Reviewed by Carrie Ardoin

Stormdancer was one of the most anticipated young adults books of the year, and for good reason: the book is set in a dystopian Japan-like world where magical creatures still exist. Dystopian? Yes, one of my favorite genres, so I was there. Magical creatures? OF COURSE. Japan? I was definitely willing to embrace it.

But unfortunately the very foundation the novel is built on is what contributed to its’ downfall for me. I found myself having to look up nearly every other word I read. Yes, there is a handy glossary at the end of the book, but having to look up so many words definitely disrupts the flow of reading and is a little annoying, to say the least. I thought that as I progressed in the book the words would start making more sense to me, but this never happened. I consider myself an intelligent person, but it becomes more work than entertainment when I have to teach myself vocabulary from another language just to read a book.

The author’s writing style was also way too flowery for me. I understand that there’s a certain amount of world building that needs to occur, but describing a person should not take two long paragraphs. Yet for all the description that was there, the book also suffered from a lack of it when it was actually needed. The reader is told that lotus is important, but not why or how…this is a place where more information would not have been skimmed over.

In the end, I felt the author was throwing Japanese at me just for the sake of using Japanese words. There is a way to properly integrate words and tales from another culture, and this was not it. I could not finish this book, which is a shame, because I was so excited about it.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 

Carrie runs the blog Sweet Southern Home, and is a stay at home wife and mom to one little boy. When she’s not reading, she’s usually watching Netflix with her husband, playing outside with her son, or baking. Her family would describe her as sometimes annoyingly sarcastic, but mostly lovable. 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Thomas Dunne Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.