We Have To Talk About Japanese Steampunk (A Review of Stormdancer)

7:00 AM


Recently I picked up Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff.

Isn't that just a lovely cover? 

The Goodreads Summary

One girl and a griffin against an empire.
Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shõgun, they fear that their lives are over – everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he'd rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shõgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shõgun's crimes, both against her country and her family.
Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shõgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?

I had a lot of expectations going into this one. I mean, Japanese steampunk. Griffins. JAPANESE STEAMPUNK. It looked like exactly my mind of bizarre thing, and despite having seen a lot of reviews that were just 'meh' about it, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. 

I was not disappointed. 

I love, love, love the MC, Yukiko, okay? I just have to mention that. She's smart and logical and gets things done and doesn't take anything from anyone and is totally hardcore. Win. She takes kind of a dark turn, but that was nice. I actually really love it when characters get to take the dark and brutal path, so they can learn things and rise out of it eventually, with less of the touchy-feely sugarcoating that's in a lot of YA. Also, she was incredibly sarcastic. I consider this a win. She's super confident in herself and does what needs to be done.




As for other characters...oh, I loved them. I didn't realize that the griffin, Buruu, could actually talk - ahem, communicate telepathically. I totally didn't see this coming and he was hilarious, I'm not gonna lie. SO MUCH SASS. 

My picture quality here sucks, but whatever. 

All the other characters were quite fabulous, too. I had a special fondness for Yukiko's father even though he was kind of a jerk, and all the other charries whose wonderful Japanese names I cannot remember. The emperor was delightfully creepy and everyone was really, really well fleshed out, which I do appreciate. SO MUCH CHARACTER LOVE HERE. 

This review is getting long and rambly. But whatever.



Let's talk about the setting. Hopefully I can talk about it without fangirling too much, because DANG, THAT SETTING. It's so very Japanese and so very steampunky and dystopian with a dash of fantasy thrown in and it's all described so wonderfully that I'm still kind of in awe. I felt like I was living in the world right alongside them. Which sucks because as cool as it was that would actually be a miserable place to live. I adored the steampunkiness (the fact that my laptop dictionary considers this a word now is probably sad) that was all throughout it. I adored the whole mythology bits and, I mean, griffins. I loved the dialogue. Can we get a movie, please? Because those visuals would be stunning. 

Plot-wise? I couldn't put the book down. I finished the last half in about an hour and a half because there was just no stopping at that point. It's fast-paced and exciting the whole way through, with an appropriate dash of humor all throughout. I can't praise Yukiko enough. 

My conclusion, other than 'read the book now'? 

Because I loved it SO MUCH. Can you tell?

Want to hear more about my bookish exploits, or see what I'm reading, or talk about books, or whatever? You can find me on Goodreads here

What about you? Have you read Stormdancer yet? Do you want to? I'm looking for more steampunk books to read; if you've got any good suggestions paste them down below, pretty please. Comment away! 


22 comments

  1. Okay, I officially have to read this book. I have never heard of Japanese steampunk, but I think I need it.

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    1. Yes. Yes you do. *shoves book at you*

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  2. Aaaaaand now I have yet another book to read. Thanks Aimee.

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    1. *evil laughter*
      (but seriously, I think you'd like it. Give it a shot. xD)

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    2. *sigh* It is on my TBR list, which is growing too fast for me to keep up. But I shall get to it. Eventually.

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  3. I don't think I've ever read a steampunk book, but Stormdancer looks like a great place to start. I love heroines like Yukiko that are proactive and actually DO SOMETHING to fix their own problems. Also, griffins just sound really cool. When do I see a griffin in a book? Like, NEVER!

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    1. Oh, you should totally read more! I haven't liked all the ones I've picked up, but obviously I love the steampunk genre as a whole. It makes me very happy. xD And Yukiko was lovely like that - she didn't spend a long time moping, she just went and did what she needed to and was totally hardcore about it. SO MUCH LOVE.
      And yas, the griffin. So snarky, and so awesome.

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  4. This book looks great! I have started reading a steampunk book, but I didn't like the characters and nothing much happened so I stopped reading it. I do like the steampunk concept though! I love your blog, by the way!

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    1. Yeah, I've had experiences with some steampunk like that before, but I do know of a few good ones and this is definitely among them. :D
      Aw, thanks! I'm so glad you like it.

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  5. I'd never even heard of this, but now I WANT IT SO BADLY. And, ha! I think I'm going to love the griffin--just from what I gather from that excerpt.

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    1. Trust me, you need it. IT IS AN ACTUAL NEED. The griffin is amazing.

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  6. I want to read it! I want to read it! And I have put it in my spreadsheet so that I will remember to check it out sometime later. The very idea sounds interesting, and I love the sass snippet you shared, because sass is right up my alley (believe it or not). Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. You have tooooo Heatherrrr. *shoves book at you*
      It's extremely sassy, which was what I loved most about it (well, one of the things) and just overall glorious.

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  7. You totally had me at 'Japanese steampunk'. I wouldn't have even needed your review to make me want to read it but now I just want it like FORTY HUNDRED TIMES MORE

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    1. Yup, that was exactly what I said, too. It's AMAZING AND YOU NEED IT. *caps-rant over*

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  8. Oh my Gd I neeeeed this in my life. Steam punk griffins sound amazing!!!
    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

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    1. Yesssss. It really is so original and great.

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  9. Japanese steampunk sounds amazing! I really love diverse literature, even though I'm not into steampunk as much a being a sucker for contemporary romance, dystopias and historical. Also self promotion time: my blog is https://weavingwaveswords.wordpress.com if you want to check it out. This was a really interesting post!

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    1. Right? It's pretty incredible. *runs to check out your blog*

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  10. Awww man! I picked this up super randomly at our library but never found time to read it. Your review has given me the need to try it again. Thanks a lot, Aimee o.O
    But seriously, I'm glad you liked it. I can't wait to pick this back up ;D

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  11. Aimee! On behalf of the team at Ravens and Writing Desks, we'd like to offer you the position of Featured Writing Blog of the Month! Email us at ravensandwriting@gmail.com if you're interested.

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  12. I've actually been looking for some good Japanese Steampunk to read! thanks for the recommendation! (also I promise I'm done stalking now.)

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.