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Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  5,234 ratings  ·  1,215 reviews
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 IMPOS...more
Hardcover, USA Edition (1st Edition), 313 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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...more

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...more
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 Steam­pun...more
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...more
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'....more
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...more

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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Alexis Lee
[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...more
little machines
I probably shouldn't be posting the full review now, but oh, it's almost August anyway. Also, there will be a lot of spoilers. I'm sorry, but asking me to do a spoiler-free review of this book is like asking me to grow another head.

Like everyone else, I was definitely excited to read this. But beneath all that excitement, I was worried, because most of you already know that this genre of YA is pretty much waaaay out of my comfort zone. I thought it would take a long time for me to understand the...more
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...more

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...more
Mar 25, 2012 Kira marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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.
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 Yu...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...more
Kevin Hearne
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...more
"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
Syahira Sharif
Jul 30, 2013 Syahira Sharif rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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.

Jul 05, 2012 Tatiana marked it as abandoned
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).

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...more
Nemo (the Moonlight Library)
See this review and more on The Moonlight Library!

When sixteen year old Yukiko is sent to tag along on her father the Huntmaster’s impossible quest of finding and capturing the legendary and probably extinct arashitora (thunder tiger/griffin), her airship crashes and she is forced to make a tentative peace with the grounded wild beast before their unique telepathic bond grows into friendship and beyond. This Japanese Steampunk adventure tale consists of airships and clockwork, chainsaw swords an...more
May 31, 2013 Bern marked it as to-read
I am going to sit here, grimly sharpening my knife until september 18th comes and I can stab my way through the line of bitches reaching for this book.

I hope everybody realizes the above statement is completely justified. This book makes me want to puke rainbows and starlight.

I iz excited.
Stormdancer has already been making waves across the blogosphere and it's easy to see why. Two drool-worthy covers and a synopsis that promises one hell of an exciting ride... there's clearly a lot of expectation to live up to. But if you're doubting for a second whether Jay Kristoff can pull it off, I think my newly acquired chainkatana is begging for some friendly one-on-one time with your neck. Stormdancer lived up to the hype AND THEN SOME. After Braiden bashed us with his love on his blog ...more
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...more
Oct 25, 2012 sanshow rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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-sa...more
I am abandoning this.

I hate to say it, but I've completely lost all interest in this book. The overly detailed writing is difficult to get through, and not a single one of the characters have my attention at the moment.

Maybe it gets better (and I've been assured several times that it does), but I'm afraid my patience has already run out.

Stormdancer clearly isn't for me.
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Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press & Tor UK. Part 3, ENDSINGER, will be released in November 2014. He's also co-author of the upcoming ILLUMINAE (with Amie Kaufman), a YA Sci-Fi... thing, to be released by Knopf/Random House in 2015.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13520 day...more
More about Jay Kristoff...
Kinslayer (The Lotus War, #2) Praying For Rain (The Lotus War, #0.5) The Last Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #0.6) The Little Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1.5) Endsinger (The Lotus War, #3)

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“It's easy to lose yourself in the idea of a person and be blinded to their reality.” 117 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.” 100 likes
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