Monday, December 10, 2012
Book Review: Stormdancer
Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.
But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.
Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she's determined to do something about it.
Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?
I was so excited to read this book. I mean, it has everything you could want: griffins, steampunk, tons of cool fighting scenes, and it's set in Japan! It sounded amazing! So I was a bit disappointed when Stormdancer wasn't everything I thought it would be.
Don't get me wrong, this is still an excellent book, but it just wasn't for me. All the cool stuff with griffins, steampunk, and awesome fight scenes? Yes, it's in the book, but what I had a huge problem with was the writing style.
This book is slow. Extremely slow. The first 100 pages or so took such a long time to read, mainly because we are introduced to Kristoff's steampunk/dystopian world. And we are not just introduced to it...we are immersed in it. There is tons of detail and description, and honestly, it was hard to keep my attention on the book. Several times I thought about not finishing it, but I forced myself to continue and I'm glad I did.
Stormdancer does get better, about halfway through. There's less detailed description and the plot picks up, but it was still a slow read. The author's writing style is just very...heavy. Even the action scenes don't read as action scenes because they're so slow.
But despite the tedious writing style, I found myself enjoying the story. By far, my favorite aspect of Stormdancer is the bond between Yukiko and the griffin, Buruu. Their friendship is so endearing. I also love the way other relationships in the story were explored, like Yukiko's relationship with her father. The characters in this book are strong, vivid, and realistic.
Stormdancer really is a wonderful book if you can get past the detailed writing style. If it was written in the style of, say, Divergent ( which has lots of fast-paced scenes, rather than being bogged down with description), then I would have given it five stars without a doubt. But, the writing style of Stormdancer ruined some of my enjoyment of the book.
I'd suggest giving Stormdancer a try if you don't mind a slow but well-written read.
My rating: 7 out of 10 (3.5 stars)
~ The Bookworm