Review: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

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Title: Kinslayer (Lotus War #2)

Author: Jay Kristoff

Release Date/Publisher: September 17th 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books

Finished: July 26th 2013

Pages: 448-eBook-ARC given for review

Series: 

  1. Stormdancer
  2. Kinslayer
  3. Endsinger

Synopsis:

A SHATTERED EMPIRE
The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The toxic blood lotus flower continues to ravage the land, the deadlands splitting wider by the day. The machine-worshippers of the Lotus Guild conspire to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

A DARK LEGACY
Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

A GATHERING STORM
Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

What I thought:

I received this ebook from the publisher for a fair review, thank you!

I remember that I did like the first book, and although I did mention that it was slow and there were tons of descriptions, that writing style grows on you after reading more. The settings and characters in the author’s world definitely expand more than the first book and the story really builds nicely too, and I found myself enjoying this one even more! With everything that goes on in this book I just kept wanting to read more too. The ending and how everything turned out was so awesome, especially certain twists that were added, especially one involving Yukiko near the end of the book.

There are multiple POVs from different characters, all who play an important role to the development of this story. From Yukiko and Buruu, to the future Shogun, Kin, and other members of the Kagé who are trying to make a difference. Some of them characters we didn’t meet before, but I loved seeing all sides of the story.

I won’t go into the story so as not to ruin anything though, but I will thank whoever put together a character map at the beginning! There was no way I would have been able to remember each character from the first book without it. The maps were hard to see on my Kobo screen, but I’m sure in the final paper print they’d help a lot too.

Honestly if you want a good book with samurai, a corrupt government, rebels, lots of action and legendary creatures mixed with a bit of steampunk, then go get this book! But of course make sure to read the first book too! Highly recommended.

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Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Title: Stormdancer (Lotus War #1)

Author: Jay Kristoff

Release Date: September 18th, 2012 by St. Martin’s Press

Read: July 21st, 2012

Pages: 337-eBook-ARC given for review

Series: 

  1. Stormdancer
  2. Kinslayer
  3. Endsinger

Synopsis:

A DYING LAND
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.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
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.

A HIDDEN GIFT
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.

What I thought:

I first want to thank the publisher for giving me a copy of this to preview from NetGalley!

This book has a lot of things going for it. I loved all of the Japanese themes, and all the myths and terms associated with a more feudal era  were carried into this book perfectly. The steampunk element is still kind of new to me, and I did like it even though it took me some getting used to. Both of these actually work really well, more than I would have figured.

The people are ruled by the lotus. Not only can they smoke it and become addicted, but it serves many purposes like fueling their vehicles and airships, even used for rope. However it has turned the blue sky to red and many people suffer from being in its pollution after a while. Most citizens wear goggles and a protective mask of some sort to protect themselves.

The first chapter starts off with action and a battle, but then a good portion of the book slows down, and there’s lots of descriptive paragraphs. I understand that the world and all the elements had to be set up and built for the rest of the series, but I do have to admit that I was looking forward to a little more action and samurai-style fighting at the beginning. There was also a lot of depth to the bond between Yukiko and Buruu as the story went on, and there were definitely flashes of excitement and long secrets revealed.

The Shogun (kind of like the king) decided one day that he wants a Griffin (Thunder Tiger). Most of these creatures among many others have been extinct for ages, the only things that lie out there are the Oni (demons). He sends his Black Fox hunter and his comrades to go and fetch him one, even though they know it will be nearly impossible. The daughter of the hunter is Yukiko, part of the Kitsune (fox) clan. On a side note, there are currently 4 clans for Tiger, Dragon, Fox and Phoenix and all who hail from these clans has a tattoo on their arm representing it.

Anyway, off they go to find this creature, and do they find him or what. He’s awesome, proud and defiant, and he can make lightning. Eventually Yukiko and the Griffin end up on the ground, trying to survive so close to the Oni. With her ability to talk to creatures, they start to become friends, which helps with all that they have to go through in the wilderness, and when they get back to the city.

This was definitely a good book and it was hard to rate because I liked it, but at times it felt slow and I would have liked there to be more action and a faster pace. The writing was good and so was the story overall and it got really good closer to the end, the end being totally awesome! There is so much more that goes on in this book, but I don’t want to give too much away, so go read it! Also the cover looks amazing!

Recommended for fans of Steampunk and Japanese-styled stories.

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A bit about the Author:

Jay Kristoff is a tragic nerd, but has spent the last ten years dumping expeez into his Intimidation stat, with the result that nobody is brave enough to say it to his face. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

Jay prostituted his writing arm in the soulless crack-house that is advertising for over ten years. He’s hocked petrol guzzling monstrosities to sexually inadequate men, salty condiments to schoolchildren, and toilet paper to anyone with a bottom. He has won several awards that nobody outside the advertising industry gives a toss about.

Jay’s debut novel, STORMDANCER, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy, will be published by St Martin’s Press/Tor UK in 2012 as the first installment of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy. He is represented by Matt Bialer at Sanford J Greenburger Associates.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13870 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.