ONE GIRL AND A GRIFFIN AGAINST AN EMPIRE: A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on collapse. Land and sky have been poisoned by clockwork industrialisation, the Lotus Guild oppresses the populace and the nation's Shogun is lost to his thirst for power.
AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
Yukiko and her warrior father are forced to hunt down a griffin at the Shogun's command. But any fool knows griffins are extinct - and death will be the price of failure.
A HIDDEN GIFT
Disaster strikes and Yukiko is stranded in the wilderness with a fabled griffin, now furious and crippled. Although she hears his thoughts and saved his life, Yukiko knows he'd rather see her dead than help her. And discovery of the talent allowing them to communicate would mean her execution. Yet together, the pair will form an indomitable bond, and rise to challenge an empire.
Kristoff's imaginative debut, the first in a series, presents the feudal, dystopian Shima Empire, a menacing Japanese-inspired setting in which "the lotus must bloom" even though it turns all it touches into a toxic wasteland. Blood lotus seeds produce the fuel that powers sky ships, but the plant's roots render the soil barren, and the fuel's noxious exhaust fumes slowly poison those too poor to afford mechanized breathing masks. Power lies in the hands of the corrupt, fanatical Lotus Guild and Yoritomo-no-miya, the mad, one-dimensionally evil shogun. During an impossible quest ordered by Yoritomo, 16-year-old Kitsune Yukiko is stranded in the country's last wilderness with Buruu, a furious griffin maimed by Yukiko's father. The two band together to survive, facing demons from the underworld and, in an exhilarating climax, the might of the empire itself. The innovative setting, fast-moving plot, vivid descriptions, and thrilling action scenes make this a refreshing addition to the steampunk canon.
Brilliant read from start to finish. Convincing dark & oppressive world/culture. Great connection the heroes and villains. Can't wait for the next ones.