Blythe's Reviews > Stormdancer

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
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“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.”

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

If you're a regular user of Goodreads, and you read young adult, odds are you've heard of the book that's been having people all over the book blogging - and young adult reading - community raving, and waiting in agony of its release. That book, of course, being Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. I'm not going to lie: despite the glowing five star reviews from friends of mine, and the fact that pretty much all of Goodreads is highly anticipating this book, I never really was. I don't know why, but the synopsis just did nothing for me, and I had a feeling that, despite all of the rave reviews, I just wouldn't like this book. However, when I saw it on NetGalley, I decided that I might as well request it, and if I'm accepted, I'll give it a shot, and if I'm not, no worries. In the end, I have to say that I'm happy I took the chance and requested this book on NetGalley, even if I didn't enjoy it as much as most people seemed to.

In a dying and polluted land, Kitsune Yukiko (otherwise known as just Yukiko), and her father, Masaru, are given a command from the Shōgun of Shima, Yoritomo, to look for an ancient beast known as the arashitora. All throughout Shima, arashitoras are thought to be extinct, and the quest to go and find one is seemingly impossible, but, following the orders of the Shōgun, Yukiko and her father embark on this quest. Unbeknownst to the public, Yukiko retains a special ability to communicate with animals via telepathy. However, as Yukiko and her father's way of transportation breaks down, the quest has suddenly gone awry, and Yukiko is left alone, befriending an arashitora named Buruu. The longer Yukiko is left in this barren world with Buruu, the more she finds out about secrets withheld from her for her whole life: secrets that can change said life forever.

Stormdancer and I got off to a pretty bumpy start, and I found myself soon bored by the incredibly detailed writing, and I didn't have a clue as to most of what was going on throughout the first quarter of the novel, because terms I did not know were being thrown around like wildfire, with hardly any explanation as to what those terms mean. Eventually, with my friends Google and context, I was able to unravel the meaning of the terms, which made way for an entirely enjoyable read afterwards. (And also, there's a glossary in the back of the book, but for me, it would have been too much of a pain to go back and forth from the glossary to my current page on my Kindle.)

Upon reading the first few pages of Stormdancer, the first thing I noticed was the extremely captivating writing (and, of course, the immense amount of detail). As well as that, it's quite clear, given the brilliant, in depth, and at times frightening, world building provided, that Kristoff has done his research and that he definitely knows what he's talking about. And, of course, it's also quite clear that he has an immeasurable amount of talent as a writer.

The central characters in Stormdancer are well developed, flawed, and likable, but unfortunately, I never felt that I had a real connection to them. Sure, I cared about what would have happened to them throughout the novel, but honestly, to me, they were just characters. I love it when I have the feeling that the characters I'm reading about are more than just characters. I love it when I feel like the characters I'm reading about are real people; so real that I can reach through the pages and hug them, and I hate to say that I didn't feel that when reading Stormdancer.

As well as my lack of a connection with the characters, I also didn't feel any connection to the romance between Yukiko and Kin, and quite possibly an extra participant to vie for Yukiko's love, Hiro, the boy with the sea green eyes. To me, the romance just felt completely unnecessary to the plot, and the (view spoiler) felt completely out of place in the midst of what was going on at the time.

However, despite my problems with the overly detailed descriptions, the lack of a connection with the characters, and the same for the romance, I found Stormdancer to be an original and stunningly written debut, and I eagerly anticipate the next book in The Lotus War series, as well as any future projects Kristoff has planned.
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Reading Progress

2.0% "I have no clue what most of the terms in this book mean. It looks like Google will be my best friend while I'm reading Stormdancer, huh?" 9 comments
36.0% 5 comments
04/24/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Still waiting for my status!

Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews) Oh Blythe, I heart you. And I'm also happy you liked this enough for a 3-star rating. Looking forward to the actual review!

message 3: by Blythe (last edited Aug 18, 2012 04:42PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Blythe It's actually a 3.5 star rating, which means "I really liked it", in my rating system. I'm not sure how I'm going to write a review for this, but this was definitely a good surprise! :)

Oh yeah, and I <3 you, too, of course!

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

To be fair, you have always said that fantasy is not your cup of tea. I rated it four stars, and I felt a little left out of the 5 star club.

Blythe Fantasy definitely is not my cup of tea, so the fact that I enjoyed it so much says a lot about the quality of Stormdancer.

message 6: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Yeah I decided to pass on this one. I've been really trying a lot of fantasy this year (even though it's not my fav genre either) but I think I'm done trying. It's just not my thing at all.

Blythe Fantasy is not my favorite genre, either, but I've actually read a few really good ones this year, including Stormdancer. Sure, I've had some clunkers in the genre this year, too, and no, I don't think fantasy will ever become a favorite genre of mine, but at least I can say there are quite a few fantasies that I've really enjoyed.

message 8: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie True, I've been happy with a select few that I have read. Grave Mercy being one of them. But that was more historical fiction than fantasy... guess that doesn't count. lol

Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews) Lyn wrote: "To be fair, you have always said that fantasy is not your cup of tea. I rated it four stars, and I felt a little left out of the 5 star club."


No, j/k. I love this review. Your reasons are valid, and like you say, fantasy will never be a big hit with you so I am happy this was 3.5 for you. Are you going to try the sequels when they come out?

Blythe Thanks, Jessie! And yes, I'll definitely be back for the sequels. The ending was a bit dramatic (okay, really dramatic), but I'm really looking forward to book two.

message 11: by Catelin (new) - added it

Catelin Wilde Nice review, Blythe! I'm even more excited now, since I love epic fantasies. Again, thanks for the great review!

Blythe Thanks, Catelin! I hope you like it when you have the chance to read it! But, since you love epic fantasies, I'm pretty sure you'll love this one a lot.

message 13: by Blythe (last edited Aug 19, 2012 04:15PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Blythe Yeah, there's a glossary in the back, but, like you, I figured it'd be difficult to go back and forth from the glossary to your current page with an e-copy. (Though I got a message from Jay that he's putting the glossary on his website for those who are reading Stormdancer on ereaders, so that's good!) And thank you, Sam! I agree, the overly detailed writing put me off a little, too, as well as my lack of a connection with the characters and the romance, but, in the end, I did enjoy it altogether, and I hope you do, too. Regardless of what you think of it in the end, I really can't wait to read your review!

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