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Jay Kristoff's intriguing Japanese Steampunk novel STORMDANCER!
With STORMDANCER releasing in the UK and Australia yesterday, September 13th and in the USA next Tuesday, September 18th, Jay Kristoff's blog tour is in full swing and I'm delighted to be taking part. STORMDANCER is one of my highly anticipated books of Fall 2012 because it is Japanese Steampunk. Need we say more?
When I heard there was a fantasy novel on the horizon with a Japanese flair, I immediately wanted to read it. Having lived in Japan for two years, I still have fond memories of the country and its rich history. I'm new to the steampunk genre, but always willing to try something new, so when I heard that not only was Jay Kristoff's STORMDANCER going to be Japanese, but Japanese steampunk, I was even more intrigued.
The promise of Japanese steampunk wasn't a ruse to bring in readers, either. From the first page, the world is steeped in Japanese history. There are oni (demons) and samurai and geisha. There is mythology and lore that will make you wonder what is based on research and what is out of Kristoff's own imagination. While there is a lot of Japanese terminology floating about, Kristoff is good about making sure that readers are never left in the dark. He'll use the word "tora" in one sentence, then let you know he means "tiger" in the next. Due to all of the Japanese and Kristoff's flair for describing everything in miniscule detail, there is a lot of intense world-building in the first chunk of the book. At first, it was hard to fall into the world, because there was so much new, shiny stuff around each corner, but once the arashitora ("thunder tiger") is introduced into the mix, the story begins evolving and is easy to fall into. Seen through the eyes of Yukiko, a sixteen-year-old from the Kitsune ("Fox") clan, we're introduced to everything through female eyes, which is intriguing because such adventures and heroic destinies are usually left for the males to undertake. I love that Kristoff went with a strong female heroine when introducing us to his world. (See more on his world over at Jay Kristoff's website!)
|An arashitora, or thunder tiger, is part griffin, part tiger.|