{Guest Post/Tour Giveaway} "Japanese Mythology and the meta plot of the Lotus War" with ENDSINGER Author Jay Kristoff

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 (credit: Christopher Tovo)
Jay Kristoff is a very tall author of SciFi/Fantasy from Melbourne, Australia. His first trilogy, the award winning THE LOTUS WAR is set to be published in over a dozen countries. The third book in the series, ENDSINGER, is due for publication in November 2014. Jay’s new series, the SciFi thriller ILLUMINAE, which he co-authored with Amie Kaufman, is due for publication by Random House in 2015. He is as surprised about it as you are.

Jay is 6’7, has approximately 13520 days to live and does not believe in happy endings.

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Japanese Mythology and the meta plot of the Lotus War
by Jay Kristoff

When I was researching the Lotus War, I did a lot of reading on Shinto and the mythology of Japan. There’s some incredible stories to be found – great heroes and vengeful gods and fantastical monsters with no equivalents in western mythology. But one of the tragic stories held particular resonance for me, and I ended up using it as the backbone of the meta-plot at the heart of the entire Lotus War series – the tale of Izanami and Izanagi.

The short version – Izanagi and Izanami are brother & sister, husband & wife (hey, don’t be a judger, that’s just the way these deities roll, okay?). Lady Izanami gives birth to creation (yes, that does sound painful), but dies in the process. After her death, the Lady is consigned to Yomi, the Shinto Underworld. 

Lord Izanagi is having none of that, and goes into the underworld to get Lady Izanami back. He finds her, but in the meantime, she’s eaten at Yomi’s hearth and become corrupted. So Izanagi is forced to leave her behind in the Underworld. Feeling sold-out by her beloved (understandable), Lady Izanami vows to kill 1,000 people every day as punishment for her husband’s betrayal. Lord Izanagi says he’ll give life to 1,500 to thwart her.

So, astonishing parallels to the tale of both
Orpheus and Euridice, and Hades and Persephone (made all the more astonishing when you consider these myths arose on opposite sides of the world to each other), you can basically see the underlying message – that life will always trump death, creation always counter destruction. Which is a nice uplifting message, and gooooo Team Creation. But the tragedy of this myth is really in Lady Izanami’s fall.

She gives birth to all of creation, dies, and is then damned to the underworld for all eternity, abandoned by the one she loves most. After this, she becomes a figure of evil in Japanese folklore – but she did nothing wrong! She never asked for any of it, but she’s stuck being the villain forever? How the hell is that any kind of fair? So I really started thinking how I’d be feeling in the good Lady’s shoes, and ended up pinning the plot of the series to it.

In my version of the tale, the horrible injustice of these events and being trapped down in Yomi eventually drove Lady Izanami mad (and I’m not sure anyone could blame her). Over the course of three books in the LOTUS WAR series, the Lady’s madness and the plan for revenge borne out of it begin to take shape. In the series finale, ENDSINGER, we finally learn how the mad goddess actually plans to take revenge on her husband and the world she gave birth to, and how this all ties in to events in STORMDANCER and KINSLAYER. It was a lot of fun, putting my own twist on the tale and watching how it all played out. I’m very pleased to report it all climaxes with a huge battle with giant mechanical constructs and sky-ships and demons as tall as skyscrapers.

But who wins? Am I mean enough to let the mad, vengeful goddess have her triumph? Would letting her win be mean at all?

Hope you enjoy reading it to find out!

O F F I C I A   I N F O:
Author: Jay Kristoff
Release Date: Nov. 25, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin's Press

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.

Yukiko and Buruu are forced to take leadership of the KagĂ© 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.

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 won't do to keep her children by her side.



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  1. Okay, now that you've gone and researched all the background story of Izanagi and Izanami...I can't even. I'm speechless. This is mind-blowing! This is like the huge twist in Catching Fire at the end of the book, which I TOTALLY saw coming and was still like *explosions, mind bits flying everywhere* This sounds EPIC!!! I cannot wait to read the ending. How did your review make me want this torture even MORE? I hate you. But, please pass me the book?

  2. Eastern mythology has always held a lot of mystery and power for those of us raised in the West.

    Mr. Kristoff has done a fantastic job of adapting Eastern myth for a modern audience, entrapping it all in his own designs. My hat's off to him.

    —Vic S.—


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