PJV Quickie: With a build-up of epic proportions and a very exciting cover along with a beyond cool author behind this debut novel, it almost pains me to say anything negative about this one. But, frankly I would be remiss to pass this one off as the next great young adult novel. That makes me sad.
Author: Jay Kristoff
Series: Lotus War #1
Publication: September 18th 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books
Source: ARC provided by Author
The book was richly woven in description, which was probably the downfall for me, because it was too much description. The writing almost instantly reminded me of Paolo Bacigalupi’s voice, it was very detailed and intelligent, but there was a disconnect that kept me at arms length. The premise was even quite exciting, a steampunk set in ancient Japan. The story is of a young girl, Yukiko, that is sent on an impossible task with her father, to capture a griffin and return it to the emperor. While on pursuit of the believed to be extinct animal their airship crashes and Yukiko finds and befriends the griffin. It should have been quite different; it should have been exciting and gritty. But, the character of Yukiko never resonated because I couldn’t get past all the swirling double-speak and stereotypes. Personally, I felt like I was stuck in an odd anime crafted by someone that was basing their cultural knowledge off of other anime films and a few books. It would have been great as a side feature, maybe the character is visiting the Western lands with a Japanese background, but for some reason the book was just cartoonish and never connected with me.
When the phrase “write what you know” is delivered to aspiring writers, it isn’t something to be blown off. Kirstoff’s writing is phenomenal, his crafting of the English language is superb, even his ability for transitions and carrying the story was well done. My only problem was the implementation. Page after page of abstract descriptions and droning explanations didn’t make for an engrossing read, paired with the cultural explanations and Japanese wording, which were told, not related, made me put the book down on numerous occasion.
Once again I find myself at odds with the majority vote on this book. Numerous reviews are of a glowing nature, so I do believe that this book will be a pleasure to read for most, I just could not relate. I also want to mention that I am a huge fan of Paolo Bacigalupi and Kristoff reminded me a lot of his writing. I will not be reading on in this series, but with Kristoff’s talents as a writer I doubt this will be his only series. I’ll be looking forward to reading what he has in store for us next.
Recommended for fans of young adult and more culturally broad fantasy novels. There is violence and darker subjects but it is suitable for younger teens.
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