Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)” as Want to Read:
Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Stormdancer

(The Lotus Wars #1)

by
3.80  ·  Rating details ·  12,703 ratings  ·  2,205 reviews
A DYING LAND
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. ...more
Hardcover, USA Edition (1st Edition), 324 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published August 21st 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Stormdancer, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Skroo Take Dune. Change Spice to an oil analog. Add in some mythical creatures. Stir vigorously with some steampunk. Serve with ice.
Clara
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,703 ratings  ·  2,205 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)
Cyna
Jul 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
warning
WARNING WARNING. UNPOPULAR OPINION INCOMING.

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 sort, or at least, to do some very in-depth, sch
...more
Jay Kristoff
Jan 29, 2012 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 background, everyone all hugging and whatnohere.
...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 because it doesn't belo ...more
Kat Kennedy
I need to take a moment to do something before beginning this review.

applause

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.

I need to take a moment to do some­thing before begin­ning this review.

applause

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 alter­nate his­tory, chok­ing the life out of itself by grow­ing and har­vest­ing the Blood Lotus – which fuels all their mechan­i­cal mar­vels. And then there’s Yukiko. Daugh­ter of the Hunt Mas­ter, sub­ject of the ter­ri­fy­ing and cruel Shogun, impure yokai-kin sent on an impos­si­ble mis­sion to find the myth­i­cal grif­fin and cap­ture it for the Shogun.

Things I liked about Stormdancer:

Buruu

The Writ­ing

Yukiko

World-Building

Buruu

Michii

Kasumi

Buruu

Buruu

and

Buruu

Obvi­ously the scene stealer of this novel is Buruu. Proud, funny, vicious, blood-thirsty and beau­ti­ful. But char­ac­ters aren’t enough to breath life into a novel. What Stor­m­dan­ver has is the near-perfectly con­structed prose which trans­form this beau­ti­ful nar­ra­tive into a sprawl­ing epic. Kristoff’s style is rich, whim­si­cal and near lyri­cal in his form and struc­ture. Novice’s to fan­tasy may either get swept away or drown if it’s too deep for their skill level.

Clearly a great deal of ten­der lov­ing care has gone into Kristoff’s stun­ning debut, as vis­i­ble from every sin­gle page labored with meaty lore, obses­sive detail and great imag­i­na­tion. Some may enjoy the sub­tle, or not so sub­tle, nods to other fan­tasy and sci­ence fic­tion that lit­ter this book. The plot and pac­ing keep up a steady stream of inter­est and enthu­si­asm, I felt. Mak­ing this book excep­tion­ally read­able and enjoyable.

And now that I have got­ten all the oblig­a­tory seri­ous dis­cus­sion and annoy­ing stuff that I have to do to be taken seri­ously as book blog­ger out of the way, may I just men­tion one, juve­nile thing that I rather enjoyed:

Chainsaw Katana
Orig­i­nal pic­ture by Cory Doc­torow – alter­ation based on Darkstarz

All the jizz­wor­thy toys. Yes! Great char­ac­ters, writ­ing, world-building, plot, pac­ing, blah-blah-blah… GIVE ME MY CHAINSAW KATANA, KRISTOFF!

The mech­a­nized armor and sky ships and CHAINSAW FUCKING KATANAS and tat­toos and the hun­dred other lit­tle Steampunk-y ideas that filled this novel up and made it stand out above the rest! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT!

calming down

Ah… erm, that is all…

Buy this book. Buy it and read it and love it. Then make me a chain­saw Katana.

This review also appears on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
...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 surrounded/>4.5
...more
Krystle
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
WARNING! EXCESSIVE LENGTH AND ONE ANGRY WOMAN!

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 white-washed! Omg, SCORE!
...more
Patrick
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
Steph Sinclair
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Trick question? EVERYONE!
Recommended to Steph by: Myself because I'm awesome.

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 has such an awesome premise. Whic
...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 Stor/>I
...more
TheBookSmugglers
Sep 05, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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-as/>Ana’s
...more
Bibi
Aug 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Someone please make it stop....

DNF @ 20- what the heck was I thinking- %
Robin (Bridge Four)
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

desc</i></span>
  <span id=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

description

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 the story came from an interpretation of Japanese lore. What I can tell you is that this is about a Girl with a sword who went on a quest to find a hippogriff Thunder Tiger to give to the Emperor but found that doing the honorable thing might be the worst decision of her life.
“The thunder tiger looked at her like an avalanche looks at a butterfly.

There is lots of other stuff too like a world bound in poverty and sludge and addicted to a flower that either kills or addicts everything it touches. There is also a power struggle between the Emperor who has been fighting a war against the west and a conglomerate of people, the Guild, who dress completely in metallic suits various compartments for all your gadget needs that never let the world see the people underneath. The Guild controls everything about the Lotus flower that is controlling the entire populace and have a tendency to burn people at the stake that they find impure a.k.a magical.

It takes a little while for the story to pick up and get going. All the Japanese names and the world take some time to build up. There are flying ships and the city reminded me of something dirty and much like the times in the industrial revolution.

I didn’t really start to enjoy the story until Yukito (the Girl), Buruu (the Thunder Tiger) and Kin (reluctant member of the Guild) were separated from the rest of the group and started a journey of their own. Yukito and Buruu’s time together was especially interesting as she and the Thunder Tiger become friends.
Kin watched them mutely, wondering what passed between them. He couldn’t help but feel jealous of the beast, to know the inner workings of her mind and heart, to speak volumes without ever saying a word. What a strange thing for the Guild to want to exterminate. What a wonderful gift. To never be alone. To know the truth of another’s soul. Maybe that was why they were afraid. Truth in the Guild was a dangerous thing.

There is also some talk of honor since this is a story with Samuri in it. But I think that it is more a story of breaking away from traditions and choosing what is the honorable path for yourself.
“Without his oath, without his Lord, a samurai is nothing. Honesty. Respect. Loyalty. Honor. This is the code of the warrior. I am samurai before all, Yukiko. To wield the long and the short sword and to die. This is my purpose.”
“Someone once told me ‘To be a servant can be a noble thing, but only as noble as the master served.’”

Overall this is a great set up story. There were a few deaths that happened off page that I thought could have been more dramatic. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into this world, there were some horrific discoveries along the way I wasn’t expecting and a surprise at the end that I didn’t see coming. This reminded me a little of how I felt towards the end of Joe Ambercrombie’s Half a King
...more
Sh3lly


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 afford. I
...more
Alexis Lee
Sep 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
[Made some major edits - Oh, and read the end of the review, please. :)]
Arggghhhhhh.

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 reviews. Also, need I mention - JAPANESE. STEAMPUNK. (And, OMG
...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 world well-bu
...more
Vernieda
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 stor
...more
Nafiza
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was ok

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 tha
...more
Syahira
May 18, 2012 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.

Stormdancer is one of the most highly
...more
shady boots | #WatchPOSE
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 tole
...more
Tatiana
May 18, 2012 marked it as dnf
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 - http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/06/st... - before purchasing (or requesting ARCs).
Keertana
“… 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 mak
...more
oliviasbooks
"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
Braiden
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 Yukiko
...more
shanghao
May 19, 2012 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.
++::(MINOR) SPOILERS AHEAD::++
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-san. I can't quite yet shrug the habit after being a character in that book for too long.
B: Do not assault my ears, please. Is it not enough that I wBlue-san.--
:sama.
:been.
:Blue-san.
Blueparody.
AHEAD::++
Lengthy
...more
Maria V. Snyder
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After all the SF, this is a good epic fantasy set in Japan (or a place that is very much like Japan) as the gods and culture are all similar to Japanese ancient gods and culture. I like that the story uses the Japanese pantheon - a unique aspect for fantasy. There is also some "Steampunk" aspects, but it's more "Lotuspunk" as the main fuel for this world is from the lotus plant. And it's a dirty, polluting fuel, that turns the sky red and if you don't have a good respirator over your face, you c ...more
Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
Blog review:
https://edwardsghostengine.wordpress....

This totally took me by surprise!

For some reason when I started reading this I thought it was set in a post apocalyptic Japan and that after the world fell people went back to the old religions and beliefs and started living menial lives again. I mean the polluted atmosphere of the Shima isles made me lean on the sci-fi side. But further into the book I realized it was set in a fanta
...more
Mpauli
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 t
...more
Emma
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 eli
...more
Jonathan Terrington

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 technolo
...more
Rose
Initial thoughts: I'm fairly sure that I'm experiencing the definition of a "covergasm" with this book. I'm not kidding. Look at the colors and detail of it - from the heroine's hair to the clouds and the level of detail of her sword and outfit. It's...there are no words. Even the title, "Stormdancer" has quite the striking ring to it, and the thematic of the book promises a wonderful blend of steampunk meeting a Japanese themed-story with epic fighting scenes, conflict, family dynamic, betrayal, love, and the onset ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree
  • Shadowblade
  • Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)
  • Demon luster
  • Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)
  • Skyward (Skyward, #1)
  • Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)
  • Blood Ninja (Blood Ninja, #1)
  • Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)
  • The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire, #1)
  • Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)
  • Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)
  • The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1)
  • The Near Witch (The Near Witch, #1)
  • Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles, #1)
  • Dożywocie (Dożywocie, #1)
  • We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1)
See similar books…
12,117 followers
Jay Kristoff is the #1 international, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE LOTUS WAR. He is the winner of six Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, has over half a million books in print and is published in over thirty five countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6’7 and has approx ...more

Other books in the series

The Lotus Wars (3 books)
  • Kinslayer (The Lotus Wars, #2)
  • Endsinger (The Lotus Wars, #3)
“It's easy to lose yourself in the idea of a person and be blinded to their reality.” 166 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.” 154 likes
More quotes…