Expected publication date: 13/09/12 (UK)GoodReads Summary: 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.
The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.
But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.
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Jay Kristoff's Japanese-inspired steampunk debut Stormdancer takes you on a thrilling journey that you never want to end!
Jay Kristoff is the master of world-building, he's crafted together a complex world of history and politics that is both beautiful and revolting. The blood lotus trade has had a damaging effect on the cities of Shima - polluted by Chi the air is thick and suffocating, the sky red, and the environment dying.
Yukiko is an admirable mc - wise beyond her years she never once backs down. Her determination, spirit, and kindness have definitely earned her a place on my favourite heroines list. Her character grows and develops throughout the novel - she makes mistakes, she's a little naive at times (especially where the romance is concerned), but she rises beyond all of that and continues to fight. Kristoff has created a set of characters so brilliantly layered that you'll feel emotionally attached to each and every one of them.
Yoritomo takes the crown at being best villain of the year. If you looked him up in a dictionary here's what I'd you'd find: A cold and ruthless creature who cares for nothing other than his own needs and desires - will evoke even the most gentle of beings to want to reach through the pages and slowly strangle him!
The highlight of the story was -not the romance- but the heart-warming relationship between Yukiko and the Thunder Tiger. The unlikely duo are fiercely protective of each other and they share a bond so deep it creates a sense of loyalty, affection, and understanding. Together they become an unstoppable force that you just can't help but root for.
One of the reasons why I gave this 4 hearts instead of 5 is because of the overly detailed writing. I think it's something you're either going to love or hate. Personally, I wasn't a fan. I found myself skim reading some of the descriptions, but this by no means means that I didn't like the authors writing, it's just that I found the extensive details a bit unnecessary. With that being said I found that Kristoff's rich writing style really shone through during the actions scenes. His attention to detail allows you to conjure up vivid images of the on-going scene and feel all the emotions that the characters are feeling.