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Stormdancer(The Lotus War, #1)
Aurealis Award nominee 2012.
A dystopian steampunk fantasy with a flavour of feudal Japan.
Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him.
But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. Alhough she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu form a surprising and powerful bond.
Meanwhile, the country verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shogun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko uneasy, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shogun’s crimes, both against her country and her family.
Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu are determined to make the Shogun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?
"What's that? You say you've got a Japanese Steampunk novel with mythic creatures, civil unrest, and a strong female protagonist? I'm afraid I missed everything you said after 'Japanese Steampunk.' That's all I really needed to hear." - Patrick Rothfuss