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Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff Namusanbou! I need this.

Keywords: Telepathy, animal-speak, griffins, stormdancing, storms, teens, Japanese, steampunk, fantasy, girl power, tattoos, drunken mess, bar fights, emperor, Asian-influenced, samurai, anime, science, powers, clans, fox, thunderbirds.

Actual Rating: image

Sentence: I sentence Jay Kristoff to a stormdance-off. I suspect he will win.



Initial reaction: I was reminded of Atlantis, Eon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, How to Train Your Dragon, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Gladiator, and The Hunger Games, over the course of this entire book (in varying degrees). But only in the best ways, which I'll elaborate later.

Let me start off by saying that this book is not perfect, nor do I demand everyone read it. I really enjoyed this book and you, whoever you may be, will likely read much about this book after it has been released. That does not mean you will like it. I really enjoy steampunk, but I don't think all steampunk was really meant for me. Most YA steampunk actually sucks or isn't what I'd consider steampunk (yes, my nose is all up in the air rejecting YA, even though I love it too) and it certainly is not meant for everyone to enjoy.

Stormdancer is just the right amount of dark steampunk that I can get and nod at without argument. But Stormdancer is also many other things that I can easily get sick of; I do not normally read; and I watch and read too much of already so it's overkill. That's why I was impressed by how much I could stand some of the themes and aspects I had seen time and time again.

Kristoff takes things that are sorely overdone and then kicks them altogether into some sort of crazy-ass contraption of symbiosis. All the elements feed off each other and they make beautiful, stormy music; the conductor being Kristoff.

I will admit that the beginning was pretty slow until about eight or so chapters in. It's the first book in a trilogy so I always allow this sort of lag for world-building and character development. But that does not mean the plot had not already rooted itself into the reader's mind.

I think what killed it for me was the complexity of Yukiko's relationship with the green-eyed samurai. On the one hand, he is fucking gorgeous and he likes her. On the other, he is an awful, back-stabbing asshole (but there is probably more to it than that). Sure, there's that almost love triangle that is so typical of YA these days, but there's also sex. So fuck all y'all. Finally, something as realistic and impulsive as teens really can be. And don't you dare try to deny that. I'm not trying to generalize, I am just saying...okay, fuck it. I am generalizing. I used to be an impulsive teen, so I think I still (sort of) know.

Also, that last fight was pretty damn awesome.

Anyway, I do not want to really spoil this book as it is more enjoyable reading all of it play out. This would probably make a pretty decent anime movie or show, by the way. Just sayin'. There was Howl's Moving Castle, yes, but there is also this (nudge, nudge Miyazaki).