Kinslayer, by Jay Kristoff | Book Review #194


Today’s post is a book review of Kinslayer, by Jay Kristoff. Kinslayer is the second book in the trilogy called The Lotus War.

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.’

What I like most about Kinslayer, is that prior to actually reading the book theres this quick character review/recap. — Which is great to have in a book that deals with lots of characters. I took a little time in between my reading of Stormdancer to just…unwind from the story and distance myself a little from The Lotus War. So having a character “refresher” is A+.

I don’t like how the points of view change with no warning. Like at the start of a chapter the story will just go on, jumping to another POV without tell us who that person is; like some books tend to do.

The easiest way for me to say this about Kinslayer is that the pacing of the characters’ stories and the placement of their stories is just…chaos. Which, if that’s what Kristoff was aiming for, then congratulations, it worked extremely well. The story is all over place. — When I say that, I literally mean that. With some characters and their points of view, one could be dealing with something that could be figuratively taking a while, when another character could be in the midst of (a) battle. The writing and placement of the very different points of view is jarring.


We slowly learn the history of everyone and what their role in this story is. Which is both great and not so great. Some characters’ “destinies” (for lack of a better term) are revealed to us straight away. Others though, is only revealed at the end of the book.

There are new characters introduced, which is great, yay(!) more characters. But there’s also the fact that there are already a ton of characters that we see in this story. We also loose some characters

There’s a huuuge plot twist nearing the end of the book. When I read the plot twist I was shocked and had a “whaaaAAATTT???!!!!” moment. At the same time though I wasn’t that surprised.

Overall lots happened throughout Kinslayer. The writing was great throughout; the detail and some of the wordings are awesome. The story itself proceeded to take a darker turn towards the end, however.

I ended up giving Kinslayer, 2 of 5 stars on Goodreads.

I won’t be reading the third book, Endsinger, for a while just yet. Kinslayer was just so chaotic that I can’t even begin to think about getting my hands on Endsinger. By the way, how great of a title is ‘Endsinger‘?? Endsinger is completely fitting since Endsinger is the last book in the trilogy.

Have you read Kinslayer (or Stormdancer)? If you have, what did you think?
I’d love to know! 

Happy Reading!

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