Endsinger (The Lotus War #3)

Endsinger (The Lotus War #3)
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Release Date
November 25, 2014
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A TREMBLING EARTH The flames of civil war sweep across the Shima Imperium. With their plans to renew the Kazumitsu dynasty foiled, the Lotus Guild unleash their deadliest creation—a mechanical goliath known as the Earthcrusher, intended to unite the shattered Empire under a yoke of fear. With the Tiger Clan and their puppet Daimyo Hiro in tow, the Guild marches toward a battle for absolute dominion over the Isles. A BROKEN REBELLION Yukiko and Buruu are forced to take leadership of the Kagé rebellion, gathering new allies and old friends in an effort to unite the country against the chi-mongers. But the ghosts of Buruu’s past stand between them and the army they need, and Kin’s betrayal has destroyed all trust among their allies. When a new foe joins the war tearing the Imperium apart, it will be all the pair can do to muster the strength to fight, let alone win. A FINAL BATTLE The traitor Kin walks the halls of Guild power, his destiny only a bloody knife-stroke away. Hana and Yoshi struggle to find their place in a world now looking to them as heroes. Secret cabals within the Lotus Guild claw and struggle; one toward darkness, the other toward light. And as the earth splits asunder, as armies destroy each other for rule over an empire of lifeless ash and the final secret about blood lotus is revealed, the people of Shima will learn one last, horrifying truth. There is nothing a mother will not do to keep her children by her side. Nothing.

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The Lotus War is coming to an end, one way or another. I’m here to assure you that Jay Kristoff’s trilogy doesn’t prat fall in the final volume. Endsinger is everything I hoped and dreamed it would be, only more. For the uninitiated, here’s my pitch: Kristoff’s fantasy is sort of like Joss Whedon combined Game of Thrones, and will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. That’s really the best way I can sum up the pain and wonderfulness that The Lotus War trilogy has in store. Now, at this point, I’m going to urge people who haven’t read Stormdancer and Kinslayer to head on out (though don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of the review), because there will be spoilers for the first two books and this is not a series where you want to be spoiled.

Alright, it’s just those of us who have read the first two Lotus War books. You know what that’s like. You know how Jay Kristoff stabbed his authorial pen into your heart and twisted it around. You’re probably a little bit afraid.

No, really. Endsinger is as bad as you’re expecting it to be, if not worse. By bad, of course, I mean absolutely gorgeous and utterly painful. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be chewed on by an arashitora? It’s probably pretty similar to the feeling of my heart. Just saying. Jay is an evil, evil human being who feeds off the tears of his readers.

Endsinger has probably the swiftest pace of the trilogy. By book three, stuff is going down consistently. There’s no lull here, no calm. War has arrived. Sure, the battles haven’t yet begun at the very beginning of the book, but something intense happens in every single chapter. People often mention books leaving them breathless and this is one book where it’s actually true. At no point is any one of these characters safe.

One thing that I do want to comment on is Yukiko’s pregnancy. That was the main concern I had about Endsinger. Anyone who knows me knows that I loathe babies as a plot device. It is true that Yukiko’s new status as an impending mother is important in Endsinger, but it doesn’t change who she is. Yukiko remains every bit as brave. In fact, if anything, being pregnant makes her stronger and more determined to save her world. The twins do make others treat her differently sometimes but she is in no way weakened or lesser. I feel like society tries to tell the badass women in this series that having sex made them unworthy and they were like “I’ll show you what I can do” and that’s pretty much the best.

In some spots, Kristoff truly surprised me; there were twists that I did not see coming. Endsinger shocked me in being a book full of redemption. The characters in this series are so dynamic, constantly changing and learning and growing and struggling. This is precisely why they’re so real to me and why it hurts me so much when they die. A character suddenly becomes amazing and you’re so happy for them and in comes Jay Kristoff with his murderous pen.

What’s funny though is that the one thing I was able to see coming with pretty good accuracy was the death. I was chatting with Meg (Cuddlebuggery) early on in my reading and I started guessing who would die. I was actually on target. I’ve got you figured out, Kristoff. Even so, it hurt. Being fairly sure that X character was going to depart the world really didn’t make the actual moment any less impactful. Plus, though I saw the event coming, there’s never knowing HOW or WHEN and oh the pain. The takeaway of this review? Jay Kristoff is a mean man and I love it.

Seriously, this series is everything I want. A vivid setting with a diverse cast, magical powers, powerful female characters, incredible odds, characters all in a shade of gray, pain, and beauty. Sure, there are a couple of small goofs I noticed, like modern slang (ex. “f*** this noise”) or Captain-san (which is sort of like saying Mr. Captain), but honestly I don’t care about these things. I love the book so much, even when it’s punching me in my heart. Especially when it’s punching me in my heart.

I’m not really sure what else to say except that I love this and ouch over and over, so I guess I’ll stop. The Lotus War series is one of my favorites of all time. The prose is luscious, the characters nuanced, and the plot so good that it makes me swoon. Pretty sure I will love these books and characters for all my life, just like Yukiko loves Buruu.
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