The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.
A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.
AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shogun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shogun is death.
A HIDDEN GIFT
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shogun's hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he'd rather see her dead than help her.
But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of 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.
Slow start, but worth sticking around till the end.
Once you get passed, the rather confusing opening, and the establishment, of a huge array of characters, this book soars with action, and political maneuvering, to make any soap opera fan happy, enough Romance, to make a house wife happy, and enough well written action to keep Jackie Chan interested. 4 out of five, because the start, other than that, this is a worthy inheritor of James Clavel, if with a Steampunk twist.
Beautiful and Powerful
I loved it from the start, which was a little confusing, but amazing. The steam punk, mixed with Japanese and weird, beautiful characters just made me love it even more. I loved the power feel that the book had to it, and I didn’t want to put it down, even though the night grew late. It was very well written, just tad much on some of the language, but overall it was one of the best books I have read. I would recommend this book to any fantasy lover, and dreamer.
Thanks for reading, loved the book!