Book Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (The Lotus War #1)

Title: Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Steam-punk, Japan, Mythology
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Book Blurb from Goodreads:

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.
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.
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.
I just noticed the cover for this book. What Yukiko was holding is a katana, as far as I could see. BUT her sword was supposed to be a tantō. >_< A much shorter sword than a katana.

Contained unmarked spoilers.

4 stars. Yep. I'm giving it 4 stars cause the story really deserves it. I know, I should explain further. And you bet this review would be a really long one.

I think I'm the only one who liked it. Uh, okay, rephrasing that one since I know lots of people like it too. I'm one of the Japanese manga/anime addict that is set against the wrong use of nihonggo grammar. Why? Cause I agree with them. It is really wrong. I know you have heard it, or in this case, read negative reviews about that already. But still, I just want to put my two cents in it.

First, the way they use the honorific '-sama'. Yes it is correct that -sama is used to higher ups and for respects. BUT, pay attention here, you don't use -sama as a NAME. Yukiko and other peeps in here use -sama like this "Apologies, sama". You shouldn't use it like that. If you really wanted to use the honorific, then attach the person's name. In this case, "Apologies, Daichi-sama," since Yukiko was talking to Daichi.

AND also, you don't call EVERYONE -sama just because you're being polite. Cause in the first few chapters, Yukiko called someone sama, like "Please, sama"--again not use as name--even though he's not royalty or higher than her. Just use the honorific '-san' and of course, you attach it to the person's name. Okay, so I looked up the Glossary and saw that it said that it is a suffix. But well, it wasn't always used as a suffix in the book.

Second, the use of HAI... Hai means YES. But NO, you don't use it like in English when asking a question. In any case, I just wish that Kristoff did more research on how to use it. I mean, I read somewhere that he watch animes too and that's mostly where he got his knowledge of nihonggo plus from his Japanese friend. I have relatives who live in Japan, half-Japanese cousins too. My older brother also took up Nihonggo classes as an elective plus I am exposed with Japanese culture for what? 15 years already? My point is, it's not that hard to learn basic nihonggo.

So yeah. I'm a bit disappointed in that part. I really tried my best to ignore the grammars so that was why it took me this long to finish the book. I only read it three chapters per day or so. And also because it was a bit boring in the first part. But once you get passed 30%, it's so much better.

I didn't expect that I will like it. I mean, yes I was really anticipating this book before it was even released cause a lot of my GR friends said that it's really good. But then the grammars were so wrong and it keeps on annoying me so I really didn't expect that in the end, I will like it.

I like Buruu. I like how fierce he is from the start. I like how he slowly change and he started to like and care for Yukiko. He treated her like his own sister. That got me really teary-eyed I had to blink several times. I like how defensive he is of Yukiko, how he bowed down just to save her.

This book--after getting past the hard first chapters--really made me laugh at Buruu's teasing, had me gripping the edge of my seat when the actions finally came, made me really want the Shogun to die cause he's such a bastard, had me almost crying at some emotional scenes.

Although there's another thing that made me Um, cringed... Yukiko is a sixteen year old but she already had sex. :O Um, it's not good for teens. >_< I dunno, maybe because I feel like the book is almost saying it's okay to have sex at that age. I'm sorry. Never mind.

In any case, that's why I'm giving it a 4 stars even though I was a bit disappointed at the grammar. For me, it was worth it. :) I'm not saying that those people who are, um, against at reading this book should go and read it. I'm not. I'm just stating my opinion about it and this comes to the girl who knows well what you guys are feeling about the Nihonggo of the book.


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