DNF MiniReview: Stormdancer

Author: Jay Kristoff
Date of Publication: August 12 2012
Pages: 451
Source: School library

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she's determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?


I barely read this book so I don't feel like this will be much of a review. Nonetheless, I did read it in some sense so here are some very early thoughts.

I ran out of books and picked this one up from my school library the librarian told me technically, taking books out isn't possible at this time but I could if I returned it by Friday. So my attitude toward this book was that if I were to read it, it would have to make me love it because two days during summative period is not a lot of time for reading.

The other thing I knew about Stormdancer is that it wasn't a book that used Japanese culture very well. I read the reviews and made the conscious decision to try this book, but never take this book as an accurate portrayal of Japanese culture.

From the pages I read, I had just one pretty big issue. It was that I had no clue what was happening. There were so many name drops of stuff I had never heard of. I'm open to learning new things but I felt like the writing, especially the description, was so clunky. I was completely lost because I kept encountering Japanese words that I didn't understand. I felt like the explanations were insufficient for me, too.

A lot of the descriptions were very formulaic. It was a lot of stuff like 'the rice paper walls were decorated with ------ and ------' and there were three of these type of sentences, all with parallel structure, right after one another. I didn't find it very interesting because I didn't know what the words meant, and I generally care very little for heavy description. What I prefer is more of a poet's description; describing the emotions rather than random details about the scene.

The plot also felt excruciatingly slow. It felt like it took forever for stuff to happen. I mean, of course that would happen if you spend so much time on descriptions. But I really got nothing out of them. I think ordinarily I would stick with Stormdancer for some more time. I wouldn't let it go so fast, but I didn't have the time. That being said, the beginning wasn't appealing to me.

I have heard that after 50 or so pages when the voyage starts the story improves. Is that true? I got to them on the ship before I had to return the book. So, I'll let you guys determine what I should do: give it another shot, or move on?



  1. Ah it's so hard for me to say because I totally agree with you that the book is slow and confusing in the beginning and it was difficult for me to keep going with it in some parts - but towards the end it is really amazing! It does take some patience. I DNF'd the second book though, so I'd say that if you really weren't feeling the world-building at least, maybe it's better to just let this go.

    1. Yeah that's my overall feeling at this point. I really haven't been convinced to give it another try. Thanks for letting me though.


  2. I DNFed Stormdancer too. So many descriptions that I found boring. And don't even get me started on the portrayal of japanese culture and all the big words and names (that I had no idea what they meant). Also, the dialogue felt very forced to me. However, a lot of book bloggers love this series, so perhaps it is just a matter of personal taste :)

    1. Yeah, the dialogue wasn't clicking either. I know a lot of people loved it too. What are we missing? But also, nice to see that someone else feels the same. It gives my opinion some validation. ;)


  3. We had concerns from a cultural standpoint, so we did not pick this one up, but can we just say that the covers are GORGEOUS?!


What do you think?