grizzly bear was just about the only damn thing missing from this book.

Lincoln riding a bear
Image by Rando

Subsequently my life is now complete.

Stormdancer is a world one step removed from our own. Imagined as a Japan with Steampunk technology and alter
Wendy Darling
Read our hilarious and informative interview with Buruu! THERE ARE MORE ARASHITORA. Ahem.

4.5 stars When a book arrives with a massive amount of fanfare, in the form of glowing advance praise and accompanied an agreebly affable author, it's necessary to take a step away from all the hype to ensure that a review isn't influenced by outside factors. Which I did--I avoided reviews, fled the country (okay, that wasn't just to read this book), and read it away from much of the joyful noise that surrou
Emily May
At first I didn't write my review of Stormdancer because the publisher specifically asked me to hold off on posting it until September. Then I didn't write it because I was in the minority and I had to take a deep breath before I put my negative opinion out there. And now I'm writing it because I don't care any longer, I've accepted that my opinion is valid and not just a one off that deserves to belong on my "its-me-not-you" shelf. I didn't enjoy Stormdancer, I can't give it more than one star ...more
Dec 04, 2013 V rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, fiction
Well, if there's one book that has had a hype machine going for it this year, it's Jay Kristoff's Stormdancer. No, not a hype machine. More like a hype combine harvester. I've seen this book being talked about so much over the past year, and naturally, I bought into the hype. It had to be good if so many people were talking about it, right?

Stormdancer tells the story of Yukiko Kitsune, who joins her father on a hunt for a rare beast - an arashitora, which literally translates to 'thunder tiger'.
Sep 17, 2012 Krystle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I really have no idea how I’m going to do this review when everyone else expressed everything I wanted to say in such an eloquent and succinct manner, especially Cyna’s review.

You have no idea how badly, badly, I wanted this book to turn out brilliant and smashing and turn into one of those amazingly successful books that takes the publishing world by storm. Even more so when the absolutely gorgeous and fantastic covers that came out which weren’t wh
Steph Sinclair

The first thing that came to my mind after finishing Stormdancer was the very eloquent: WHOA! The second more composed chain of thought was something along the lines of: Why yes, that *was* just as badass as its cover suggested. Stormdancer had it all for me. Richly crafted world building, carefully placed humor, realistic characters, unpredictable storyline... I mean, I could go on and on here! This book was freakin' awesome! I went into Stormdancer expecting to fall in love with it because it
What's this? A Japanese Steampunk novel with mythical creatures and a strong female protagonist? Yeah, I'm all over that. Though honestly, you had me at "Japanese Steampunk."

I'm not giving this a star rating because the version of the book I read was an "advance uncorrected proof" of the book. That means it could undergo some changes between now and when it's printed in September. "It's hard for me to give it a number, since I don't know what stuff might be different in the version I read, vs t
Dan Schwent
When the Shogun demands someone bring him an arashitora (griffin), a group of adventurers gos on an airship voyage to capture the beast, long thought to be extinct. The airship goes down and a girl named Yukiko befriends the captured arashitora. Can the two of them be reunited with Yukiko's friends and overthrow the Shogun?

I received this ARC from the fine folks at St. Martin's. It's freeness does not diminish its awesomeness.

Not too long ago, I got an email asking if I wanted to give Stormdance
Sep 14, 2012 TheBookSmugglers rated it did not like it
This is going to be LONG

Ana’s Thoughts:

There is a story behind my reading of Stormdancer and it starts months ago when the author first contacted us to introduce his upcoming book. That email remains one of the best book pitches we have received, and the book was described as a dystopian novel in a Japanese-inspired Steampunk setting with a strong girl as its protagonist. We loved the idea, as it sounded like it was a book made for The Book Smugglers (Dystopia! Steampunk! Diversity! Kick-ass Gir
Robin (Bridge Four)
Aug 25, 2016 Robin (Bridge Four) rated it really liked it
The best way to describe this is a Japanese-Dystopian-Steampunk mashup I’m not sure if that makes it Dystopunkanies or Japasteamian or something else completely. Just to give you a little history most everything I know about Japanese culture I learned from Mulan. Which I have been corrected is Chinese and not Japanese so I know even less than I thought I did


So I’m not really versed in much of the Samuri culture or honor and can’t really tell you how well this follows any of that or if some of th
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
4.5 stars
When I first felt myself being pulled into this story, I glanced down and saw the number 156 written at the bottom of the page. 156 pages of barely understandable, agonizingly slow and almost painfully dense prose - that’s what it took for me to start enjoying Stormdancer. But here’s the thing: now that I fully understand this book, I understand the necessity of such a beginning.
This is how the rain becomes a flood. One drop at a time.

There’s something mesmerizing and magical about a
Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨

This book has a thunder tiger in it. It is as awesome as it sounds. The story is set in a re-imagined - steampunk! - Japanese world where a dynasty of Shoguns rule as tyrants. Lotus is a plant which serves as the main source of the economy. But it pollutes the air and part of the plant is used as an extremely addictive drug. It can also be made into fuel for airships and vehicles, but is toxic to the soil, so crops do not do well except with the "special" fertilizer that most people can't affo
Alexis Lee
Sep 12, 2012 Alexis Lee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
[Made some major edits - Oh, and read the end of the review, please. :)]

I read the words:
"Japanese steampunk"
and lost my mind. I knew I had to read this book like, NowOMGholyshiznits. So I did. And now I'm torn, because the words "Japanese Steampunk" deserve five stars for even existing, but the book...not so much.

The blurb sounded fantastic - all the elements I could ever want in a steampunk story (Or even any genre kind of story). I went through lots and lots of rave enthusiastic r
I am judging every single person who has blurbed and recced this book.

Leaving aside the criticisms of cultural appropriation (and there are many criticisms to be made, believe me), this book has some serious gender issues and proves why many female readers do not trust male authors who claim to have written a "strong female character." Mostly because that strong female character will be written in a creepy, sexualized, (straight) male gaze-y fashion.

And even putting that aside, the story is jus
Yup. This was definitely better the second time around.

I think the only real flaw in this book in my eyes was the insta-love and insta-sex part with that Hiro dude. It was just so rushed and cringeworthy. But perhaps Jay Kristoff just wanted to highlight that Yukiko was still young and slightly naive, that perhaps later on in the series she grows and learns from it. I dunno. Maybe it didn't bother others nearly as much as it bothered me, but at this point I just have absolutely zero tolerance fo
Sep 15, 2012 Nafiza rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, 2012

You wouldn’t believe how excited I was for this novel. The synopsis reads like someone looked into my head and took what I wanted to read and then wrote it.

Wait. Let me get my bearings because this “review” is going to be epic and rambling. Have a cupcake and some tea while you’re reading it. Ready? Okay.

Sometimes you come across books that you like absolutely and sometimes you come across books that you loathe absolutely. And if you are unlucky, you come across books that made you scream in utt
Syahira Sharif
Jul 30, 2013 Syahira Sharif rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One. Especially those who call themselves as a japanese otaku! Don't touch this book! Ever
Recommended to Syahira by: A bunch of GR reviewers
also in my blog

Stormdancer is a Young Adult Fantasy fiction about a Kitsune Yukiko and her father was sent to find a mythical creature for their shogun. The novel consisted of 35 chapers with various point of views from Yukiko, Masaru, the Arashitora, the Shogun and some others. It have glossary at the end of the book because the author uses Japanese words while writing and there's tremendous descriptive writing accompanied with every scenes that spans from raindrops, smells and the furniture.

Kevin Hearne
Sep 02, 2012 Kevin Hearne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book some time ago as an ARC. I gave it a blurb, actually, which you'll see on the back cover and on various e-retaliers' sites under "reviews." Here's what I wrote, which is the short version:

"Kristoff's debut is a lyrical triumph of chainsaw swords and thunder tigers that steampunk fans and mythology buffs will devour."

Yep. That's true. It's honestly kinda delicious. The description is rich and vivid and the dude gets full marks for imagery.

But apart from that, I appreciate the in
Mar 25, 2012 Kiki marked it as to-read
This book sounds so fucking epic I'm worried if I buy it, it might set my bookcase on fire.

Goddamn, I want this thing. Like, now.
Jul 05, 2012 Tatiana marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read Eon/Eona by Alison Goodman instead
No, can't do it. The writing style, with over-detailing and over-describing of EVERYTHING, is just too tedious and boring for my taste. It sucks all the juice out of the story. Recommend sampling first 3 chapters to check for writing style compatibility here - - before purchasing (or requesting ARCs).
Aug 14, 2012 Braiden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aussie-ya
Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves onto the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test.

Stormdancer is a richly detailed Japanese-inspired, steampunk fantasy, with splendidly real characters and a gripping plot that will keep you in its claws until the very last page. Jay Kristoff has written a debut like no other; I’m craving to return and venture across his wonderfully imagined Shima Isles and uncover more about The Lotus War with Y
"Yamaguchi Hiroyuki, who rested agura-style in front of a too warm kotatsu, enjoyed a cup of fragrant genmaicha with a plate of fresh kusamochi from a wagashiya at Higashi-Bashi and took a secret sip of shirozake in between, while reading the less shocking parts of the shimbun to his wataire-clad okusan Miyuki, who was supposed to fold the last Hinamatsuri origami, but nervously fingered a fertility omamori from the neighborhood jinja instead. If she did not conceive this very month there was no ...more
“… I wanted to write a book with heart; a book about a friendship that bloomed despite all obstacles. A bond that would grow to become a thing of legend in this nation on the edge of ruin—a friendship that challenged the might of an empire." ~Jay Kristoff

In my opinion, to be a writer is not only one of the toughest tasks in the world, it is also the most courageous; for to be an author is to take on the challenge, not only of pouring yourself into a novel, but in reaching an audience and maki
This book is a very interesting mix. It offers a lot for lovers of YA fantasy as it has all the typical ingredients. We have Yukiko, a teenage female protagonist, who finds a friend in a mythical creature. In this case it isn't a dragon, it's a griffin.
We also have two love interests for her, but fortunately the tiny romance part just complements the well-rounded adventure story, without being a distraction from what is important.
What sets the book truly apart from a lot of similar tales is the
Oct 25, 2012 sanny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who're not familiar enough with Japanese culture to want to facepalm at the culture abuse.
Lengthy not-exactly-a-review parody.

Snowchild & Blue*: Telepathic Conversations
*a.k.a. the ones (in my imagination) roped in to act out the roles of Yukiko and Buruu respectively in Stormdancer.

::SESSION ONE:: Blue on Buruu, hai.

Snowchild (S)
: Greetings, Blue-san.
Blue (B): Hello again. What a book that had been.

S: You don't say, sama.
B: Just stop with that sama/-hai?/hai, sama blasphemy already.

S: Apologies, Blue-s

It's August and so I shall finally post a review of this little YA gem. I was fortunate enough to be granted an ARC e-book version of this book and now intend to buy the paperback when it's available. Mainly because I may enjoy the book even more in paper form. But that all said it was worth gaining this early glimpse of a very solid debut novel.

This is a steampunk science-fiction/fantasy novel set in a feudal Japan similar to, but also different from, our Japan. It features technologies powered
3.5 stars.
This book had a slower start than it needed to have due to the awful amount of information dumping in the first quarter of the book. After that, the story started moving.
Despite its Japan inspired setting, there was nothing terribly new here but it was still an enjoyable read. It is the same story to be found in Red Queen, Ember in the Ashes, Red Rising (not of all of which I have actually read, I must confess!)- basically rising up against the affluent and all powerful elite, with a y
Scribble Orca
This is a review that I’ve had to force myself to write and I’ve tossed out just as many opening lines to the review as there are issues with Stormdancer.

Insert gif - see it? - of someone famous doing something that looks vaguely like what-the-fuck.

What’s worse is that not two days ago I indulged in a review swoonfest with Myke Bartlett's young adult book Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett.

Myke also happens to be a Melbourne-based Aussie writer guy from Perth who won a MAJOR Australian literary award for Fire in the Sea. Have y
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Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE LOTUS WAR, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE. He is the winner of two Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named multiple times in the Kirkus and Amazon Best Teen Books list and published in over twenty-five countries, most of which he has never visited. ...more
More about Jay Kristoff...

Other Books in the Series

The Lotus War (3 books)
  • Kinslayer (The Lotus War, #2)
  • Endsinger (The Lotus War, #3)

Share This Book

“It's easy to lose yourself in the idea of a person and be blinded to their reality.” 145 likes
“Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves onto the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test.” 130 likes
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