Reading Level: Adult
Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Lotus Wars series
Source: ARC from Goodreads First Reads
Rating: 3/5 stars
This is the third, and final, book in The Lotus Wars series by Kristoff. I got a copy of this to review through Goodreads First Reads program. This whole series has been very hit and miss for me. I enjoyed the second book in the series, but thought the first half of the first book was awful. This third book was again mixed for me. There were parts of the story I enjoyed and parts that were really painful to get through. You absolutely must read the first couple books in this series to follow what is happening in this book. I was lost half the time and I had already read the first two books in this series.
Hiro is marching with the Guild for to battle and conquer the isles. Yukiko and Buruu have taken over leadership of the Kage’ rebellion, but Buruu’s past is coming back to haunt him. Kin is back in the Guild trying to prove his worth after betraying the Kage’. Lastly Hana and Yoshi are trying to find their place with the Kage; they have been thrust into leadership positions with little experience and are struggling.
This was a long book that felt long…I had a lot of the same problems with this book that I had with the previous one. The story is very fractured and switches POV often and abruptly. There are a zillion characters to keep track of. The characters have difficult names and not enough distinctive characteristics, so it is very hard to keep track of them all. Kristoff does have a section at the beginning of the book where he lists all the different characters and their backgrounds. This was extremely helpful and I referenced it a ton, but it still didn’t help me to understand the characters’ relation to other characters and didn’t do a good job jogging my memory about the previous book. I think an additional “the story so far” summary would have been very helpful as well.
I am always excited to read these books, but then when I read them I remember how much I hate the POV changes and how difficult and drawn out the whole thing is to read. I really do love the Asian feel to these books, the setting, and the interesting steampunk elements…but the plot and writing style really drags down all the elements I enjoy. I end up liking the idea of the story more than the actual story itself.
The best part of this book is Buruu (just like in previous books). Buruu adds humor and intelligence to the story and is by far my favorite character. In this book we learn a lot of his background and meet many other Storm Tigers; this was by far the highlight of the book for me.
Yukiko continues to make questionable decisions throughout the book, I have never really enjoyed her as a character. Hana and Yoshi are in the story quite a bit but I never really feel like I got to know them well in the 2nd book and still don’t engage with them as characters all that well. Kin is in the book some (he is my 2nd favorite character after Buruu) but he wasn’t in it nearly enough.
The book has an incredibly high body count. Towards the end of the book a major character or two is dying pretty much in every chapter. To be far there are a ton of major characters, so Kristoff has a wide variety of characters he can kill off without negatively impacting the story as a whole.
The story as a whole ties up well I guess. There weren’t many loose ends. I honestly found myself skimming it, because I didn’t remember who half of the minor characters were anyway and didn’t really care what happened to them.
Overall I think my I would have been better off skipping this whole series completely. It’s overly complicated, hard to follow, is fractured because of all of the POV changes and was generally painful to read. I enjoyed the setting and the world, although I enjoyed the idea of this series better than the series itself. The series as a whole was very uneven, there were parts I thought were decent and parts I hated. Mostly I am just happy to be done with this series and I don’t plan on reading more books by Kristoff in the future.