Kinslayer (Lotus War Trilogy 2) by Jay Kristoff

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Kinslayer (Lotus War Trilogy 2) by Jay Kristoff

Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Second in the Lotus War Trilogy, it's a fast-moving-martial-arts-steampunk fantasy intelligently written by a cruel author. Would that put me off giving Kinslayer 7 out of 5? Nope!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Tor
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0230759022

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Spoilers for Stormdancer follow so read it first!

The Shogun is dead, murdered in the public square by 16 year old Kage rebel Yukiko to avenge her family and in retribution for the evil hold that he has over the dystopian land of Shima. He may be dead but Hiro (equally nasty and Yukiko's former lover) has a plan to take power which includes marrying Aisha, the Shogun's sister and secret Kage sympathiser. Yukiko has to stop the wedding with the help of Buruu, the flying thunder tiger and Kin, the former Lotus Guild engineer. Yes, the Lotus Guild - the Shogun's lot. Yukiko has problems of her own as well, in that her ability to hear the thoughts of animals and feel the emotions of anyone and anything is becoming a curse. Meanwhile in Hiro's palace there works No One, below the radar and beneath contempt, but one day.

Including a 6ft 7 inch martial arts expert from a strange and distant land is a sure-fired showstopper for any fantasy novel. In this case that's just the author. Yes, nose-bleed-tall Aussie Jay Kristoff brings us the second superlative instalment from his dystopian Japanesesque, steam punk, martial arts Lotus War Trilogy, putting the cherry on the top of one of the finest fantasy fiction years ever.

To begin with you really must read the first book before setting out on the Kinslayer emotional roller coaster. There aren't only spoilers, Jay understandably doesn't feel the need to go over the mechanics of his well-created world a second time. So if you don't want answers as to why the ships have to fly, why breathing equipment is needed and, indeed, why the evil bushimen clank (yes, they're back to haunt our nightmares) and feel the need to miss out on some great thrills and shocks, ignore me.

This series may feature a teenage girl but again the author himself hesitates to call it YA and it's not in the least namby pamby girly as we wade through more gore, graphic torture scenes and the Lotus is still smoked adding a narcotic element.

The relationship between Yukiko and Buruu (a cross between Shere Khan and Mr Spock) goes from strength to strength as we discover more of Buruu's past and some interesting (and dangerous) new friends. Buruu also radiates laconic humour in a brutal world of darkness. For Jay is on record as stating he has no concern about readers' feelings. I would contest that.

Here is an author who is very concerned about readers' feelings; he wants to wring them out of us out and so plays us like a fiddle. No character is safe once again and we're happily hooked as the literary fiddle he plays is actually a Stradivarius.

Yes, not only is this gripping, the Jay is an intelligent bloke who writes in nuanced layers. E.g. he descended and shuffled back into darkness conveys so much more than the obvious and as for the second paragraph in Chapter 12; poetic prose! The fans of the simple but effective bang, crash, RUN stuff (i.e. all of us) needn't worry. It's there in quantities that would make anyone reach for their cardiologist's phone number.

However, as rewardingly twisted as Mr K is, he's kind enough to start the book with a character-by-character catch-up which is incredibly useful for the more forgetful readers.

We may have to wait till September 2014 for the final instalment (yes, start saving for the hankies and tranquilisers now; it's definitely the finale) but we can also rejoice that there will be life after Lotus. Jay Kristoff's next project has just been picked up by Random House to be published in 2015.

I'd like to thank Tor (very much) for providing us with a copy for review.

Further Reading: Assuming we've all read [[Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff|Stormdancer]] (don't I go on?), if you fancy some more dark, steampunk then try Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding. It's set in a totally different world but we think you may like it.

Buy Kinslayer (Lotus War Trilogy 2) by Jay Kristoff at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kinslayer (Lotus War Trilogy 2) by Jay Kristoff at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Kinslayer (Lotus War Trilogy 2) by Jay Kristoff at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kinslayer (Lotus War Trilogy 2) by Jay Kristoff at Amazon.com.


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