Usually, I would avoid the book everyone is raving about like the plague! But I just cannot resist this one. Stormdancer would be a book I’d pick up without hesitation if I first saw it at the bookstore. It has all the signs of being a keeper:
Fantasy (I’ve only recently made a foray into steampunk and I like!)
What I did do though was to avoid reading too many reviews and get too hyped up about it. I think I did it quite successfully. From whatever I have not managed to avoid reading (that’s including the author’s most fascinating most hilarious blog), Stormdancer wasn’t quite what I expected; it was more than what I expected. What an amazing read it was!
Firstly, the description of this world reminded me a little of China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station – it was stark, hopeless, and just, overall, dark. What I’ve learnt to appreciate most in Stormdancer is Kristoff’s use of descriptive language in drawing up this world in my head. I can’t even begin to describe how lyrical it was – this was something I did not expect! And he carried that through to the end, bravo!
It was a little hard to get into due to the jargons especially if you don’t know much of the Japanese culture. I’ve read and watched my share of manga and anime when I was a teen but I think I didn’t read the right sort of manga but 2 of my favourite animes were Rurouni Kenshin and Inuyasha. From Kenshin, I understand a little bit about weapons (limited as it is) and from Inuyasha, on Japanese superstitions / mythology (monsters / yokai and such). And yet, it still took me sometime to get into the rhythm of the story. I didn’t check the back but there was a glossary (I found it after I finished reading) so if you need it, it’s there 😉
One scene in the book reminded me of that famous scene on the Titanic (movie). The context is similar, ie. joys of life & living, but there was no romantic overtones at all in the book. It’s a famous scene and I won’t mention which but whilst I laugh at myself (saying that this movie is not a favourite of mine is an understatement), I’m caught wondering if there was some sort of hidden intent here?
Even though the main character is a teenage girl, this is a book I will not hesitate to recommend to a guy friend. Unfortunately, I won’t be recommending it to Twilight lovers but if you love Eon / Eona (Alison Goodman), then you’d love this book. To all mature readers of fantasy, this one’s definitely a Keeper!
This is a favourite passage of mine – the tension and the silence screams out of the page and placed me in that no man’s land where nothing living could touch me…
But now, as dusk fell, she reached out and felt no sparks, no clusters of warm, furry bodies or sleek feathered heartbeats. Silence had descended: a sweaty hush that fell heavy as a mouldy blanket.
Creeping through the undergrowth, she crouched low, her footfalls barely a whisper. Eyes darting about the gloom, pulse quickening at every snapping twig or shifting shadow. Steam rose up from the rain-soaked earth, cloaking the forest in mist. She could sense the faint glow of the setting sun through the canopy above, the chill of night creeping with slow, measured tread through the wild wood. No bird calls. No wind. Just the heavy patter of fat raindrops and the faint scrape of her heels on dead leaves.
Touching the fox tattoo on her arm for luck, she reached out again, searching for the arashitora, or perhaps some hungry carnivore stalking her through the green curtain.
Nothing. A vast emptiness, creaking with the echo of old wood, the breath of the slumbering earth. Even when the wolf came, even after the snake strike, she had never felt more frightened or alone in all her life.
Thanks NetGalley & St Martin’s Press for the opportunity & privilege to read & review galley
Pre-Order your copy at The Book Depository