cover image Kinslayer


Jay Kristoff. Thomas Dunne, $25.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-250-00141-2

The second Japanese-flavored steampunk adventure in the Lotus War series (after 2012’s Stormdancer) starts with a bang when teen kitsune Yukiko, craving revenge for her father’s murder, destroys three Lotus Guild warships. But the tides turn when Lord Hiro, Yukiko’s former lover and the Guild’s foremost ally, declares himself the Daimyo. Yukiko’s uncontrollable powers also become as dangerous as any enemy. The Guild stands poised to crush Yukiko’s burgeoning rebellion, and the empire’s fate hangs on three unlikely people: Artificer Kin, increasingly conflicted about his decision to follow Yukiko; Burakumin Hana, derided and considered beneath notice; and Kage Michi, a maidservant whose relationship with a magistrate threatens more than her heart. Though Kristoff opens with a character refresher, new readers might have difficulty following the story, and while the action scenes are just as thrilling and the plot even more fast-paced than in the first volume, this sequel is undermined by its increasingly one-note pseudo-Japanese setting, as well as its reliance on predictable tropes. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.)