Vernieda's Reviews > Stormdancer

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
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Oct 11, 12

bookshelves: characters-of-color, steampunk, young-adult, asian-fantasy
Read from September 11 to 25, 2012

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 just not that good. It's pacing is slow -- it takes 100 pages before anything really happens. Why? Because the first 100 pages are devoted to clumsy infodumping, which only highlights the superficial cultural research. There are plot cliches everywhere. The romance, such that it is, makes me roll my eyes because it's a classic Nice Guy(tm) fantasy.

It's just very disappointing. This is a book that got a lot of buzz, and part of that buzz is because of the setting. Except it's exoticized, fetishized Othering and it's bothersome to think that the kind of books that get that amount of attention only support the failtastic Orientialism that's been in the fantasy genre for decades. We haven't moved past this? Really?

In conclusion: (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ
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Reading Progress

09/11/2012 "I may regret this, given some of the things I've been reading about it but I have a copy so let's soldier on."
09/11/2012 page 7
2.0% "Oh god, there's fangirl Japanese. :("
09/19/2012 page 34
10.0% "Could it be any more obvious that this book was written by a weeaboo, I can't even." 7 comments
09/19/2012 page 54
16.0% "I am over 50 pages in and nothing has happened yet. Are you serious? This is mega slow for YA pacing."
09/24/2012 page 158
49.0% "So apparently the only way to reveal to the secret rebel ninja village that Yukiko serves the evil shogun is by having a couple of random guys spy on her in the bath and ogle her breasts and ass. Because I guess no book is complete without a scene of blatant male gaze sexualization of the female protagonist. On the census front: Up to 5 named female characters! 6 if you include the dead mom. (Of course she's dead.)" 2 comments

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by S (new)

S You're reading this? Godspeed D:


Vernieda S wrote: "You're reading this? Godspeed D:"

I'm taking the bullet for a couple people. It's hurting my soul.


The UHQ Nasanta I've seen this term around and I am baffled. What does it mean, male-gazing?


message 4: by Ellen (new)

Ellen It's getting to the point where I kind of want to read this book BECAUSE it sounds so bad.


Vernieda Ellen wrote: "It's getting to the point where I kind of want to read this book BECAUSE it sounds so bad."

But you'll just be torturing yourself with the terrible combination of fangirl Japanese with just plain incorrectly used Japanese.


message 7: by The UHQ Nasanta (last edited Sep 28, 2012 05:30PM) (new)

The UHQ Nasanta Emma wrote: "Here's a good article re: male gaze: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2012..."

Thanks, Emma.

Edit: That was an amazingly insightful article. Thanks again!


sanshow IKR. The male gaze (not to mention the cultural fails) disturbed me throughout the book to the detriment of my enjoying the story (not that it's anything new to begin with, but I like my fluff entertainment)


slayra I liked the "steampunk" (ish) elements but I had all the other problems with this book as you did. The portrayal of Japan = fail. :P


Vernieda slayra wrote: "I liked the "steampunk" (ish) elements but I had all the other problems with this book as you did. The portrayal of Japan = fail. :P"

Oh, the portrayal of Japan was terrible! It was basically Weeaboo Wonderland.


message 11: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph Daaaag. She gave it the rage face.


Vernieda MrsJoseph wrote: "Daaaag. She gave it the rage face."

LOL, but it's true!

...where are you all coming from? I normally don't get this much traffic on my reviews.


message 13: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph Vernieda wrote: "MrsJoseph wrote: "Daaaag. She gave it the rage face."

LOL, but it's true!

...where are you all coming from? I normally don't get this much traffic on my reviews."


It's all Misty's fault, lol.

I was so looking forward to this book but...the mind boggles.


Vernieda Just skip it! There are better ways to pass your time. So many better ways!

Honestly, I wouldn't have used the rageface if I didn't know how awesome this book could have been... and how faily it ended up being in reality.


message 15: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph Vernieda wrote: "Just skip it! There are better ways to pass your time. So many better ways!

Honestly, I wouldn't have used the rageface if I didn't know how awesome this book could have been... and how faily it e..."


yeah, someone on the DA review said:
"[Readers are] so thirsty for [this kind of story] they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand."



Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Vernieda wrote: "...where are you all coming from? I normally don't get this much traffic on my reviews."

Stalking the 1- and 2-star review pages for people who actually make sense amid all the mind-boggling hype-y reviews that use words like "perfect" and "magical." Er, well, that's how I found yours anyway.

You're welcome UHQ, glad that was helpful!


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