Okay, so I'm going to break my own protocol here and start this review all in caps: "STORMDANCER" DESERVES ALL THE STARS.
It's seriously one of...moreOkay, so I'm going to break my own protocol here and start this review all in caps: "STORMDANCER" DESERVES ALL THE STARS.
It's seriously one of the best YA fantasy books I've read in the past decade. I try not to go overboard and flail like this over a book, but...I just can't help it. While I had very minor issues with this book (linguistically speaking), otherwise, I don't think I can gush and flail enough. "Stormdancer" is breathtakingly beautiful, dangerous, and utterly seductive - AND it puts other adult novels that are in the high fantasy/steampunk/alternate history genre to shame.
Okay, so to the minor issue I had with the book: linguistics. If you read the book, you'll notice the word "sama" is used as "lord". Let me fix this for you guys: indeed, in Japanese, "-sama" is used as a suffix when referring to someone drastically above you on the social ladder - like a lord/lady/prince/etc. But the correct word would really depend on how far up the person is up on the ladder. If the person really is a lord or lady, you'd probably use the term "goshuujin (one's lord/mistress)" when addressing them/talking about them, OR add the suffix "-dono" to their name. "Sama" by itself is a word, but it doesn't, by itself, mean "lord/mistress". I would have been a bit less disgruntled in the linguistics department had Kristoff just used "my lord" in English, and "yes?" instead of "hai?" (because that's wrong, too). Yukiko and the Kitsune clan would probably just stick to normal formal verb endings (-san, etc) unless it were the prince they were talking to (because they're just too 'low class' in the linguistic education department to do otherwise - and I won't even go into that).
End rant. But that's really a small matter and I'm INSANELY picky when it comes to correct language use, so...yeah. It didn't diminish my enjoyment of the novel but it did bug me a bit and I had to get that out of me. I will admit that I was tickled over his names for the rivers (Maiden, Pure, White), and I liked how Kristoff explained why he named the rivers thus.
But in all other aspects, this novel is absolutely gorgeous and soars just like Buruu in a storm. The characters are woven seamlessly back into the world and because they're so intricately interconnected, makes the entire experience even more pleasurable - the worldbuilding, too, is top notch, because Kristoff figured out how to connect all characters, even the ones we see the least, back to the dying land of Shima. It's so good it's almost disturbing that this is his debut - he has the hand of a master in the genre already with his first book. I can see why Patrick Rothfuss blurbed the book - it's that damned good.
There was no part of this book that was slow or that dragged - I literally read it in one sitting. And then I flipped back to the first page and wanted to read it again. It's so absorbing that I had my phone on when reading it, and missed three calls because of it (and my phone was on "break your eardrums" loud). The setting is rich and while toxic, beautiful. Kristoff is ridiculously talented in the sensory imagery/language area, and I could really see everything he described. I smelled the horrid air, I felt the rain when I rode alongside Yukiko on Buruu, I tasted the food, I heard everything. The characters, even down to the least important cameo character, were very real and full, and the entire experience was almost surreal with all of this sensory fullness surrounding me.
I could go on and on about this one, but I won't. Seriously, just do yourself a favor and get a copy when it hits stores on September 18th in North America from St. Martin's Griffin/Macmillan. Its place on my best of 2012 so far list is very well-deserved indeed and yes, it really is that good.
(posted to goodreads, librarything, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)(less)
I seem to be the only one who enjoyed this memoir. That's a shame, because even if it's not exactly the most linear in terms of how the whole JT Leroy...moreI seem to be the only one who enjoyed this memoir. That's a shame, because even if it's not exactly the most linear in terms of how the whole JT Leroy debacle came up, it's still a peek into her head on how she was taken for the ride of her life.
A breath of fresh air that links the worlds of virology, government secrecy, the paranormal, and post-apocalyptic worlds.
I'm pretty sure that this is...moreA breath of fresh air that links the worlds of virology, government secrecy, the paranormal, and post-apocalyptic worlds.
I'm pretty sure that this is the best new book of 2010 from a (kind of) new author - I was riveted by every page and didn't get bored at any point in the book. The best part is that the author got all of the facts right concerning the USMIL program with virii, and how tests are conducted. SO many books that try to pull all of these genres together get this one wrong; whether it be the USMIL program or the CDC or anything of the like that exists in real life.
What's even more fascinating is that the timeline within the book was never explicitly mentioned in terms of Common Era years - this was only established after the book was published within an interview with the author. There are hints given throughout the book in terms of events that have not happened (so perhaps, maybe we can call this an alternate timeline from 2010 onward) and god willing, won't happen within the US in how they relate to past terrorist events that have happened within the US and its territories. This geopolitical timeline alone is not only vital to the story, but done so well that I didn't even notice until after reading, and reading again. It took me three times to realize how this was mapped out concerning arc timelines alone, and that has to be praised - not because I was confused, but because I was trying to tease out these possible future events.
That said, I can't wait for the sequel, due out in 2012 (how very fitting!). Let's hope that the publisher and author stay on schedule, because I'm so very hungry for more.(less)
My favourite of the entire series, possibly because Tally finally comes into her own and stops being a coward.
That and the abilities of the Cutter Sp...moreMy favourite of the entire series, possibly because Tally finally comes into her own and stops being a coward.
That and the abilities of the Cutter Specials are really awesome. :D
I'd love to have a prequel to the series, though. I'm happy with 'Extras' as a sequel to check in in terms of what happened after the Mind-Rain, but I'd like to see what happened before 'Uglies' started.(less)
A nice little epilogue of what happened after the Mind-Rain. I really wish there'd been more with Tally involved, but this was Aya's story in the end....moreA nice little epilogue of what happened after the Mind-Rain. I really wish there'd been more with Tally involved, but this was Aya's story in the end.
One flaw: how much time had passed between the end of the Prettytime/Mind-Rain to this new Kick/Merit Economy?
I'd love a sequel to the sequel, or maybe a companion book to it, talking about what Tally had been up to with the other Specials. I love her struggle with not cutting, trying to be Special but bubbly and not giving into her animal rages, and that needs to be more talked about.
I'm just happy I got a first print. Yes, I'm a nerd like that. :3(less)
If you're going to understand anything about children born in the 1980's in Japan, this book is essential reading. We do need more books on this topic...moreIf you're going to understand anything about children born in the 1980's in Japan, this book is essential reading. We do need more books on this topic (in English), and I wonder why we don't...(less)