Book Review: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff


Young Adult > Fantasy | Steampunk

(The Lotus War #2)

The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

Book 1: Stormdancer review


Out of all the sequels I read in 2013, Kinslayer is one of the most disappointing.

Sure, the opening (bloody) chapter alone was enough to raise my adrenalin sky-high. Yukiko was relentless in pursuing the war against the Shogun empire. As the story progresses in a more complex level, and characters are more competitive in power, revenge, or love, I am hooked. Buruu and Yukiko have a stronger relationship (more humorous, too). New POVs from secondary characters that are important in the rebelllion’s cause that made the plot more dimensional and concrete.

And yet, I found Kinslayer lacking when I am done with it.

I expected a face-off between Yukiko and Hiro. After that gruesome parting in Stormdancer, I waited with bated breath of what will come out from their next meeting, but nothing happened. I know that Yukiko is better than me, turning away like she did, but, but!

I am not that keen about Yukiko’s connection to Hiro in the end. This twist will further lengthen the drama, I think. Can we just get back to her thinking of a hundred ways of ripping Hiro’s head off his body?

I found out who the kinslayer is, found something that does not hold the thunder tiger, Buruu, into the pedestal. Heh. A lot of insinuations on Buruu’s history, but no confirmation on why he’s keeping that from Yukiko, or why a chance encounter with something from his past will color Yukiko’s opinion of him.

Still, once Buruu & Yukiko returned from their journey, the war that is begging to be unleashed.. began. And what a bloodbath it was!

I could not decide whether to root for Kin, or to wish he’s dead. His POV was the most intense, as the emotions jumbled from Yukiko to the rebels to the unexpected visitor from the Guild. As messed up as he was, I think he’s a favorite character.

Overall, Kinslayer will satisfy any Yukiko and Buruu fan. But this one, no. Not that much. But that doesn’t mean I am not excited for the next book. Still am.


KINSLAYER by Jay Kristoff

Ebook, 448 pages

Published September 17th 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books
3/5 stars