But then the arashitora shows up, and I was completely hooked. Because dang it, guys, I want an arashitora. So awesome.
Okay, so. Basically, this book is brilliant, and I can’t really express how much I was impressed by Jay Kristoff here. Why are there not more books like this?
Yukiko is sixteen, growing up in a polluted steampunk world where the ways of the old gods are being slowly suffocated. Which is bad for her because she possess the unique ability to feel/think/relate to animals. Then the greedy Sh?gun decides he wants an arashitora (griffin), and Yukiko and her friends are sent off to get it.
And then all hell breaks loose.
The relationship between Yukiko and the arashitora, Buruu, was the sweetest, toughest, most amazing book relationship I’ve ever had the privilege to read. Calling each other “brother”/”sister” doesn’t even begin to cover the closeness the two of them shared. They really became one, and that’s the type of bond I love to read about.
Also: worldbuilding. It’s not something that ever makes or breaks a novel for me, but Kristoff’s worldbuilding was absolutely fabulous in Stormdancer. The steampunk elements, the dystopian setting, the nod to traditional Japanese culture, the intricate mythology. All fantastic and completely praiseworthy. Amazing, amazing stuff.
Stormdancer’s plot is the sort where every possible thing that can go wrong does. I can’t tell you how many times Yukiko and Buruu snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I think that normally, I would have been annoyed by Kristoff’s carrot-dangling methods, except I was so lost in the fabulousness of this book that I didn’t care. It’s a great plot no matter how you slice it.
One thing that sets Stormdancer apart from other reads is the romance. Or lack thereof. There was sex but no swooning vows of eternal devotion. I loved that, actually, because let’s be honest here: not every sixteen year old girl is interested in finding a husband, contrary to what most authors portray.
I expected that I would like Stormdancer. I didn’t expect that I would fall head over heels in love with it like this. This book is pure fantastic awesomeness, and when my preorder ships, I’m going to sleep with it under my pillow because of the awesome.