Arashitoras are supposed to be extinct So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Sh gun, they fear that their lives are over everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles But the mission proves less impossible and deadly than anyone expects Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded a young woman alone in her country s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled arashitora for company Although 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 the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expectedMeanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Sh gun cares for nothing but his own dominion Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kag cabal She learns the horrifying extent of the Sh gun s crimes, both against her country and her familyReturning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Sh gun pay but what can one girl and a flightless arashitora do against the might of an empire This is going to be LONGAna s Thoughts There is a story behind my reading of Stormdancer and it starts months ago when the author first contacted us to introduce his upcoming book That email remains one of the best book pitches we have received, and the book was described as a dystopian novel in a Japanese inspired Steampunk setting with a strong girl as its protagonist We loved the idea, as it sounded like it was a book made for The Book Smugglers Dystopia Steampunk Diversity Kick ass Gir This is going to be LONGAna s Thoughts There is a story behind my reading of Stormdancer and it starts months ago when the author first contacted us to introduce his upcoming book That email remains one of the best book pitches we have received, and the book was described as a dystopian novel in a Japanese inspired Steampunk setting with a strong girl as its protagonist We loved the idea, as it sounded like it was a book made for The Book Smugglers Dystopia Steampunk Diversity Kick ass Girls and we reacted accordingly In the ensuing months we were one of the many people creating hyper around the book, we participated in its cover reveal and interviewed Jay Kristoff in our September Newsletter Basically, I was predisposed to like it.That is, until I became predisposed not to like it.First, there were a few very negative reviews online describing the reviewers reaction to the problematic depiction of Japanese culture within the book Whilst I am able to shut my ears to all sorts of criticism before I read a book in order to make my own mind up about it, when it comes to cultural appropriation especially of cultures not my own , I listen A couple of interviews with the author including, unfortunately, our own did not assuage my fears in fact, they may have exacerbated them I found the expectation that readers are supposed to accept that the world of Shima the setting in the book and Japan might look a lot alike but, aren t the same place to be disingenuous Especially taking into consideration the fact that EVERYTHING about the book screams Japan the language the descriptions of the people and the culture the very cover of the book and the character represented on it.It strikes me that my reading experience of Stormdancer is emblematic of not only the power of reviews but also of the increasing flow of information about authors all of that available to anyone who bothers looking for it, before we even start reading a book Reading does not happen in a vacuum and this istrue now with the increasing amount of information available online.In that sense it was impossible for me to dissociate myself from my reaction to those reviews and interviews and thus, I started reading the book under the weight of conflicting emotions and being hyper aware to these potential issues.Interestingly enough, I had several problems with the novel but none of the problems I personally had related to the Japan inspired setting but I will get back to this latter affirmation further down.There is a good book idea here somewhere The premise is fabulous There is a believable Dystopian world although in a less believable Steampunk setting where an evil overlord exploits the lands and its people and they accept it all because of a cultural concept of honour and devotion to their leaders The main character Yukiko and her arc were actually pretty interesting in its basic idea coming of age, quest for revenge, leading a revolution and I really did like the fact that main female is sexually empowered without being shamed for it.So, as I said, there is a good book idea here somewhere but the execution left a lot to be desired.To sum up some of my feelings The first 100 or so pages are basically exposition and descriptions Paragraph after paragraph of info dump where things are described in minutia there is a very long paragraph, for example, describing the clothes someone is wearing I am not a fan of exposition at best of times and this drove me to distraction As the story progresses though, the level of exposition diminishes somewhat and becomes a bitmanageable and the story flows better.Storylines progress far too quickly, events happen at speed of light without a lot of depth or actual development For example the main character s whole concept of honour and devotion to the Shogun which is SO important, essential even to the character to start with She forgets all about it after a few hours in the company of a group of rebels The same goes for relationships between characters especially the bond formed between Yukiko and the Thunder Tiger Buruu one moment Buruu was all like GRRR I KILL YOU , next thing you know he is all like MY SISTER, I LOVE YOU FOREVER To be honest, SO much happens here, I feel this one book s plot deserved a trilogy of its own.Clumsy translation issues character thinks of something in her language and says it in JAPANESE then translates it into English But if her language is JAPANESE, why the translation is here in the first place Example Ichigo was the pet name he d given her when she was little Strawberry There is no place for this strawberry here if Ichigo is the word in her language Then the book is obviously set in this traditional, feudal Japanese world and there are the overuse of presumably Japanese words but also very contemporary English words like shit or fucking hell or damnits spread throughout Jarring.1The message of BAD GOVERNMENT and GOOD NATURE is extremely, extremely heavy handed.In fairness, I thought it did get a little better in the latter chapters in terms of plot But I had so many problems with characters arcs and story execution and with the incredibly stilted dialogue as well as the heavy handed message that I can t really say I enjoyed any of it.Which brings me to the topic of Cultural Appropriation and the Japanese culture as depicted in this book Was it well done Was it done respectfully Was Japan a mere source of aesthetics, superficial inspiration that exploited nothing but its stereotypes To be honest I couldn t say.Because I know fuck all about Japanese culture.And that is why I really appreciate reading those reviews and then those interviews cited above.Because I know nothing about Japan, when I pick up a book to read that is so obviously inspired by Japanese culture, I expect the author to have done their research well I trust the author to have done their research This whole experience to me, speaks to the trust between reader and author When I get a book that is inspired by Japan I implicitly trust the author to do it right To at least attempt do it responsibly and respectfully.But then you start reading reviews by people who DO know and they point out mistakes ranging from misrepresentation of concepts to the wrong use of language and you realise that there is something wrong with this picture That the people behind a book author, editor could not be bothered with really simple things in terms of research that even people like me who are not experts at all can tell is wrong after a simple Google search I do think when that happens and a reader becomes aware of those facts, something is inevitably lost in the reading experience that not even good writing great characters or whatever can save a book at least not to the extent of making it an AWESOME book For me, it will always be something like this is a good book BUT and unfortunately Stormdancer doesn t even fall in that category of good, but for me.Look, I don t expect perfection from every book I read nor do I believe that authors that source inspiration elsewhere are evil White appropriators I admire authors who try to do something different, who respectfully try to represent other cultures in their stories Respectfully is the key word here I don t think saying that this is only inspired by it is enough of an excuse because you shouldn t simply use a culture that is not yours as your source of inspiration and pick only what you think will look cool on page.And that is what I have to say about my experience with Stormdancer.Thea s Thoughts Well, what can I say to follow that Ana has expressed a good majority of my feelings and experiences with Stormdancer I, too, was ridiculously excited to read this book because Japanese inspired dystopian steampunk world starring a kick ass young heroine FUCK YES but I, too, started to feel that prickle of dread as the reviews started to roll in And then it was time to finally read Stormdancer.2And, unfortunately, this was again a case of cool premise, terrible execution, and cultural appropriation taken to the extreme.Let s start with the cool premise part As Ana says above, there is a good story buried within Stormdancer in particular, I the initial exchanges between Yukiko and Buruu are fantastic although their bond solidifies far too quickly , as is Yukiko s overall storyarc I also appreciate the idea of the world of Shima and the general message decrying the evils of mindless industrialization at the sacrifice of the natural world That said, the pacing was completely off kilter thousands of words wasted on lengthy descriptions of crowds and clothing fine in moderation, excruciating when protracted across paragraphs for no apparent reason , and then NO time invested in the development of emotion, relationships between characters, or characters watershed arc moments And, while Jay Kristoff does have a natural skill with description, there is a whole lotta repetition going on Example Branches whipped her face and tore her clothes, rain and sweat slicked her skin She touched the fox tattoo sleeving her right arm, tracing its nine tails in prayer and then a few pages later Masaru cracked his neck and touched the exquisite nine tailed fox design sleeving his right arm, whispering a prayer to Kitsune The same goes for descriptions of sweating crowds swathed in silk, or characters that bow with hand covering fist Or with Buruu s apparent love of the word DESPOILER Buruu talks in all caps, in case you were wondering These things are incredibly irritating and this is to say nothing of Yukiko s insipid daydreaminess about he of the green eyes.Which brings me to the next section of this ponderings post, and the main problem with Stormdancer the cultural appropriation The lack of research or respect for Japanese culture as confirmed in the author s own words The as one apt goodreads reviewer puts it weeaboo fuckery.I am not a scholar of Japanese culture, nor am I Japanese That said, I do know a bit about Japan having lived in Kobe and Fukuoka for four years, and having attended a public Japanese school While today my Japanese is rusty at best, I am comfortable saying that I know a bit about Japan So please believe me when I say that for all that Stormdancer is set in a mythical place called the Shima Isles, this is clearly Japan These characters speak in Japanese They reference Japanese creatures oni, kami, kitsune and weapons tanto, nunchaku and symbols kanji which are irritatingly referred to as kanji letters and apparently no hiragana or katakana are around, even though some romaji phrases e.g sarariman are used AND YET, the Japanese used is frequently, repeatedly incorrect To reiterate what other reviewers have mentioned, there s the use of hai as the equivalent of yes in all its forms throughout the book it s as if someone did a massive search and replace in the manuscript This is especially irritating because had the author or editor, or copyeditor OR ANYONE gone to enough trouble to talk to someone that speaks Japanese, they would know this is ridiculously wrong In fact, they would discover that Japanese does have phrases that act as a question of affirmation so desuka, ne, and so on Similarly, the incorrect use of sama has been well documented interestingly, chan is used correctly as an honorific The Shogunate the Kazumitsu dynasty seems to have been unconvincingly modeled off the Kamakura shogunate itself feels off, as is the use of weaponry strange, that Yukiko uses a tanto, when she should probably have two blades and dress the irritating assumption that kimono equals robe and offhanded use of obi as a mere sash.This is sloppy, it s lazy, and doing the handwavy thing to say well, Shima is a different place is not acceptable.Finally, I just want to put out one last note THE GREEN FUCKING EYES This is one of my BIGGEST Oh No Nos you have a diverse character, who is made ALL THE MORE SPECIAL BEAUTIFUL because s he has BLUE GREEN VIOLET RAINBOW eyes AKA, you are taking a character of color, and you re giving them a caucasian trait symbol of beauty that makes them even MORE beautiful than anyone else around them I fucking go batshit when I see this And yes, a character in this text the lusted after teenage samurai lord has sea green eyes.And that is all I have to say about that WARNING WARNING UNPOPULAR OPINION INCOMING.This book made me really fucking mad.I ll admit, I was a little leery of Stormdancer from the start Japanese steampunk sounds cool, but coming from a white western author, the chances of problematic weeaboo fuckery are high Exoticization Romanticization Plain old appropriation Yet for some reason, I didn t really peg Stormdancer as a weeaboo outing I don t know why There was no good reason, and yet, I expected Kristoff to be a scholar of so WARNING WARNING UNPOPULAR OPINION INCOMING.This book made me really fucking mad.I ll admit, I was a little leery of Stormdancer from the start Japanese steampunk sounds cool, but coming from a white western author, the chances of problematic weeaboo fuckery are high Exoticization Romanticization Plain old appropriation Yet for some reason, I didn t really peg Stormdancer as a weeaboo outing I don t know why There was no good reason, and yet, I expected Kristoff to be a scholar of some sort, or at least, to do some very in depth, scholarly research, borne of a deep interest in, and respect for, Japanese culture And while even that could have also potentially yielded something problematic, at least it would have been sincere What I thoroughly did NOT expect to get was a book informed by fucking Wikipedia and anime, set in Japan for the sake of novelty That came as a genuine shock And a dramatic rise in blood pressure WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK The thing is, that Wikipedia part You can kinda tell I mean, the first hundred pages or so of Stormdancer, basically until the airship crashes, are a chore to wade through, mostly because of the Wikipedia esque info dumps It takes almost exactly half of those pages to make any progress on the plot The first fifty are just about showing off the world and detailing every little aspect of it, which is why it takes like twelve paragraphs for Yukiko and her father to walk down a street we have to hear about the architecture, detail the clothing being worn because we re using Japanese terms here, and not many readers will know offhand what a fucking hakama looks like , and explain the exact geographical setting, right down to which rivers cross where, and the exotic smells in the air, even though none of it is actually relevant to anything that s going on at the moment I understand wanting to set the scene and acquaint readers with the world, but Jesus Herbet Christ, get on with it already Work this stuff in to the action Make me not want to put the book down out of sheer boredom I mean, I haven t even gotten the chance to get angry yet.Making the world building harder to parse are the Japanese words and terms strewn throughout the descriptions, most of which assume a familiarity with the culture that many readers just won t have I had to break out the Googlethan once to give myself a better mental image of what was going on, and though many of the terms aren t exactly vital to the story, it was still annoying as hell I want to be able to see this shit in my head, to get what s going on, and it doesn t help when half of the words are in Japanese just for the flavor of it It s one thing when a word doesn t have an English analog it s another when you re including easily translatable and even borrowed words, like sarariman seriously it s salary man or even just businessman , kthnx , in their romaji form just to make the story seemauthentic At the very least it s unnecessarily confusing.There is a glossary in the back of the book that would have been quite helpful to know about while in the midst of those first fifty pages, but if you re an e reader like me, you wouldn t have realized it s there until you actually made it to that pagejust after the story has ended Perhaps print readers will be able to make better use of it.But blah blah blah, detail heavy writing, I can skim past that My only issue was boredome until I started noticing all of the shit got wrong Then my head began hitting the desk Repeatedly.And okay, preface I m not an expert on Japan, nor am I Asian I ve never studied the country or the language formally I ve got little knowledge outside of what I learned in my own weeaboo phase, from, yes, mostly manga and anime And YET I still came across glaring errors, repeated errors, stupid errors, errors that made it impossible to read through a conversation without wanting to strangle someone, and errors that lead to questions about some very basic assumptions of the book.Let s start with my primary nails on a chalkboard issue, the usage of the words hai and sama , shall we Here are a few examples of these words in action in Stormdancer Sama That isthan fair Ameterasu bless your kindness, sama I want for nothing Thank you, sama He slew Boukyaku, young sama The sea dragon who consumed the island of Takaiyama Honor to you, great sama What is Raijin song, sama Forgiveness, sama Apologies, sama and so on and so forth.Hai These cloudwalkers were men of the kitsune clan, hai I have no doubt of your success The man who stood beside my father as he slew the last nagaraja of Shima will not be trouble by a simple thunder tiger, hai You must keep it secret It is a gift, hai, but it is not one to be squandered The solitude is pleasant, hai I can get into the trees, hai Just deck hands on a sky ship, hai etc.And both together, for a double slap to the face of any immersion you ve managed to scrounge up Sama, please Enough for one day, hai That s not how you use those, either of those, come ON now Sama is a suffix, an honorific It goes at the end of someone s name ex Masaru sama , or title, or profession, to denote respect or a higher social status You NEVER use it by itself, it isn t a stand in for sir , or lord , and in fact, the included glossary explicitly acknowledges this, so how the fuck this managed to remain intact through editing I have no fucking idea.Similarly, hai is not a one to one translation of yes , or right Aaccurate translation is I have understood what you just said , and it s only used to answer a question or a request You don t stick it on the end of the sentence to rhetorically prompt confirmation Believe it or not, there are actually Japanese words for that well, not the rhetorical part , like ka or desu , but Kristoff doesn t make use of those ad nauseum, just the jarringly, tellingly wrong hai.This is Weeaboo 101 people, we should not even have to be talking about this, especially if these characters are and are speaking Japanese.Exceptother potential errors bring that last statement into question Are the characters in Stormdancer speaking Japanese Seeing as how the book is set in Japan, I went into the story operating on the assumption that they were, and that it was being translated by the author to English for our benefit One would think that this is the case, that characters in Japan would be saying Japanese words, and yet Impure Yukiko whispered the word It was such a simple thing two syllables, the press of her lips together, one on another, tongue rolling over her teeth Arashi no ko, she heard them whisper She could feel Buruu frown in her mind, puzzled by the word s shape WHAT DOES IT MEAN She smiled, embarrassed, turning her eyes to the floor Storm Girl I lo She kissed him, stood on her tiptoes and threw her arms around his neck and crushed her lips to his before he could finish the sentence She didn t want to listen to those three awful words, feel them open her up to the bone and see what the lies had done to her insides.Mmmk 1 Impure in Japanese Google says fuketsu Three syllables, no press of her lips together , minimal tongue rolling.2 If they were actually speaking Japanese After Buruu asked what the fuck arashi no ko meant Yukiko would have said arashi no ko , because those are the words for storm girl in Japanese DUH How and why Yukiko would have even needed to translate Japanese for the Japanese speaking tiger is beyond me, and yet, if they are speaking Japanese here, what she just did is completely illogical except that even the translation is sketchy Ko child, not girl.3 I love you in Japanese, those three little words Aishiteru , or aishiteru yo aishiteru wa One or two words at best Although I m informed it could also be kimi ga suki BUT STILL.This pretty effectively proved to me that, either by fuck up or by intent, the characters in the book are speaking English In Japan What the fuck I can t imagine that that was the intent, because it makes no logical sense whatsoever, but even the fuck up makes the book s narrative frustratingly Eurocentric.Oh, yeah, and then there s the amalgamative Asia land that Shima ends up reading as That doesn t help in the slightest Despite being 99% a fantastical analog of Japan, again whether by fuck up or intent, bits of other Asian cultures slip in Nagaraja , for example, are actually Indian creatures Likewise, somehow the lotus pollution is threatening the local panda population, even though pandas are indigenous to CHINA, which is, incidentally, NOT JAPAN The characters also use Chinese expressions of exasperation, even though there are perfectly good and common and available Japanese ones.And this is just the shit I ve come across Sei, finder of the Chinese slang, came acrosserrors, which she lists in her very insightful review, and Syahira has a very detailed analysis of the awkward naming conventions, and Krystle vents her rage about this omage to her culture.You can see why this is problematic, right The lack of research, the Eurocentric viewpoint, the playing fast and loose with Japanese culture, the smooshing all things Asian into the same story, the same country, because hey, all Asian cultures are all the same, right HAHA, NO No NONONONONONO This is not how you write this shit, people As my friend Shiori put it, Asian cultures are not fucking Sizzler No, you don t get to help yourself to the shit you like and leave the rest, why the fuck would anyone think that For the love of god, please, educate yourself before you write about other cultures.So, yeah, that wasfrustrating, putting it mildly twitch It was really, really difficult to put that aside and look at the book, I ll admit, and might be at least part of why I found it impossible to connect with the characters That being said, I wasn t a huge fan of the plot itself, either.The book takes FOREVER to get going Sure, stuff happened here and there, but it seemed like the vvvvvaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast majoooooooority of it was Yukiko and Buruu sitting around doing absolutely nothingRead full review at You re Killing.Us More Links Assorted thoughts on Stormdancer Linda on the Green Eyed Asian Love Interest, plus her series of thoughts on Asian fantasy Author Karen Healy Tumblr pinpoint some of theproblematic aspects of Kristoff s interviews The comments in Linda s review have yielded a very interesting discussion, and several good links on the subject The Book Smugglers review Stormdancer and share their thoughts on their interview with Kristoff, in which he spoutsproblematic bullshit Silver Goggles has a funny and wonderful reaction to the inevitable question does this mean we re not allowed to write outside our ethnicity Zoe Marriott discusses the difference between diversity and appropriation Calm Down, It s Only Fantasy Ladybusiness over at Livejournal has a response to the Ignorant White Person 101 defense of Stormdancer This is one of my favorite posts to come out of this whole mess The response to the predictable But but other fantasy authors change other non minority cultures for their books, why aren t we riding them WHAAAAAAAA in the comments is an excellent, well thought out smackdown Finally, for conflicted fans of Stormdancer, behold How to be a fan of problematic things Spoiler it s not that hard.Meanwhile, there s the continued response from Kristoff, the gist of which being BUT FANTASY, why should I be held accountable You re taking it TOO SERIOUSLY The aforementioned Book Smuggler s interview with Jay Kristoff, where he explains that if you can wrap your head around the idea Shima and Japan might look a lot alike, but aren t the same place, you ll have fun The Stormdancer website FAQ, in which Kristoff explains how much he doesn t give a shit if you care that he got shit wrong, because this is fantasy, folks, not international frackin diplomacy Charming A guest post at Fantasy Faction on world building, with lots of pros that not so subtly explain why his book is TEH AWESOME and cons that casually give the middle finger to and shits on anyone who called him out on his bullshit Edit 10 July You can read the first three chapters of STORMDANCER all typeset and logo ed and whatnot here.STORMDANCER is my book, so it should go without saying that I love it in the pants I love itthan that moment at the end of Top Gun when Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise have just killed the bejeezus out of all those commies and Val is all like You can kiss me on the mouth be my wingman anytime and the music swells and some deckhand is just wailing on an electric guitar somewhere in the b Edit 10 July You can read the first three chapters of STORMDANCER all typeset and logo ed and whatnot here.STORMDANCER is my book, so it should go without saying that I love it in the pants I love itthan that moment at the end of Top Gun when Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise have just killed the bejeezus out of all those commies and Val is all like You can kiss me on the mouth be my wingman anytime and the music swells and some deckhand is just wailing on an electric guitar somewhere in the background, everyone all hugging and whatnot But I m not going to give my own book a star rating, because that would just feel weird But, I should say something about it, since we don t have covers yet and it can t speak for itself Poor baby The book is infiltrating YA lists on Goodreadsmany thanks to the awesome people who are voting , but it s being published on an adult imprint Nobody seems to know what this thing is, what with all the sweary and the stabby and the sexahhh and so on For my part, I say only this But while we re utilizing visual aids, let me try and explain this whole Japanese inspired Steampunk dystopia deal.See, some people think Steampunk is thisAll corsetry and disturbingly shaped ray guns and what have you STORMDANCER islike this Combined with thisShe s Chinese, but you get the ideaSo we end up with something like thisGrrrrr Of course, within the pages you will also find some of thisThey won t be blonde, obviously But truthfully, there sof thisShe means it There will be some of theseActually, there are five And before I forget, there s also one of theseHe s kinda important And he doesn t really say moo Hopefully things are clearer now To those of you who plan to read STORMDANCER and help me live out this absurd little dream, I give my heartfelt thanks Sincerely Love it Hate it For agreeing to spend some of your time in this tiny world I ve made, thank you I leave you with this looped.gif of Tyrion Lannister teaching his nephew Joffrey what the five fingers said to the face It has nothing to do with the book I just find it strangely hypnotic At first I didn t write my review of Stormdancer because the publisher specifically asked me to hold off on posting it until September Then I didn t write it because I was in the minority and I had to take a deep breath before I put my negative opinion out there And now I m writing it because I don t care any longer, I ve accepted that my opinion is valid and not just a one off that deserves to belong on my its me not you shelf I didn t enjoy Stormdancer, I can t give itthan one star At first I didn t write my review of Stormdancer because the publisher specifically asked me to hold off on posting it until September Then I didn t write it because I was in the minority and I had to take a deep breath before I put my negative opinion out there And now I m writing it because I don t care any longer, I ve accepted that my opinion is valid and not just a one off that deserves to belong on my its me not you shelf I didn t enjoy Stormdancer, I can t give itthan one star because it doesn t belong in the realm of it was ok for me.I understand why people would love this, and if you don t understand then just navigate towards the million glowing reviews on the book s goodreads page Stormdancer has a strong heroine, widely developed world building, an Asian setting, many mythical creatures, and it is very wordy and big on the descriptions And it is this last that made so many people gush while simultaneously making me want to tear my hair out The prose is so dense and overly descriptive that it just didn t go in It was one of those situations where I repeatedly read the same few sentences over and over, desperately trying to absorb what they were telling me but my brain kept getting caught on the painful wordiness.Also, there s the Asian thing I love that this isn t just another young adult novel with white American kids, I love that authors are stepping outside their comfort zone and writing about other cultures Because there is so much mythology to explore from all corners of the globe, there s just no need to stick to the same old But, seriously, I know the author is not Japanese and he deserves to be allowed room for mistakes but was any research actually done when writing Stormdancer Well, beyond the reading of manga, anyway This book is like what would happen if someone went into a Japanese tourist shop and decided to write about the culture based on it.If this novel had been set in Italy, the Italian equivalent would be They went strolling down by insert overly descriptive sentences the Vatican and the Coliseum before eating insertdescriptiveness pizza and pasta Then they went to Venice anddescription rode a gondola whilst being chased by angry Roman gods They escaped to Sicily where they were description, description hunted down by a Sicilian mafia boss called Giovanni and his two henchmen Mario and Luigi before finally being shot by Antonio As Antonio pulled the trigger, Ciao bella mia , he exclaimed The end.You get the idea This book throws around a Japanese word and or stereotype at every possible opportunity It also assumes that the audience largely western readers has quite a bit of knowledge about Japan or is at least willing to sit with google at the ready for the entire novel I am not joking when I say I sometimes had to use google multiple times in one paragraph in order to understand what the hell was going on This isn t enjoyable, it really isn t The descriptions plus the language made it feel like I was wading through very thick sludge.Discounting manga anime, I can count on two fingers how many Asian inspired fantasies I know of Stormdancer gets the middle one If you want to explore this genre, I can t tell you to completely disregard Stormdancer because so many people obviously thought it was amazing, but I would say that Goodman s world in Eon Dragoneye Reborn and Eona is far better all round Eon Eona is just a better heroine than Yukiko, in my opinion, and isn t thinking about the samurai with the sea green eyes when her life is threatened Read Goodman s novels instead