Review: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

September 10, 2013 4.5 stars, Book Review 23 ★★★★★

Review: Kinslayer by Jay KristoffKinslayer by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Lotus War #2
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on 9/17/2013
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Science fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
My Reviews in this series: Stormdancer, Endsinger

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

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.


So dark and mournful it makes my heart bleed…

Kinslayer takes everything dark that exists in the human heart and boils it down until there is nothing left of us. It will send you on a roller coaster that intentionally has more lows than highs. This is war and Kinslayer is going to take you to the pit of it while dragging your sad sop of a soul through some barbed war just for good measure.

I recall feeling entirely despondent after reading one particular scene it due to the nature of it and how accurately it was depicted. My reaction was so strong that bile was rising in my throat and sympathy wracked my body. Normally, I would be upset from being made to feel this way – but it was exactly what the plot had to have, and precisely what would drive any man to murder. All I could think and feel in those moments was sadness and woe – anger and sickness. How true it is how hate can destroy every last shred of humanity you might have once possessed…if you let it…if you let yourself.

Sounds intense doesn’t it? It is. That is what makes this an excellent piece of fiction. Kristoff’s ability to make you feel with such intensity. If you were expecting pretty rainbows and fluffy unicorns look elsewhere. Kinslayer is dark and edgy and definitely not a book I would classify as ‘young adult’. It is definitely a series thus far that can be enjoyed by adults and teens alike. Though it has many teens as key characters they are by no means children. They are adult in the way that any person who grew up in their circumstances and such a time period would be adults.

If you were a big Yukiko fan be prepared because With frequently alternating perspectives, you will get up close and personal with characters other than her. But I guarantee you there is never a dull moment! Each character has an important part to play in the conflict and I know it was meant that I would both love and hate each of them the way that I do, and still do. I was constantly torn: Who do I hate? Who do I love? Who should I root for damnnit!!?? Kinslayer was so well done, in that it hammers home the fact that – there is no black and white, only the dismal gray. Our hearts and minds rarely agree.

If you haven’t already go raid your closest bookstore for Stormdancer so that you can devour Kinslayer and have your heart broken.



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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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23 Responses to “Review: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff”

  1. Tammy

    This is my next book, hopefully I can start it tomorrow. I’m even looking forward to being beat over the head with Jay’s particular brand of darkness:) I’m pretty sure these are NOT a young adult books. Even though they have a kid on the cover, they are priced as adult books. I’m not sure why so many people call them YA.
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Oh yeah – definitely not young adult. I think my own definition of YA is starting to greatly morph lately. I can’t wait to see what you think. It was so dark…I’m glad I’m reading something that has more of a adventure comedy element.

  2. Jaime Lester

    I have not read Stormdancer yet, but I absolutely can’t wait for the chance. I know, I know… I should have read it a long time ago. Especially since its book trailer is the only trailer that I have ever loved. So, on the agenda, Stormdancer. And then I can get to this fabulous sequel and be as blown away as you! Thank you for your fabulously fabulous review, Tabitha!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Yeah – blown away into a pit of sadness and despair! Prepare yourself! Of course book one wasn’t all doom and gloom by any means. It has a lighter feel. I can’t wait to see how you like them!

  3. Mogsy

    A roller coaster, you got that right. I just couldn’t stop myself when I got to the last 100 pages or so. Some of the surprises I saw coming right away, some that I didn’t, but if I have to say one thing, it’s that the Kagen totally deserved it!
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  4. sarah c.

    I havent read any of this book or the first one.. I have been wanting to (My niece does too)..great review!!!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Kingslayer totally sounds like a title I’ve heard before wait wait – thats the Lancaster’s nick name he’s given because he murdered the previous King in The Game of Thrones. LOL hence why its familiar if you’ve read that also.

      Yes I love it when the book can effect me so strongly – of course normally I like a good balance and don’t want my heart to be ripped out. I didn’t mind it here at all.