November 27, 2014

Endsinger Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Endsinger blog tour! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book along with a great excerpt - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Endsinger (Lotus War #3)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books


The flames of civil war sweep across the Shima Imperium. With their plans to renew the Kazumitsu dynasty foiled, the Lotus Guild unleash their deadliest creation—a mechanical goliath known as the Earthcrusher, intended to unite the shattered Empire under a yoke of fear. With the Tiger Clan and their puppet Daimyo Hiro in tow, the Guild marches toward a battle for absolute dominion over the Isles.

Yukiko and Buruu are forced to take leadership of the Kagé rebellion, gathering new allies and old friends in an effort to unite the country against the chi-mongers. But the ghosts of Buruu’s past stand between them and the army they need, and Kin’s betrayal has destroyed all trust among their allies. When a new foe joins the war tearing the Imperium apart, it will be all the pair can do to muster the strength to fight, let alone win.

The traitor Kin walks the halls of Guild power, his destiny only a bloody knife-stroke away. Hana and Yoshi struggle to find their place in a world now looking to them as heroes. Secret cabals within the Lotus Guild claw and struggle; one toward darkness, the other toward light. And as the earth splits asunder, as armies destroy each other for rule over an empire of lifeless ash and the final secret about blood lotus is revealed, the people of Shima will learn one last, horrifying truth.

There is nothing a mother won't do to keep her children by her side.


The thing inside their mother wanted out.

Swollen and heavy as stone, Lady Sun fell westward into the waiting oceans. A chill followed her descent, coiled in the mountain shadows, creeping towards the dusty little farm and its withered fields. The wind brought the brittle bite of approaching winter, the vapour from the deadlands stirring like a lover at its touch, rippling with the sound of their mother’s screams.

Tetsuo and Hikita crouched together in the dirt, all grubby faces and threadbare rags. The children had fled the house when the noise became too much. Their mother’s agonized cries had reduced little Tetsuo to tears, and Hikita took his younger brother’s hand and led him out into the dark and quiet. Hikita knew he must be strong. He was the man now. Thin shoulders only ten summers old, carrying the weight of his family and the weight of the world.

Their neighbour had arrived with the midwife, and now the women clustered about the bed as Mother wailed, stepping outside only to dash buckets of red water onto cracked earth, or wring bloody rags between their fingers. Hikita would watch them then, his eyes hidden behind soot-smeared glass, black and empty as the dusk above their heads.

He knew what another mouth meant for his family. Knew their pitiful stead wouldn’t have enough good earth left next season to feed three, let alone four. But the baby was coming, whether he willed it or not. There was nowhere else for it to go, after all.

Tetsuo stabbed at the ashen earth with a stick. The blood lotus crop around them swayed and rolled, voices whispering in the husk-dry leaves.

‘Do you think it will be another boy?’

‘Only the Maker knows,’ Hikita replied.

‘I would like a sister.’

‘I would like the cur who put that baby in her to be at her side. I would like Father to still be alive.’ Hikita scowled, climbing to his feet. ‘Like has nothing to do with life.’

He stared at the Tōnan Mountains to the west; jagged fists raised against the setting sun. Between Hikita’s feet and those stone roots, miles of deadlands stretched into the dark – cracks in the earth running twenty feet deep, wreathed in choking fog. Through the fumes, he could see a broken wagon here, a collapsed barn there. Farmsteads run to ruin, swallowed by the blackness spreading from the Stain. He knew somewhere in those mountains loomed First House, the heart of Guild power in Shima. The ones who fed the lotus with the blood of roundeyes, or so the radio sometimes said. The ones who were bleeding this land dry for the sake of fuel and flowers.

Sometimes, when the sky-ships flew overhead, the windows would rattle and little Tetsuo would wake from his sleep, thinking demons were rising from the Hells. But Hikita knew the oni had better things to do than trouble the sleep of foolish boys. The Endsinger’s children dwelled below the earth, deep in the Yomi Underworld. It was men who stained the clouds in their roaring machines. Men who turned the sky to red, the land to ashes, the rain to black. Not demons. Not gods. Just men.

A trembling wail split the dusk, Mother shrieking, throat raw. Hikita scowled again, lifted his kerchief and spat. Brother or sister, it didn’t matter. He’d hate that child. Hate it as he hated its father, with his smooth talk and smoother smile. A dog who took advantage of a widow’s loneliness, left her in dishonour, a bastard in her belly. He’d kill him if he saw him again. Show him that though they lived on the Stain’s edge, in the poorest lands in all the seven islands of Shima, they were still Ryu clan. The blood of Dragons still flowed in their veins.

The windows began rattling and Hikita looked up, expecting to see a Guild sky-ship lumbering out of the dusk. But the sky was an empty, fading red, scabbed with storm clouds. The rattling intensified, the earth trembling so violently he fell to his knees. Tetsuo crawled across the bucking soil, a great belly-sore rumble beneath them. The brothers held each other as the island shook, Tetsuo crying out in fear.

‘Another earthquake?’

The fifth in as many weeks. The rumbling stilled, choking slowly, until the skitter of rotten earth into the deadlands fissures was the only noise. A thin cry began; a newborn’s first bewildered plea as it was dragged from bloody warmth into this world of men. Kicking and screaming.

‘It’s here!’ Tetsuo cried, the tremors forgotten.

He slipped from Hikita’s embrace and dashed into the house, dirty heels beating the verandah like drums. Hikita stood slowly, listening to the hungry wails from their newest mouth. He could hear his mother crying, the joy in her voice as she called for him to come meet his new sister. And the boy shook his head and licked the ashes from his lips, looking across the tall stalks of blood lotus to the desolation around the mountain’s feet.

He blinked. Squinted in the gloom.

Tiny lights. Blood-red. A pair, shining between the lotus fronds. The crunch of little feet in dead leaves and deader earth. Hikita peered into the dark, the wails of his new sibling filling his ears. The deadlands fumes were an oil-thick shadow, rippling like black water. The lotus stalks bent gently – something moving through the crop – and the tiny lights flickered out, once, twice, winking like the long lost stars in the skies overhead.

No, not winking, he realized.


A figure shuffled from the stalks, covered in black earth and ashes. It stood two feet high, but its arms hung long and low, back bent as it shuffled forward and snuffled at the air. Its eyes were scarlet, casting a bloody light over heavy brows, hairless skull, swollen lips. It saw the boy, lips splitting into an idiot grin like a toddler who’d just found a new playmate. But its teeth were yellowed fangs, tusks protruding from its lower jaw, and Hikita realized that beneath the mask of dirt and ash, its skin was midnight blue.

‘Uh-uuhhhhhhhh,’ it said, holding out its arms.

Hikita’s eyes were fixed on the talons set in those grasping fingers, sharp as katana.

‘Gn-uhhhhh . . .’

‘Oni,’ he breathed. ‘Lord Izanagi save me.’

The demon flinched at the Maker God’s name, eyes growing bright and wide. It loped forward, knuckles dragging in the earth, a shriek of rage spilling from crooked fangs.

Hikita screamed. Screamed with his sister, here on her birthing day in the shadow of those broken peaks, amidst the rot creeping like a cancer across the island’s skin. Screamed as if it were his final breath. As if it were all he was, and all he ever would be.

As if the world itself was ending.
Endsinger is the third and final book in the Lotus War trilogy - a dystopian fantasy with steampunk aspects that continues to follow our heroine Yukiko as she tries to gather allies in order to unite the country and lead the rebellion against the chi-mongers. Along with Buruu and his past troubles coming back to haunt him, Yukiko must fight to save her country from the traitor Kin as well as the final battle that will decide the fate of the country. The people of Shima will battle for their lives and their land - and they will also find out the last secret of the blood lotus. One that could kill them all.

I have to admit that when I read the description on the first book in the trilogy, I was a bit skeptical and unsure of what to expect. I'm not a huge fantasy fan and the idea of a story about a female warrior in a dystopian empire didn't seem quite up my alley. I decided to give it a try anyway and I'm incredibly glad I did. This trilogy was amazing. It's really hard to come up with words that are able to explain all the fantastic aspects of this book, and my review will certainly not do it justice. The third book picks up where the second left off - and once the pace starts moving, it doesn't let up until the final page. Yukiko continues to be a fantastic main character. She's brave, smart, strong, and devoted warrior who stands up for what she believes in and for what's right - and she can kick serious butt if need be. If that isn't enough coolness, she has the ability to hear the thoughts of animals AND she has a thunder tiger named Buruu. She's a very unique main character and I still love the fact that the author made her female.

The plot sucked me in from the first words and I was once again immersed in the world of the Shima Imperium alongside Yukiko. The author uses such vivid imagery and detailed descriptions of everything - from the characters to the setting and all the happenings throughout the book - that I was enchanted all over again. There's so much happening in this book - I can't even hope to describe it all. The story was full of action and adventure along with some romance and really intriguing steampunk aspects. The setting is still magical to me - a dystopian empire that uses the lotus plant for just about everything, including steam-powered contraptions and air ships. The original mixture of fantasy, steampunk, dystopian, and mythology makes this series exceptionally unique and like nothing I've ever read before. I loved learning all that I could about the mythology in the series along with all the various characters - their personalities, strengths, flaws - everything. The writing was phenomenal and shows the immense talent that the author possesses. The book flowed so easily and had such a quick pace that I literally could not stop reading once I started - which is exactly what happened with the first two in the series. The writing grips you from the very beginning and leaves you begging for more (which sadly we won't get after this). Again, I can't find the right words to convey how epic this book, and this series, is and my review honestly doesn't do it the justice it deserves. The final book in the trilogy was full of intense battles and tons of beauty and intrigue. I was excited to see what would happen in the final book, but I'm very sorry that it's over. It's truly a bittersweet ending - we finally learn all the secrets that have been alluded to throughout the series and we get to see the final battle play out, along with the affects of what happens. Very highly recommended for fans of all genres, especially dystopias, fantasy, mythology, and action/adventure. I know for sure that I'll be keeping a very close eye on this author and I can't wait to see what he comes out with next!

An Epic Finale to One of the Most Unique and Exceptional Trilogies Out There!

Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press & Tor UK. Part 3, ENDSINGER, will be released in November 2014. He's also co-author of the upcoming ILLUMINAE (with Amie Kaufman), a YA Sci-Fi... thing, to be released by Knopf/Random House in 2015.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13520 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

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You can purchase ENDSINGER at the following Retailers:
(1) Winner will receive a Signed Copy of ENDSINGER +Signed Bookmark 
(4) Winners will receive a Signed Bookmark and Book Plate.
(3) Winners will receive a Copy of ENDSINGER by Jay Kristoff.
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter


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