The Shima Imperium is a land on the brink. The Lotus Guild worship machines and have given the country clockwork industrialization. The downside of this is that the skies are coloured like blood and mass extinctions of all kinds of wildlife. It is a land being choked by toxic pollution, a by product of production of the blood lotus, a plant that provides everything from their fuel source to a drug to numb the public.
The hunters from the Imperial Court are sent on an insane mission to capture a legendary beast, a griffin (or thunder tiger) half eagle and half tiger. Everyone knows they have been extinct for years. The price for failing the Shogun in this mission is death, the leader tolerates no failure, no matter how ridiculous the task.
Yukiko is the daughter of Black Fox (Masaru), the Shogun’s Master of Hunter’s. She also has a secret that if discovered will see her dead at the hands of the Lotus Guild. Yukiko accompanies her father on this hunt and starts to see things that cause the thoughts she has suppressed, come to the surface. When things go horribly wrong she finds herself lost in the wilderness with creatures from stories and an injured and angry thunder tiger for company. Together though they may be able to change an empire.
So much about this story had me gripped and eager to get my hands on it way before it hit the shelves. Honestly I wasn’t let down.
Yukiko is a wonderful character; young, stubborn, strong and conflicted. She grows through her challenges, she sees beyond to understand things she never thought she would. She engages you and you want to go on this journey with her.
The world Kristoff has created is wonderful. It is dark and compelling. There is a grittiness in the telling that just draws you in. Complex friendships and family dynamics give things a believable edge. The plot is tightly layered and there are strong characters in some suprising places..
I really did love so very much of this book; the characters, the world, the politics, the environment and the creatures. I really can’t wait to read the next installment.
This will probably make my top five of the year.
Published: 13 September 2012
Format: Paperback 352 pages
Categories: Fantasy, Steampunk, Adventure, Action
ISBN 13: 9780230762886
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page