Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Vlog Post with Jay Kristoff

Book Nerd Interview

Jay Kristoff is a Perth-born, Melbourne-based author. His first trilogy, THE LOTUS WAR, was purchased in the three-way auction by US publishing houses in 2011. He is as surprised about it as you are. The first installment, STORMDANCER, is set to be published in September 2012 in the US, UK and Australia.

Jay is 6’7, has approximately 13870 days to live and does not believe in happy endings.

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Excerpt 3. From Chapter 9 “A Heart Exhausted”

Daichi reached out and took her hand. His fingers were callused, faint liver spots and wrinkles decades deep. She met his eyes, and for a moment, she saw past the mask he wore, the iron he encased his soul inside. He seemed terribly old, bent beneath his burdens, tired beyond all want of sleep. His smile was frayed at the hem.

“I know what it is we are asking of you, Yukiko. I see the toll it takes.”

She looked into his eyes, searching for a hint of scorn and finding none. The words inside her were like living things, bubbling in her throat, demanding to be aired. She forced her lips together, fighting a losing battle to keep them at bay. When finally they spilled forth, they were a whisper muffled by the curtain of her hair.

“It’s all weighing too heavy, Daichi.” She took a shuddering breath, sighed. “Being this thing. This Stormdancer. I feel like an utter fraud. A little girl stamping her feet and screaming life isn’t fair.”

“You give people hope, Yukiko. The strength at the heart of all strength. The steps you take now, the first steps—they are always the hardest. But the footprints you leave in the earth behind you will be followed by thousands.”

“I’m so afraid sometimes. I think about my father . . .” She shook her head. “I haven’t shed a single tear for him, did you know that? He’s dead and I can’t even bring myself to cry.”

“It is not fear that chases away your tears, Yukiko-chan.” Daichi’s voice was low, tinged at the edges with a charcoal rasp. “It is rage.”

“Buruu says the same. He says it will burn me up inside.”

“No.” Daichi leaned forward, pinned her in his stare. “No, you listen to me, girl. Look around you. At this world they have left you. Red skies. Black rivers. Mountains of bones. You should be angry. You should be furious.”

Her took hold of her hand, squeezed it so tight her knuckles hurt.

“The time for fear is long since gone. It died with the last phoenix, the last butterfly. It died when we traded the ease of the machine for the grace of our souls. Nothing will change if we cherish our fear as if it were a blessing. If we are afraid to tear down the old, and lose what we may in that unmaking, we will never build the new.”

“I’m not sure I can be what you want me to be, Daichi.”

The old man sat up straight, released his grip on her hands.

“I am sure,” he said.

Reaching behind him, he lifted the ancient katana from his back, held it out on upturned palms. Yukiko caught her breath, eyes roaming the lacquer scabbard, the golden cranes embossed into gleaming wood. The words he spoke danced like static electricity upon her skin.

“I wielded this blade through many battles, none so great as the one before us. And so I give it to you, who need it now more than I.”

“Gods,” she breathed. “I can’t accept this, Daichi . . .”

“You can.” He ran his hand across the hilt, a lingering caress of farewell. “And as I give you this gift, I give it a name. I name this blade ‘Yofun.’”

“‘Anger,’” she whispered.

“My gift to you, Yukiko-chan.” He nodded. “Use it to cut away your fear, and leave nothing in its wake. Cherish it. And cherish this truth I speak to you now, if no other before or after: The greatest tempest Shima has ever known waits in the wings for you to call its name. Your anger can topple mountains. Crush empires. Change the very shape of the world.”

He pressed the blade into her hand, watched her with cool eyes the color of steel.

“Your anger is a gift.”

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.

Fans who enjoyed Stormdancer will love the second book in Jay Kristoff's The Lotus War trilogy, Kinslayer. Kristoff's writing skills definitely shined bright in Stormdancer and it would only make sense that the sequel would excel above it. And it sure did! He has taken all the elements that made the first one such a successful hit and pushes it to a level beyond any imagination. New characters will be introduced as well as reacquainting old ones. Reading the continuation of this impressive series is like witnessing something epic unfold. The story gets broader with the addition of the point of views of new characters. Several plots scratches beneath the surface and the world outside of Shima finally sees the day of light in this second part.

The multiple POVs from different characters provide readers with an insight to the progress of the story as they each play an important role. Each one is desperately trying to make a difference in a world that has rapidly changed. Since killing Shogun Yoritomo, Yukiko and Buruu find themselves firing up an uprising in the cities they come across on their travels. It has also created a mighty struggle for Yukiko as a deluge of power has swept through the Kenning. Meanwhile, Guildsman Kin is having difficulty with the other rebels. He doesn't have an ounce of trust in them and the feeling is returned. Not working as a cohesive unit, it will be a vigorous effort to try and bring down the Shima Empire and Guild. On the other side, a move by the Guild to place a new Shogun on the Imperial throne hopes to bring the four clans together.

Once readers indulge their imagination into this grand story, many emotions will arise. Enjoyment and hatred, heartbreak and distress, will and determination, all make the ingredients to produce such an oversized epic tale. The dark side of the story is what makes it so captivating. Kristoff's presentation of a world consisting of anguished people engaging in horrible things to each other in order to rid of oppression from their land, is wonderfully captured in refined writing. He puts words into shape that makes it easy to understand and at the same time, very intriguing and enjoyable. Actions by the characters are seized in perfection and readers will definitely feel their reactions to be realistic. Reader will also appreciate the fact that Kristoff is fearless when it comes to his characters. He will put them in the most horrible situations that your heart will twist in ways unimaginable. Kinslayer is what makes adventure and fantasy such an enjoyable read. The final installment is sure to make a thunderous impact on the lives of the characters, an impact that will also be felt dearly to readers.

You can purchase Kinslayer at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Jay for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff.
5 Winners will receive a Surprise ART Bookmark by James Vallesteros.
Must be 13+ to Enter
International Giveaway
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