The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.
A Dying Land
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.
An Impossible Quest
The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shogun 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 Shogun is death.
A Hidden Gift
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 Shogun’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.
©2012 Jay Kristoff (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.
I've been away for a couple months due to a VERY hectic travel schedule, but I'm back to do a number of reviews, and I'll begin here.
Whenever a good writer, both new or seasoned, takes up the challenging task of creating a genre'-bending scifi and quasi-fantasy novel or series, and does so successfully, it's a beauty to behold. But, it CAN also be a MESS. We're talking dangerous waters. Slippery slopes. Career-ruining mistakes. We've all read and listened to such disasters.
Not worries here. This is a great listen, and it's not only designed well, it's WRITTEN well. Be prepared to be absorbed in this enjoyable listen, and overlook the minor errors to get the most out of the experience.
It's often so easy to look at an audiobook cover, title or brief description, and write off the author and his or her work as a "typical genre'" read/listen. BE CAREFUL. You do that here, and you've missed out. Kristoff offers great prose, solid character creation, excellent fight scenes (I will NOT say much on this to give anything away, except that the sky battles are astounding!), and very successful delivery of steampunk with strong eastern influence. It's a sweet refreshing mix, unlike the tirade of Steampunk writing that is so landlocked within it's own genre'.
As to the narrator, meh. Good, but not a Roy D. Some may not agree with this, but that's fine. I expect GREAT narration to enhance my experience. There are other better female and male choice I would have chosen, but the narrator didn't detract from the story.
If you've followed any of my previous reviews, I offer no spoilers, no elaborate details, no free reads on plots. Am I being intentionally vague? You BET. Doing differently only takes away from the initial listening experience. Let's get over that, and move along,
Keep in mind, dear Audible listener, that book listening is very much like a having a meal on the town: You can go where you usually go, and choose a meal of which you're comfortable. You get what you expect. Ho hum.
You can reach out a bit, and try that Oriental place around the corner that you didn't know was there. It may not have the glossy front or the valet parking you're used to, but you can discover a great cuisine that you'd never enjoyed if you'd not taken the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. You expand your culinary tastes, and are better for it. And suddenly, a whole new world opens up to you. Steampunk is a fantastic genre' IF written with an original style and storyline, and that definitely happens here.
This audiobook will surprise you, take you on a new journey, and possibly expand your listening taste for the unusual and surprising.
I look forward to more from this author, and will definitely make the choice to listen to his next in the series!
Oops! I've talked too much, and the waiter is here waiting for my order, so I'd better speak up!
"I'll take the Katana with a side order of Steampunk please!"
I read this book in print before buying the audio version, and enjoyed it immensely. Granted, it's not perfect, as it is the author's first book, but it was entertaining. Yes, the story does start to drag a bit about 3/4 of the way through, but not so much that I lost interest. Yes, the author does borrow elements from Chinese culture, not just Japanese. Yes, the author does perhaps use elements of the language incorrectly. But remember that this is a fantasy story, and as such does not need to be grounded in reality.
Jennifer Ikeda does an excellent job of the narration. At first, I was a bit concerned about her not being able to differentiate between characters well, but manages that well as I was never confused about who was speaking. She conveys their emotions just as well, and I think she is the perfect voice for Yukiko.
Overall, it's not perfect. But it was definitely worth the listen. It kept me absorbed and entertained, and I look forward to Book Two.
I think you should buy it and give it a chance.
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