By: Jay Kristoff
You had me at Japanese Steampunk…
It’s not often that my two favorite things collide in one neat little package like this, so I was determined to love this book no matter what. I was not disappointed. This book is awesome!
Now, I have a hard time reviewing the books I love, because I get all excited, and spew out random things, and become completely incapable of organizing my thoughts. Really, I just want to write I LOVED IT!, and leave it at that, but I’ll do my best to tell you why I loved it.
I love Japan, I love Steampunk, and this book did justice to both. This story is not feudal Japan with a few Steampunk gadgets thrown in. It’s an entirely original Steampunk world based on both modern and historical Japan, with a wonderful sprinkling of Japanese words and concepts throughout. This was fun for me, because I know a little Japanese, but if you don’t, there’s a very thorough glossary at the back…which I didn’t actually notice until I had finished the book. I’m a genius.
On the Steampunk side of things you have a wonderfully corrupt government, nifty technology (airships included), and a broken down world with a serious environmental problem. The blood lotus is brilliant, creating everything from an opium-like drug, to a fuel that pollutes the sky, all while destroying the very land it grows upon. I also liked the idea of this Japanesque country invading and conquering its neighbors on a grand scale, all in the name of growing more lotus.
Throw in an angry arashitora (which is essentially a griffon) and an amazing mythology, with demons and everything, and there’s no way I couldn’t love this book. But what I really loved the most was the arashitora and his relationship with Yukiko, who can communicate with him, a gift that she could be burned at the stake for. I really just loved his personality, and their bond is truly beautiful.
I could gush about its brilliance forever, but I think it’s best if I stop here, before I go recounting the entire tale. Thankfully, there will be sequels, and I can’t wait for them to come out. Kinslayer, the next installment of this trilogy, should be out sometime in September and I’m sure it’ll be just as great. Until next time…