Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Apocalypsies Love! Book Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

The corrupt and ruthless shogun sends Yukiko and her father to hunt down a mythical griffin and bring it back from him to ride into his endless war. And surprise -- they actually find one.  Yukiko and the griffin, Buruu, form an unlikely bond as they stumble upon a resistance movement and a plot to overthrow the government. 

I'm not a big reader of epic fantasy, but something about this novel called to me (maybe because it's a dystopian set in steampunk Japan and Jay just seems so awesome) and I'm glad it did. Because once the story hits its stride, I was consumed by it. The relationships - between Yukiko and her father, the guardsman Kin, the green-eyed samurai, and most especially the griffin - are intense, touching and surprising. It also goes without saying that I want both a griffin and the power of kenning so I communicate with my cats.

STORMDANCER could have gotten the writing badge because Jay's sentences are so perfectly constructed, I had to read many of them out loud just to feel them on my tongue. This happens rarely, and usually only with Lauren Oliver or Laini Taylor's stuff. So respect!! But in the end, I decided to go with the World Building badge because of the way Jay convinced me that this alternate universe Japan exists for reals.

As a special bonus, Jay did a picture book version of STORMDANCER that he sent to his editor when she had a baby. He sent me a PDF and it was just as amazing.  This guy is a multi-talent you guys.  He's going to take our world by storm ;)


Because Jay is an Apocalypsie (Debut Author 2012), we get an Apocalypsies Love interview today too!

What is your favorite scene in the book?
My absolute favourite scene is the last chapter, but I can’t really talk about it because the Spoiler Police will (justifiably) do the curb-stomp shuffle across my baby-maker. There’s a scene in the treetop ninja village where Yukiko learns what happened to… no, wait… can’t talk about that one, either…

I do really love the hunt for the thunder tiger, and the moment Yukiko first touches his mind. It has mid-air explosions and it makes some people cry, which are two of my favourite things.

What is your favorite line in the book?
“Let me show you what one little girl can do…”

What setting was most fun to write?
Kigen city. It’s this messy collision of steampunk technology and Japanese feudal society. Streets choked with exhaust fumes, beggars in the gutters, clockwork samurai, beautiful geisha girls, sky-ships dragging themselves across a blood-red sky. Suffocating and dangerous and seething with a thousand secrets – it was a lot of fun to write.

Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why?
Michi. She’s a serving girl (or is she?) in the Shōgun’s palace. She’s sarcastic and insightful and an absolute wrecking machine with a sword – just a really cool combination of fanaticism and femininity. She’s the kind of character I’d want to spend more time on in later books but MAYBE SHE DIES IN BOOK ONE AND YOU WON’T KNOW UNTIL YOU READ IT BECAUSE WE ARE NOT AT HOME TO MR SPOILERS HERE.

What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
Well, holding the book in my hand for the first time was unreal, but everything kinda pales beside finding out people seem to really love reading it. I mean *I* loved it, because it’s my baby, you know? But first reviews have started coming back to us and people are saying just awesome, amazing, humbling stuff. When someone tells you in all honesty “This is the best YA fantasy I’ve ever read”, yeah… nothing really compares to a moment like that.

I might join in the best YA fantasy choir - because HELLO - it's awesome!

STORMDANCER comes out September 1, 2012 in the UK and September 18, 2012 in the US. Find out more about it at the author's website.

See index of all dystopian reviews at Presenting Lenore

FTC disclosure: ARC from publisher after participating in the cover reveal.


P.E. said...

Great interview and review! I've been hearing nothing but good about Stormdancer and I can't wait to read it. :)

Jessy said...

I love the favorite line in the book. It shows so much of the main character in just a few simple words.

Christina said...

Awwwwww, yay! I'm glad you loved it too!

I super love epic fantasy, so I'm used to the whole build up thing. It took a while for the novel to hit its stride for me, but all of that build up was necessary and so worth it.

Choosing a merit badge must have been so difficult. His writing is completely beautiful, but I think you made the right call.


Oh, Jay, how are you always so hilarious? Also, please to be writing as many books as James Patterson, only more awesome. k thanx bai.

Zibilee said...

Steampunk and Apocalyptic? This is one that I simply must read for myself, and I am betting that I am going to have to hid it from my daughter until it is finished, because she will want in on it too! Great review and interview today!

Jay Kristoff said...

Very high praise indeed! Much <3 Lenore :D

Kailana said...

Oh, this sounds really good. You got my interest for sure!