June 10, 2016

FOF Book Club: The Lotus War

The time has come to share our thoughts on last month's Flights of Fantasy Book Club read. In May, we invited you to read Stormdancer, Kinslayer and Endsinger along with us. Today, both Rachel of Hello Chelly & I are sharing our thoughts on this series, as well as answering our three usual book club questions. If you've read the series, we want to invite you to answer the questions - whether in the comments or in your own post. Without further ado, here's what I thought of The Lotus War trilogy. (P.S. You can still sign up for Flights of Fantasy!)

Stormdancer book cover
It has been a little over a couple of weeks since I finished my series binge of The Lotus War. Even though I have read plenty of other stories since then, it is all too easy to slip back into contemplating this story, imagining this world and fretting over these characters. These three novels – Stormdancer, Kinslayer and Endsinger – were pretty incredible. It is impossible to deny the merits of Kristoff’s vivid world-building, his intricate plotting and his complex characters. I was impressed by all the unexpected twists the story took, and the range of elements – battles on the field, clandestine conversations, courtly intrigue, hints of romance, surprising betrayals, complicated relationships, various factions – kept me on my toes, especially in the latter two books.

Kinslayer book coverAnd personally, I was wholly invested in discovering what would happen next, in spite of the fact that it often felt like my heart would burst from the pain and the rage and the sorrow and (occasionally) the good. That, my friends, is the hallmark of a great read. It is not only beautifully written and carefully constructed; it is also emotionally resonant with the reader. I felt so much as I read these novels, and that is why it is still so clear in my mind until now. 

This is, in large part, due to how much I liked the two main characters of this series – the Stormdancer Yukiko and her arashitora (thunder tiger) Buruu. Yukiko is a true teenage heroine. Though she may have come into her place without preparation, she really rises to the challenge. What I loved about her is that, while she is definitely badass and brave, she is also vulnerable. She also makes mistakes. She feels wholly human, and that makes her easy for me to understand and relate to. Buruu, on the other hand, is initially set apart from humans, straightforward and instinctive the way most animals are. But as he develops a bond with Yukiko, readers will slowly start to witness him becoming something closer to human – with sharp asides, witty observations and thoughtful choices. He is a real delight to read about, and I fell head over heels in love with him most of all. Together, these two comprise a fierce team fueled by loyalty and love… all the way to the end.

Endsinger book coverWhile I did really enjoy these novels, it was admittedly difficult to read at times. Not just emotionally, although in that regard, it definitely wore me out too. No, it was also just difficult to read through long chapters with intensive details about the world, which was especially prevalent in the first book. While I do see the merit in Kristoff having taken the time to set up his world so that I could see it well in my head, it did tend to drag a bit in terms of the length. I would often find myself having to set it down to take a break before I could pick it up again, which wasn’t necessarily terrible so much as jarring.

Still, when it comes right down to it, I really liked these novels. Stormdancer, Kinslayer and Endsinger are a powerful trio of novels when read together. They were richly written, heavy on the feels (good and bad ones) and just really compelling stories. I am glad we decided to binge read this series for Flights of Fantasy, and I would recommend them to others – with the caveat that you’ve got to be prepared for lengthy descriptions and heavy punches to your feels.

Every time we share about our book club reads, we'll be answering the three questions below! We'd love for you to join us and share your answers in the comments or in your own post. Don't forget to leave a link in the comments or in the monthly link-ups.

1. Who is your favorite character? Buruu. He is hands down my favorite character! He makes me laugh with his observations, makes me cry with his declarations and just managed to toe the line between warrior and family so, so, so well. I just love him. I would like to have someone like him in my life, someone who would love so fiercely and fight so valiantly. Plus, it's just plain cool that he's an arashitora, also known as a thunder tiger.

2. Which is your favorite book? I definitely enjoyed Endsinger the most. It was, in large part, because of the fact that I was already settled well into the world, so I felt like I had some idea of what was going on. But it was also just really great to see how things unfolded at the final chapter in the war. Plus, there were some unexpected twists in this one that totally shocked me!

3. Would you read more books by this author? I would, though I would definitely make sure to prepare myself to be emotionally wrecked. (This series really put me through a lot of feels.)


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