Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff is the second book in the Lotus War trilogy (I assume it’s a trilogy >.>). These books take genre-bending to the extreme with a mix of steampunk, japanese futuristic culture, mythical beasts, and environmental apocalyptic events. I have to admit that I was not as thrilled with Stormdancer (Lotus War #1) as many of you, but I am so converted with Kinslayer! If you were like me and didn’t quite get what all the fuss was about, you should definitely check out this second book, which is more action-packed, more character-packed, and so many feels!
Note: I received an ARC of Kinslayer from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff (The Lotus War #2)
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on Sept. 17th, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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A SHATTERED EMPIRE
The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.
A DARK LEGACY
Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.
A GATHERING STORM
Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.
The ghosts of a blood-stained past.
- Kinslayer’s writing is delicious. I like it much more than Stormdancer’s ;-). I found myself drawn in by the poetic descriptions, clutching the cover during the action, and sniffling at the adorable animal voices >.>. I am convinced that Mr. Kristoff must have actually got inside a dog’s head based on how well he captured the thoughts of a certain canine companion who I adore and want to see again (hint hint!).
- I know that there were some complaints about the use of japanese-styled language in Stormdancer and am happy to report that some of the specifics have been fixed in Kinslayer. I also have very much enjoyed exploring farther parts of the world beyond the wasteland of the chi fields.
- There are a lot of characters and a lot of POV in Kinslayer and it works wonderfully. We get about four distinct storylines that all carefully wind together for the epic conclusion; this is how fantasy storytelling should be!
- Omg the feels. There were a lot of all varieties D:
- I looooove grey characters and the multiple POV helps develop those in between characters so much. I loved the internal conflict that I’m sure many rebels really do feel when deciding how much sacrifice is too much. Also omg I must know what happens in the next book!
- Do not eat while reading Kinslayer. There are a fair number of gross scenes involving flaying flesh, losing eyeballs, and torture. You have been warned.
- There are a couple of scenes that seem kind of random in hindsight. I’m hoping a certain visit to some monks makes more sense in the next book, since right now it seemed like a convenient way to move the plot along and that makes me sad.
Kinslayer goes far beyond not falling to second book syndrome by improving greatly from the first book. I feel so much more connected to these characters and this world and I want them to win dammit! Kristoff does a marvelous job of bringing many characters to life, including some furry friends, and I’m quite excited to see where he brings us next!