16 September 2012

ARC Review: Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff

Release Date: September 18th 2012
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

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.
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun 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 Shōgun is death.
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 Shōgun’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.
Give me book 2 NOW!  I have to admit that I haven't finished a book in quite some time now (blogger's block?!) and Stormdancer was the perfect novel to help me get back on track. I mean, really, Stormdancer was just indescribably awesome. I am so lucky to have received a copy for review. Really, I would be bear hugging everyone at Thomas Dunne Books now if, of course, they and the distance would allow me to. I may have to buy me a hardcover copy just to ease my pain that the book is over and that I'll have to wait another year to read so much awesomeness again. Mr. Kristoff, why you do this to me?!

The Plot: I really enjoyed how the book started, we are already in the middle of things and then it stops and it starts from the beginning. Like a flashback. Yes, I enjoyed this book from the first paragraph and truthfully, Stormdancer only gets better and better with every page turned, I was more and more in love with it. Furthermore I have to mention that the novel is full of action, intrigue, humor and, well, pure awesomeness. I didn't have a single boring moment while reading it. The worldbuilding couldn't be better; Kristoff really payed attention to details and I envy his imagination! I could imagine everything in my head and I really liked the result.

The Characters: Yukiko became one of my favorite heroines, ever. I guess I have a thing for female characters wielding weapons, it's just badass. However that wasn't the only thing that caught my attention in the main character. She starts off as an begrudging and independent girl, yet as the story goes on the change in her is almost tangible. Kristoff's characters are realistic, and that really enchanted me in this novel. Yukiko and her Buruu really complemented each other and I must say that their relationship was one of my favorite thing to read in this novel. Stormdancer has a really great set of characters. 

Stormdancer has certainly deserved a place in my favorite books' shelf and I will without a doubt reread it soon! I already miss the characters and the world, which the story takes place in. Stormdancer really put me through a roller coaster of feelings: one moment I was laughing, then nervous, then crying, then laughing again. A beautiful story beautifully written. By now, you should already have pre-ordered Stormdancer and freed your schedule for September 18th, trust me, it's worth it!

Thanks to Thomas Dunne Books for providing me with a copy of this marvellous book!

Jay Kristoff is a Perth-born, Melbourne-based author. His first trilogy, THE LOTUS WAR, was purchased in the three-way auction by US publishing houses in 2011. He is as surprised about it as you are. The first installment, STORMDANCER, is set to be published in September 2012 in the US, UK and Australia.
Jay is 6’7, has approximately 13870 days to live and does not believe in happy endings. Website / Twitter

06 September 2012

ARC Review: Origin - Jessica Khoury

Release Date: September 4th 2012
Hardcover: 372 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin was a novel I was totally waiting on this year. With such an original premise, I was instantly crazy to get my hands on it. Furthermore being Brazilian, I was curious about the mention about the Amazon in the synopsis. Origin promises a great and exciting read to any of you wondering about reading it.

The Plot: The pace matches the type of story perfectly. The mystery around Pia is told in a perfect pace for readers to be completely hooked on it. Furthermore I couldn't have imagined a better place for the story to take place in; somehow the Amazon and its inhabitants were a perfect fit for this novel. With many lies, betrayals and secrets running wild in Origin, it is no wonder that Khoury's novel won't let you put it down!

The Characters: Though Pia was writing in a very compelling way, she just wasn't for me. She was too naive. But it was really sweet and gave me great pleasure to be able to read and sense the change in her character: she went from being naive and relatively weak to being a headstrong and great character. I liked Eio and he was a great match for Pia, yet I couldn't develop more interest in him. Not to mention that the romance happened so quickly, I didn't even realized it and it was already there.

Origin certainly offers a different read than you are probably accustumed to. I personally enjoy books full of mysteries, so this one was certainly enjoyable for me. The insta-love did kind of let me down a bit but the plot was worth overlooking it. Overall, it was a great and sweet read that will leave you completely content with its ending.

Huge thanks to Razorbill for providing me with a copy in exchange of an honest review! 

Jessica Khoury is 22 years old and was born and raised in Georgia. She attended public school followed by homeschooling, and earned her bachelor's degree in English from Toccoa Falls College. She lives in Toccoa, Georgia with her husband Benjamin, two terrible dogs, and an abundance of books, shoes, and sweet tea. When not writing, she's usually directing stageplays or coaching soccer. Origin is her first novel. Twitter / Website