Author: Jay Kristoff
Published: Tor, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk
Series: The Lotus War #2
Read more about it on
4.5 out of 5 stars
My first reaction once I finished this book was: I’m lost for words. Which led to me tweeting about it and then fangirling that Jay Kristoff himself responded to my tweet. “What about the book?” I can hear you saying. (Yes, that’s right, I hear voices. Shh, don’t tell anyone.) Okay, moving onto the review…
Kinslayer carries on from the events of the first book and sees certain people vying for power in Kigen and the Kagè rebellion planning their next move. All while this is happening, Yukiko is grieving and finds herself going on a quest to discover the reason for her sudden earth-shattering headaches.
There was a bit of a gap between me reading the first and the second book in this series, so as usual I suffered a little from book amnesia – most of it soon came back to me. Two things struck me about this book: there was a great change in Yukiko and there was more gore than in the first book. Firstly, let me explain that a change in Yukiko is completely understandable; she is grieving and on top of that, many people are expecting something of her that she’s not sure she can deliver. To put it simply: she’s under a lot of stress. My heart goes out to her. I like Yukiko; I like that she’s feisty, funny and is willing to learn from her actions. There was just a particular section where they found someone in the woods and although she had every right to be mistrusting of this person, calling the person ‘it’ was a bit unnecessary. I love character development and it is present in Kinslayer. Character development is not just limited to Yukiko though, as Kin for example also changes – although, I haven’t decided whether it’s for the better. I’m reserving judgement until I know more once I read the third book, Endsinger. Kin-san, I’m disappointed with you at the moment though.
Secondly, there was probably a bit of gore in the first book, Stormdancer – but I don’t actually remember how much – but the second seemed like it contained more. These books contain some things, such as sex and gore, which some may not be comfortable with; for the most part this personally doesn’t bother me. It really depends on how gorey it becomes and this book had some torture scenes that had me cringing a little and a particular scene which involved Hana and some thugs which had me particularly outraged. This didn’t make me like the book any less, it’s just something that stood out to me and made me wonder: was there this much gore in Stormdancer? It didn’t feel like it was just thrown in there for a shock factor; just like most places there is a seedy underbelly; there are unsavory characters; an underclass – the two are not mutually exclusive – and the world in which they live, this did not seem completely unrealistic.
There was a revelation that elicited a WTF reaction. I. Just. Did. Not. See. It. Coming. As a reader I don’t want a book to be predictable; I want to be surprised and on the edge of my seat. It’s just that…I truly didn’t forsee this happening – you’ll have to read it to know what I’m talking about. I still don’t know how to feel about it. It just totally threw me… Anyway, I can’t really say much else without revealing spoilers…
One element of the story that I truly love is the friendship between Yukiko and Burru. It is just so adorable and hilarious.
“‘YOU KNOW ME. AS YOU KNOW YOURSELF.’
‘I don’t know anything, Burru.’
‘THEN KNOW THIS. BETWEEN AND BENEATH AND BEYOND ANYTHING ELSE I MAY BE, I AM YOURS. I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU. NEVER FORSAKE YOU. YOU MAY RELY UPON ME AS YOU RELY UPON SUN TO RISE AND MOON TO FALL. FOR YOU ARE THE HEART OF ME.'”
“THIS IS MY HELL, I SWEAR IT. WHEN I PASS INTO THE AFTERLIFE AND AM PUNISHED FOR MY SINS, THIS WILL BE MY TORMENT. SURROUNDED BY A SEA OF MOONING, ADOLESCENT MONKEY-BOYS. MUDDLING ABOUT IN PUDDLES OF THEIR OWN DRIBBLE.”
That first quote just melts my heart! Their relationship is enviable. I look forward to more of their adventures and witty banter.
Weaved throughout this series, I think, is a message of global warming. Of considering the consequences of burning fuels that are damaging the world you live in and the people that live on it. This is an underlying message I took away from it and I like books that make you think.
If you like interesting worlds and like a kick-ass MC whom isn’t perfect and like most of us is just winging it, trying to do her best, then this is a book for you. Time to go get myself a copy of Endsinger.