Arashitoras are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shõgun, they fear that their lives are over – everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled arashitora for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.
Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shõgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shõgun’s crimes, both against her country and her family.
Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shõgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless arashitora do against the might of an empire?
When I got this from the library, I really don’t know what to expect until I saw Patrick Rothfuss’s little review at the back of the book:
‘Mythic creatures, civil unrest and a strong female protagonist? I’m afrain I missed everything you said after “Japanese Steampunk”. That’s all I needed to hear’ – Patrick Rothfuss
That little statement has got me interested and once I am finished I was not disappointed. However it does take awhile to get into the story due to vast amount of detail, going through different point of views between Yukiko and the Shogun and trying to get into the world when the author has immediately started the story. The story is seperated into 4 different clans. The Tiger Clan, The Pheonix Clan, Fox Clan and the Dragon Clan, but the story focuses on the Fox Clan that holds the main protagonist, Yukiko Kitsune. Her father Masaru has been offered a job by the Shogun to find the legendary Thunder Tiger, also known as, Arashitora that people believe to be extinct, but if Masaru and his gang doesn’t complete his task, it could mean a death sentance. But in an unfortunate circustance, Yukiko met a guy called Kin and while learning the history about the Shogun from Kin, Yukiko has other plans. As I said it does take awhile to get into the world that Jay Kristoff created as he put in a huge amount of detail in only a few first chapters that can be overwhelming but once you managed to sit down and get into it, it’s worth it.
What I mainly love about Stormdancer is how the author keeps into the Japanese Culture, it’s so obvious that Kristoff has researched into the beautiful culture from its language, mythology, Religion, clothing, make up, titles/names to represent certain people and family clans. That being said I am glad Kristoff has made a glossary at the back so I can understand the meaning behind certain Japanese words so I can picture what is happening and how the characters present themselves in certain situations.
Yukiko is a fantastic protagonist. She knows how to protect herself with combat, has a sassy attitude where she makes great comebacks against people’s views that she doesn’t agree with and she has a gift where she can communicate with animals with telepathy. Along the way the she has befriend with the Kin and the Arashitora to go against the Shogun that she learns does henious crimes while being a Shogun such as rape, murder, torture and taking away family and possessions that brings endless misery to so many people through out, so she will do whatever it takes to stop the Shogun and save her family.
However, along the way she does end up being in a middle of romance that I could do without, particularly with an Iron Samurai she meets called Hiro, an ‘honourable’ man with ‘beautiful’ green eyes. I feel like Yukiko’s ‘fairy tale’ romance with Hiro is a waste of time and in my opinion is a very predictable character. Kin is also attracted to her but he has got what I call a ‘Ron Weasley complex’ where he is always the sidekick and has to take the back seat when it comes to romance because he is not as handsome as Hiro, because of this he doesn’t get much notice from the other characters until it comes clear that Yukiko wouldn’t be where she is without him. I do have a little soft spot for Kin as I love how loyal and committed he is to Yukiko, while he was a little weak through the first, I hope he gets a strong character development along through the series.
Despite that unnecessary romance and attraction, I very much enjoyed the book and I want to continue diving into the series. Overall I give it 4/5 stars.
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Happy Reading 😀