Friday, 18 February 2011

STORMDANCER, a debut novel by Jay Kristoff, acquired by Julie Crisp at Tor UK

From the press release...


Tor UK, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, has acquired World English rights for Stormdancer and two subsequent books in the series in association with Pete Wolverton at Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St Martins Press in the US , from agent Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Stormdancer is a dystopian fantasy set in steampunk feudal Japan and follows Yukiko and her warrior father who are sent on an impossible mission to capture a legendary Thunder Tiger – a griffin. But an accident means Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, broken-winged griffin for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, and even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is that he’d rather see her dead than help her.

Meanwhile, the country around them is on the brink of collapse. A toxic poppy-based fuel is slowly killing the land; the omnipotent, metal-clad Guild is publicly burning those that they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own power.


In hopes of saving her country – and herself, Yukiko must earn the griffin’s trust to become a symbol to her people; a myth, a legend – a Stormdancer.


Julie Crisp, editorial director at Tor UK, said ‘This is an incredibly imaginative and well-executed fantasy. Think Across the Nightingale Floor and Eragon mixed with steampunk, strong original characters and fast-paced action. It’s a wonderful read that everyone in-house fell in love with. So we’re thrilled that Jay will be joining the Tor UK team’.

Tor UK will be looking to publish Stormdancer in 2012.

I want to be excited about‘Stormdancer’ but I’m in two minds right now…

On the one hand we’ve got a killer looking blurb here with loads of genre buzzwords all doing what they’re supposed to. Not only is there ‘steampunk’, and a ‘metal clad guild’ (fantasy guilds are cool, make no mistake there) but the land is dying as well. I blame that ‘toxic poppy based fuel’ myself…

After such a great buildup though everything is suddenly knocked sideways by the ‘Eragon’ comparison. I’m sure that Julie Crisp didn’t mean to say that ‘Stormdancer’ is a book where the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Star Wars’ influences were all too visible but that was my impression of ‘Eragon’ so you can’t blame me for jumping to that conclusion. I can see myself giving this one a go anyway but maybe with some slight caution.

How about you though? Has the blurb got you all excited? Did you shy away from the ‘Eragon’ comparison? And has anyone here read ‘Across the Nightingale Floor’? I haven’t…

8 comments:

noothergods said...

I loved 'Across the Nightengale Floor' and most of its sequels. Lian Hearn is one of the better authors of Japanese styled fiction. As for this, the comparisons to 'Eragon' and Hearn's work seem antithetical to me because Hearn, as stated above, is very good. However I hated Eragon.

Scott said...

Across the Nightingale Floor is an amazing read! Enthralling and cleverly plotted. Well worth the read!

Tanja said...

I was all intrigued and curious even though I'm not a fan of the current steampunk fad but I'm almost always interested in reading new stories about griffins and I like the idea of exploring a different kind of Asian fantasy culture...but then I read the "Eragon" bit and felt disappointed.

Melita K. said...

If she and her father were traveling to the mideast to find a griffin...but as far as I can tell, griffins aren't legendary creatures of Japan. Why not use one of the many other possibilities?

I thought the Otori tales were well-written but they were so close to medieval Japan, why not just call it an alternate history Japan? I just wish she had filed off the serial numbers a bit more. So comparing Stormdancer to it, or to Eragon, is not endearing it to me.

Jay said...

Hi folks, Jay Kristoff here.

Having never read Eragon, I can't say where the comparisons come from. My novel has no orcs or elves or magic swords, no traveling cross country while learning about secret destinies or whatnot - Stormdancer is pretty bereft of the usual high fantasy, Tolkein-esque tropes (which, having read the wiki page, I'm guessing Eragon had a lot of). When first pitching the book, I described it as "Across the Nightingale Floor" meets "How to Train your Dragon" set in steampunk feudal Japan with a Rage Against the Machine soundtrack.

I think the comparison might come from the protagonists in both books having a relationship with a mythical beast, but again, having never read Eragon (shrug).

I hope you all give Stormdancer a shot - I think most folks will find something in there to love. If you don't like it, maybe we can arrange a time for you to come over and kick my dog or something...

Graeme Flory said...

Hi Jay,

Thanks for clearing that up ;o) I think we all feel less uneasy now. Funnily enough, Julie Crisp pretty much said what you did when I asked her about the 'Eragon' comparison. I'd have picked your book up anyway but now I know that I won't be reading a 'Star Wars' rip off (seriously, it was like Paolini was watching 'A New Hope' when he wrote 'Eragon'...) you've sold it to me :o)

Jay said...

Hey Graeme,

Ha, no, there's not many Star Wars tropes in there either. No ancient hokey religions or lightsabers.

Although I *can* confirm there are a couple of chainsaw katanas. :)

Gabriele C. said...

Chainsaw katanas? OK, that does it; I want to read the book. :)

Seriously, it sounded interesting from the first and I don't give too much about comparisons made by the publisher's marketing department; they go for what may sell to the average reader. We tend to forget that the majority of readers doesn't frequent the blogsphere, book discussion fourms and similar places but goes by blurbs and covers and maybe Amazon reivews.