Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff was a book unlike no other. The pictures that danced in my mind as I was reading were unforgettable, with equally unforgettable characters. Japanese Steampunk! For all you Steampunk fans, you seriously need to grab this book. You will devour it and yearn for more.Stormdancer follows main protagonist Yukiko, daughter of Masaru the Black Fox, Head hunter to the Shogun ,who lives in a world where the Shogun rules everything, and where wealth comes from the harvesting of the Blood Lotus to power their steam run inventions, and to sell as a drug to get high, leaving their sky’s a poisonous blood red. Where the ruler, Yoritomo, rules with an iron fist, and kills any and all that get in his path.Yukiko’s father has been tasked to hunt the skies for a beast that has long since been extinct, and exists now only in dreams. Yukiko, with her father and crew, battle the stormy weather in search of an arashitora – a stormtiger that was once ridden by the most decorated and respected warriors, the Stormdancers. When all seems like a task that is will never be completed, the crew chances upon an arashitora flying majestically in the storm clouds. Battling weather and beast, the crew manages to snag this mythical creature, only to have their ship going down in flames, thanks to the weather? Or perhaps the gods themselves seek vengeance…Yukiko finds herself stranded in the remote wilderness with no one but the company of a rather pissed off arashitora, whom she lovingly names Buruu. After Yukiko’s father had hacked off Buruu’s wing feathers to prevent him from flying, Buruu is stuck on the ground with Yukiko, rather than up in the sky where he can fly home. The two must learn to work together to survive the evil spirit ridden wilderness, and rise up together to save her homeland from the heartless Shogun.I. Loved. This. Book. It was such an amazing adventure that completely took my breath away all thanks to the creative genius that is Jay Kristoff. The images that were brought to mind after every single page was one of beauty, loss, courage, and hope. The world created by Mr. Kristoff was one that I would love visit over and over again…not because I fancy myself to be slowly killed by toxic fumes of the Blood Lotus, but because I wanted to keep reading on about Yukiko and Buruu, a dynamic duo that will remain with me.The interaction between Yukiko and Buruu (thanks to Yukiko’s special gift of being able to communicate with animals using her mind) is one that I loved to read. The way in which they had to learn to work together and the building of their relationship was such a wonderful journey to have been able to read. I found myself literally laughing out loud during their many conversations! My favorite conversation between the two is when Buruu is telling Yukiko that she is talking too much to Kin, an Artificer that works for Yoritomo, and is ademanding her to talk to him, to which Yukiko tells him that he is jealous.Not only was there much laughter for me in this book, but there were also different parts that completely took my breath away and broke my heart. Puppy! *sad face* I loved how Mr. Kristoff incorporated Yukiko’s gift to speak with animals into the story so that we are able to hear what the animal is thinking. It made me smile to know how happy their dog, Buruu (the first) was with Yukiko and her brother, because really…dogs are happy about just about everything! To be able to “hear” the dog say I love you, and that he considers them his family. So very touching! BUT with the happy … comes the sad. You must read this book! Your heart strings will be pulled, my friends.Believe the hype people…BELIEVE IT! Stormdancer was an incredible read that ended way too soon. I need the next book ASAP! I’m not ready to leave the world of Yukiko and Buruu yet. Trust me friends…grab a copy, fall in love with the characters, and yearn for the next installment with me!