Find this review and more at BOOK BRATS!STORMDANCER is a tale of epic adventure, loyalty, and action, mixed with a smidge of romance and a ton of excitement. All of that made it one of my most anticipated books of 2012. And let me just say – my anticipation in this book was well worth it. Where other books this summer have failed me, STORMDANCER took the reins and held onto me tightly. I sat down in my bath, sipping wine while enjoying the bubbles, and expected maybe half an hour of reading. Two hours later, the water frigid and the wine long gone, I finally roused myself from the water and said one thing.“Wow.”I lived in Japan for four months while studying abroad, tucked away in a suburb between three urban metropolises in western Japan with a rather religious host family. I was exposed to all the folk tales, taken to temples and shrines, thrown headfirst into ceremony and tradition. Maybe that is why this book resonated so much with me. Also, it helped that I speak Japanese (to an extent) and was able to keep up with the onslaught of Japanese terms and names. I fell with ease into Yukiko’s world and savored the descriptions, the characters, and the story. Well, as much as you can savor a story given the fact that I read the majority of it in one sitting.I loved Yukiko. I’ll admit it – I am a sucker for an authentically strong heroine. In YA sometimes, we are presented these girls that are described as strong when in reality they are just stubborn. Yukiko had a fierceness to her that was unmistakable, and her drive to succeed and save herself and her father was amazing. And Buruu! Where can I get a Buruu of my own? For a “thunder tiger”, he sure does seem like an awesome person that I’d want to befriend. Now I’m sad that I can’t chat with my dog.Kristoff’s way with words is amazing, especially when you remember that this is his debut book. The description is vivid. The world building is spot on. The characters come to life. And the pacing. THE PACING. Kristoff has totally nailed it.BALL BALL BALL PLAY PLAY PLAY SLEEP EAT PEE!Okay, maybe not a great idea.When I finished STORMDANCER, I knew immediately that I needed more of this story. And to know that it’ll be an entire YEAR before I get book two makes me sad. This story has quickly vaulted from my most anticipated list to my complete favorites list – definitely top 10 if not the top 5. This should be the book that you run out to the store on release day and buy immediately. You will not regret it.VERDICT: One of the most imaginative novels of 2012, STORMDANCER blends historical fiction, steampunk, drama, and a kick butt heroine to be a completely remarkable debut. BUY THIS BOOK.