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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-11-24 17:20
Kinslayer Review
Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff

I really did not intend to read this book. I feel like I got my fill of/said my piece in the Stormdancer review, and who wants to retread? (other than Kinslayer, BA-ZING) So you guys (and I!) can thank Shiori and my pitiful resistance to peer pressure for this, another miserable two-month, 500-page slog. Also, UNMARKED SPOILERS ABOUND in this review.

I immediately regret this decision gif

First things first: the sama-as-'sir' and hai-as-'yes' thing - which, I'll have you know, was a totally intentional linguistic twist, I don't know why you're so upset about it - has been mostly fixed.


Honorifics are almost entirely dropped, and while "hai" still appears frequently, it's not in the middle or at the end of sentences or masquerading as "ne", so it's slightly more tolerable. I mean, I'm pretty sure it's still being used wrong, but the Japanese proficiency level has at least moved up to "Weeaboo", so that's something that those of us who were irritated by the first one, yet are inexplicably reading the sequel, can be grateful for.

Don't get me wrong, it's still Weearific as fuck -

Jurou’s grin was all Kitsune-in-the-henhouse, aimed squarely at Hana... 

- probably so that we don't forget that this is, like, super-exotic steampunk fantasy, man, and we should all be grateful, excited, a little bit horny, and totally throwing cookies its way for deigning to take place in the ~land of the rising sun~.

I mean, this isn't necessarily anything new. When it comes to Japan, and Asian culture, and outside cultures in general, it seems like most of what we're given access to are weeabooks or the equivalent - white people's exotified "riffs" on cultures and mythologies not theirs. And I think that's sort of the larger issue that I didn't emphasize enough in the "sama-hai" hullabaloo of my Stormdancer review.

Ellen Oh wrote a fantastic blog post on the subject earlier this year, that articulates the problem quite beautifully.

It is a complicated situation. There is no easy answer. We need diversity in literature. We need it desperately. [...] And so it is important that all authors include diversity in their books.

But there is that part of me that wonders why is it that when I see a list about what Asian fantasy books are out there, the books are predominantly by caucasian authors. Are POC writers not writing them or are they being passed over for books written by non-POC authors instead? And why is it that books by or about POC don't tend to sell as well as other "mainstream" books. What is the difference? Is it the difference in how they are marketed? Is it their cover art? Where they are placed in the bookstore or library? How they are pushed or not pushed by the booksellers, librarians, and teachers?

The reality is, there are just not a lot of POC authors out there. We are not representing the 37% of our population when we only amount to 10% of publishing. When you look at diversity panels or even the YA tag in racebending.com, the authors tend to be predominantly white because they reflect publishing.

This is why I can't help but be resentful. I freely admit it. It sucks being a POC author sometimes. You feel invisible. You feel passed over. And true or not, it feels harder for us to get to tell our own stories. And that shouldn't be the way things are.

So look. Being totally up front: I think, in terms of cultural representation, The Lotus War is pretty gross. I think it's lazy, exotifying, frequently reliant on Western fantasy tropes and attitudes even when they make no sense in the setting, and I think that most of what was intact and researched and detailed was the shiny pretty totally marketable aesthetic. And I think that uncritical glorification of this book and books like it are part of what keep us from getting better things.

That being said, I want to talk about other aspects of Kinslayer separately, because a) there ARE things I found interesting and ideas I liked, and b) it fails rather spectacularly on several other axes.

So, premise: basically, after killing the Shogun at the end of Stormdancer, Yukiko has driven her powers into overdrive - or so we're lead to believe - and they've begun to overwhelm her. The thoughts and presences of animals and humans alike cause her physical pain, and so Yukiko has become an alcoholic to drown them out, and to numb the pain of her father's loss. She drags herself away from the bottle to cause problems for the Guild and defend her comrades-in-rebellion, but little by little her control over her powers is slipping, and endangering herself and everyone around her. After a good three million pages setting all this up, Yukiko is positioned to spend her part of the book on a Journey to find someone in Shima who can help her learn to control her powers.

This isn't a bad start. I was begrudgingly digging Yukiko being in such a dark place - I mean, not very many "YA" authors I've come across will put their MC in that kind of unglamorous, self-destructive position. The goal was clear, and the Journey ahead promised adventure and discovery! Maybe we'd even get some - dare I even say it it? - progress to move this slog along?



Yukiko's attempt to learn to control her powers falls by the wayside fairly quickly, and she instead spends most of her plotline dealing with a streak of bad luck that seems designed mostly to keep her out of the way of the main plot - and to introduce this world's Russians, which'll hopefully pay off in the next book. Maybe.

On the bright side, her emotional conflict and inner turmoil is mostly resolved, even if her superpower issue pans out in the most groan-inducing way possible.



Buruu sighed, storm howling overhead, lighting reflected in the bottomless black of her eyes. The girl he loved more than anything in this world. The girl he would do anything to protect, to spare her even one more second of pain.

But he could not spare her this.


Oh, gods, no …

The sigh came from the heart of him.


YEP! SHE'S PREGNANT. That's where all her power is coming from. BABBIES. Always BABBIES. That's a thing women do, right? That's also how she recruits the female griffin to their cause -

He could feel the little ones inside Yukiko—two tiny sparks of life, shapeless and bright, intertwined with her own heat. They pulsed, too formless to know true fear, but real enough to feel their mother’s terror, shock, sorrow through the Kenning. The fear spilled into him, fear for them, for the one who carried them, for the beating, bleeding heart of his world.

He knew Kaiah could feel them too.


Kaiah growled, deep in her throat, tail whipping side to side.



Kaiah padded over to Yukiko, knelt on the stone before her. The girl looked up, swollen, trembling lips and frightened, blackened eyes. An age passed, there in the howling storm, the clawing wind, the driving rain, until at last, the thunder tiger leaned in close, pressed her head against Yukiko’s belly, and listened.
The sun slipped out from behind the clouds.

Just for a moment.


Because women, right? They may not give a shit about people, but they give a shit about babbies, goddammit.

The truth, though, is that Yukiko and Buruu just aren't of much consequence in Kinslayer. We're teased with the question of the fate of the remaining griffins, with hints of Buruu's past, he's even the titular Kinslayer, but all of that potentially interesting bit of backstory is withheld, presumably for the finale. Or the never.

Instead, Kristoff uses Kinslayer to make The Lotus War an ensemble, adding a handful of new POV characters and three separate storylines to the mix.


Those are the ones that really factor in to Kinslayer‘s overall plot, and I suspect that the introduction of Hana, along with Kin’s progression, were what Kinslayer was meant to serve – mostly because they’re the only things that really differentiate it from Stormdancer. BUT WE’LL GET TO THAT.

Look, the important part here is that while two of the new storylines may primarily follow female characters, the generous helping of new POVs means that we get to slip into the perspectives of the people around them. You know what that means!



Aw yeah, she isn’t a Strong Female Character if we don’t get some good ol’fashioned fap material!

Ahahaha, I jest, but it is actually disappointing, because there are times when the characters are well-drawn. Both Michi and Hana get an abundance of backstory and some agency in their own subplots (it’s somewhat hard to gage when so much of the story is “waiting around” and “flashbacking”), but the sexualization of the female characters is never far off. The male gaze is ever-present, whether it’s in women describing women –

"Seventeen, perhaps eighteen years old at most. Her lips were full and pouting, as if she’d been stung by something venomous, her features fragile and perfect; a porcelain doll on its first day in the sun. She narrowed her eyes, held one hand up against the light.

Inexplicably, Yukiko felt her heart sink.

She’s beautiful."

Or women somehow sexualizing themselves in the third person.

"Her tongue emerged from between bee-stung lips and she touched it to her fingers, just once, shivering as she tasted copper and salt."

And we’re given to male POVs at the most convenient –

"Her lips tasted of strawberries and sweat, warm as spring and soft as Kitsune silk. Wet beneath his fingertips, thighs smooth as glass, a river of glossy black spilling around her face and clinging to dripping breasts. She swayed above him; a long, slow dance in the lamplight, spilling across her contours, down into soft curves and sodden furrows. Soaking all around him, slick and scalding to the touch. She took his hands, pressed them against her, biting her lip and sawing back and forth atop him. Her sighs were the only sound in his world, her heat soaking through to his center. Her hips moved like a summer haze over lotus fields, climbing the mountain as she moaned his name over and over again.

“Ichizo.” Her lips on his own, breathing into his mouth. “Ichizo…” "

…and most disgustingly horrifying of times.

"She was not clad in a jûnihitoe as occasion would dictate; just a plain shift of deep red, rivers of long, raven hair spilling about her shoulders. No powder upon her bloodless face, nor kohl around her bloodshot eyes. Her right arm was bound in plaster, her lips pale and bereft of paint, left eye still surrounded by a faint yellow bruise, skin split almost to her chin down the left side of her mouth, stitched with delicate sutures. Yoritomo’s beating had been far more brutal than most in the court were allowed to believe.

And still, she was beautiful."


"She wailed in fear as he stepped closer. Bruises on her face, those bee-stung lips swollen further still, ugly purple around her wrists, across her thighs."

Yes, thank you. I really needed the reminder that her lips are pouty and full while you’re describing her physical state, post-rape.

I mean, what am I meant to make of that? So much of the hype around Stormdancer seemed based on the presentation of this strong, proactive woman of color – Yeah, look at how badass she is on the cover! Look at that sword! – and it just seems like little by little, the books are undermining the heroines, in their moments of triumph and even in their pain and suffering, to remind us that they are totally fappable.

Michi gets the brunt of it, being the book’s designated femme fatal. Her arc involves stuff I’d really be interested in, normally – a hardened woman out for revenge – but ugh, the squick comes in quick when she starts falling in love with the man she’s been seducing to secure her escape, and she has a big moral event horizon when she chooses the rebellion over him and stabs him while she kisses him, which is how you want to go, guys, amirite? And from there her scenes get this creepy fetishy Dragon Lady quality where she kills dudes with her hair sticks and sexy martial arts and…well…

She reached into the box and drew them out, scarlet card falling to the floor. Four and three feet long, gentle curves and glittering saw-blade teeth. She thumbed the ignitions on the hilts and the motors roared to life, vibration traveling up her arms and into her chest, bringing a small smile to painted lips.

Michi gunned the throttles of Ichizo’s chainkatana and wakizashi. Tearing away the intact layer of her jûnihitoe gown, she stepped out of her wooden sandals, wriggling her feet in split-toed socks. She took up her stance, flourishing the blades about her waist and head, a twirling, snarling dance of folded steel.


Michi dashed across the floorboards, narrowed eyes and gleaming teeth. The commander came to his senses first and stepped forward, bringing his nagamaki into some semblance of guard. She slipped down onto her knees, fine Kitsune silk and her momentum sending her into a skid across polished boards, blade passing harmlessly over her head. Cutting the commander’s legs out from under him, a blinding spray of red, a shriek of agony as the chainsaw blades sheared through bone like butter. Spinning up to her feet, katana cleaving through another bushiman’s forearm, wakizashi parrying a hasty thrust from a third as the soldiers at last registered the threat. Sparks in the air as steel crashed, the girl moving like smoke between the blades, swaying to the music she made.

A blade to a throat. A crimson spray on the walls. A parry. A wheel-kick. A thrust. Red mist in the air. Heart thundering in her chest.

Then stillness.

She blew stray hair from her eyes, idling chainswords dripping into the gore pooled at her feet, staring at the commander’s corpse.

“I think I’ll put you down instead,” she said.

Fap guy gif
Did I just read a scene out of fucking Suckerpunch? Because it felt like something around that level.

We actually talk about this in more depth in an upcoming podcast about agency (and Shiori’s dramatic reading is priceless), but the problem is well-articulated by this quote that she found for the occasion:

<blockquote>A female character who kicks ass and chews bubblegum and does a billion slow-mo kills in a slinky nightgown or catsuit (Aeon Flux, Resident Evil, Ultraviolet, etc) is not traditionally thought of as empowering because behind that concept is the lurking terror of a creepy, objectifying male writer or director. Even though “the writer” or “the director” don’t exist in-universe, their presence is felt strongly enough that it’s nearly impossible to think of such characters as being “a woman exhibiting agency”.

“The lurking terror of a creepy, objectifying male writer”, indeed.</blockquote>

Of all the female characters, Hana is the one I’m most unsure of. I feel like Hana and her storyline need more context before we’re able to completely unpack it, but the reveal of her and her brother as half (unspecified) gaijin caught me off guard. I sort of hope they don’t go the foreign inheritance, special-because-white route, but…we’ll see. At least, in the context of this story, I appreciated that she had agency, that she remained mostly unsexualized, and that she was allowed revenge for some of the bad things that happened to her.

Her brother’s subplot was fucking miserable, though. Yeah, totally, killing off the barely-characterized gay lover who only gets a backstory three seconds before he’s taken in to be tortured, so clever, so edgy, man.

Dave Grohl says fuck you

As a whole, Kinslayer‘s steep descent into grimdark gritty town doesn’t do much for me. FYI, there are at least two attempted rape scenes, one actual rape – provided it was, indeed, a rape; we only see the aftermath – and an intimate violation of a bedridden character mentioned towards the end. Of course there’s a lot of violence, being a steampunk rebellion action book, and most of it gets skimmed over in a typically action-booky way, until you hit the gay character’s torture scene. From there, it seems like a torrent of shudder-inducing stuff follows, and I kind of wish someone would have seen fit to mention it in a review. Obviously it’s personal preference, but I am so totally not here for the eyes-being-yanked-out, toes-being-broken-crap, and I’m sure there are others who’d appreciate a word of warning.

I also feel like it’s worth mentioning that the worst bits of torture, prolonged suffering, and victimization are only wheeled out for women and gay men. I mean sure, lots of random dudes die, but they’re relatively quick deaths that aren’t, y’know, prolonged arduous setpiece plot devices. I’ll be bitter about Aisha’s fate til the end of fucking days, man, because not only was she brought back despite being presumed dead in the last book, but she was brought back just to become a fucking human incubator, and to figure in a plotline that was basically middle book bullshit filler. Her character was victimized and suffered and died and it didn’t even forward the plot.

Also, that possible – because I’m not convinced we won’t eventually go the “she faked it” route, ugh – rape? Another plot device meant to be a turning point, not for the character it occurred to, of course, but for her love interest, Kin. He is SO UPSET she got raped, you guys, it was just the final straw. Now he’s going to do some shit. Naturally.

middle finger gif


I’m actually starting to suspect that Kin might be our backdoor protagonist, here. Again, I feel like one of, if not the primary purpose of Kinslayer, as an installment in The Lotus War, was to transition Kin into whatever role he’ll be playing in the finale, and it’s Kin who has been given the tropey fantasy mantle of having an epic prophesied destiny looming in the distance that he’s caught between fighting and giving in to. I suppose we’ll see as the series conclude, but it’s kind of telling to me that the only time Kinslayer is EVER in first person is in his ominous epilogue.

Ultimately, if the appropriation weren’t going to put you off, if the creepy objectification wasn’t enough, at the very least, Kinslayer feels like a waste of time as an installment. Once again, it’s like 300 pages of slow-as-molasses plot development until you hit the home stretch and shit starts actually happening. But even then, Kinslayer has classic Middle Book Syndrome: it treads water with a redundant plot while new characters are introduced and/or maneuvered into position for the finale. We end Kinslayer in almost exactly the same position as we ended Stormdancer, and oh god why did we even bother? I wouldn’t be surprised if you could just skip Kinslayer entirely and go into book three without much trouble.

Then again, I don’t think anyone would be worse off for just skipping Kinslayer, period.


Come for the quotespam, stay for the fun? Quotespam over at <a href="http://yourekilling.us/?p=1462">You're Killing.Us</a>.

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review 2012-08-24 00:00
Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff warning


This book made me really fucking mad.

I'll admit, I was a little leery of Stormdancer from the start - Japanese steampunk sounds cool, but coming from a white western author, the chances of problematic weeaboo fuckery are high. Exoticization. Romanticization. Plain old appropriation. Yet for some reason, I didn't really peg Stormdancer as a weeaboo outing. I don't know why. There was no good reason, and yet, I expected Kristoff to be a scholar of some sort, or at least, to do some very in-depth, scholarly research, borne of a deep interest in, and respect for, Japanese culture. And while even that could have also potentially yielded something problematic, at least it would have been sincere. What I thoroughly did NOT expect to get was a book informed by fucking Wikipedia and anime, set in Japan for the sake of novelty. That came as a genuine shock. And a dramatic rise in blood pressure. WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK?

The thing is, that Wikipedia part? You can kinda tell. I mean, the first hundred pages or so of Stormdancer, basically until the airship crashes, are a chore to wade through, mostly because of the Wikipedia-esque info dumps. It takes almost exactly half of those pages to make any progress on the plot. The first fifty are just about showing off the world and detailing every little aspect of it, which is why it takes like twelve paragraphs for Yukiko and her father to walk down a street: we have to hear about the architecture, detail the clothing being worn (because we're using Japanese terms here, and not many readers will know offhand what a fucking hakama looks like), and explain the exact geographical setting, right down to which rivers cross where, and the ~exotic smells~ in the air, even though none of it is actually relevant to anything that's going on at the moment. I understand wanting to set the scene and acquaint readers with the world, but Jesus Herbet Christ, get on with it already. Work this stuff in to the action. Make me not want to put the book down out of sheer boredom. I mean, I haven't even gotten the chance to get angry yet.

Making the world-building harder to parse are the Japanese words and terms strewn throughout the descriptions, most of which assume a familiarity with the culture that many readers just won't have. I had to break out the Google more than once to give myself a better mental image of what was going on, and though many of the terms aren't exactly vital to the story, it was still annoying as hell. I want to be able to see this shit in my head, to get what's going on, and it doesn't help when half of the words are in Japanese just for the flavor of it. It's one thing when a word doesn't have an English analog; it's another when you're including easily translatable and even borrowed words, like "sarariman" (seriously? it's "salary-man" or even just "businessman", kthnx), in their romaji form just to make the story seem more ~authentic~. At the very least it's unnecessarily confusing.

There is a glossary in the back of the book that would have been quite helpful to know about while in the midst of those first fifty pages, but if you're an e-reader like me, you wouldn't have realized it's there until you actually made it to that page...just after the story has ended. Perhaps print readers will be able to make better use of it.

But blah blah blah, detail-heavy writing, I can skim past that. My only issue was boredome until I started noticing all of the shit got wrong. Then my head began hitting the desk. Repeatedly.

And okay, preface: I'm not an expert on Japan, nor am I Asian. I've never studied the country or the language formally. I've got little knowledge outside of what I learned in my own weeaboo phase, from, yes, mostly manga and anime. And YET I still came across glaring errors, repeated errors, stupid errors, errors that made it impossible to read through a conversation without wanting to strangle someone, and errors that lead to questions about some very basic assumptions of the book.

Let's start with my primary nails-on-a-chalkboard issue, the usage of the words "hai" and "sama", shall we? Here are a few examples of these words in action in Stormdancer:


"That is more than fair." [...] "Ameterasu bless your kindness, sama."
"I want for nothing. Thank you, sama."
"He slew Boukyaku, young sama. The sea dragon who consumed the island of Takaiyama."
"Honor to you, great sama."
"What is Raijin song, sama?"
"Forgiveness, sama."
"Apologies, sama."

...and so on and so forth.


"These cloudwalkers were men of the kitsune clan, hai?"
"I have no doubt of your success. The man who stood beside my father as he slew the last nagaraja of Shima will not be trouble by a simple thunder tiger, hai?"
"You must keep it secret." [...] "It is a gift, hai, but it is not one to be squandered..."
"The solitude is pleasant, hai?"
"I can get into the trees, hai."
"Just deck-hands on a sky-ship, hai?"


And both together, for a double-slap to the face of any immersion you've managed to scrounge up:

"Sama, please. Enough for one day, hai?"


That's not how you use those, either of those, come ON now. "Sama" is a suffix, an honorific. It goes at the end of someone's name (ex: Masaru-sama), or title, or profession, to denote respect or a higher social status. You NEVER use it by itself, it isn't a stand in for "sir", or "lord", and in fact, the included glossary explicitly acknowledges this, so how the fuck this managed to remain intact through editing I have no fucking idea.

Similarly, "hai" is not a one-to-one translation of "yes", or "right". A more accurate translation is "I have understood what you just said", and it's only used to answer a question or a request. You don't stick it on the end of the sentence to rhetorically prompt confirmation. Believe it or not, there are actually Japanese words for that (well, not the "rhetorical part"), like "ka" or "desu", but Kristoff doesn't make use of those ad nauseum, just the jarringly, tellingly wrong "hai".

This is Weeaboo 101 people, we should not even have to be talking about this, especially if these characters are and are speaking Japanese.

Except...other potential "errors" bring that last statement into question. Are the characters in Stormdancer speaking Japanese? Seeing as how the book is set in Japan, I went into the story operating on the assumption that they were, and that it was being "translated" by the author to English for our benefit. One would think that this is the case, that characters in Japan would be saying Japanese words, and yet:

"Impure." Yukiko whispered the word [...] It was such a simple thing; two syllables, the press of her lips together, one on another, tongue rolling over her teeth.


"Arashi-no-ko," she heard them whisper.
She could feel Buruu frown in her mind, puzzled by the word's shape.
She smiled, embarrassed, turning her eyes to the floor.
Storm Girl.


"I lo-"
She kissed him, stood on her tiptoes and threw her arms around his neck and crushed her lips to his before he could finish the sentence. She didn't want to listen to those three awful words, feel them open her up to the bone and see what the lies had done to her insides.

Mmmk. 1) "Impure" in Japanese? Google says "fuketsu". Three syllables, no "press of her lips together", minimal "tongue rolling".

2) If they were actually speaking Japanese? After Buruu asked what the fuck "arashi no ko" meant? Yukiko would have said "arashi no ko", because those are the words for "storm girl*" in Japanese. DUH. How and why Yukiko would have even needed to translate Japanese for the Japanese-speaking tiger is beyond me, and yet, if they are speaking Japanese here, what she just did is completely illogical.

*except that even the translation is sketchy. "Ko" = child, not "girl".

3) "I love you" in Japanese, those "three little words"? "Aishiteru", or "aishiteru yo"/"aishiteru wa". One or two words at best. *Although I'm informed it could also be "kimi ga suki". BUT STILL.

This pretty effectively proved to me that, either by fuck-up or by intent, the characters in the book are speaking English. In Japan. What the fuck? I can't imagine that that was the intent, because it makes no logical sense whatsoever, but even the fuck-up makes the book's narrative frustratingly Eurocentric.

Oh, yeah, and then there's the amalgamative "Asia-land" that Shima ends up reading as. That doesn't help in the slightest. Despite being 99% a fantastical analog of Japan, again whether by fuck-up or intent, bits of other Asian cultures slip in. "Nagaraja", for example, are actually Indian creatures. Likewise, somehow the lotus pollution is threatening the local panda population, even though pandas are indigenous to CHINA, which is, incidentally, NOT JAPAN. The characters also use Chinese expressions of exasperation, even though there are perfectly good and common and available Japanese ones.

And this is just the shit I've come across. Sei, finder of the Chinese slang, came across more errors, which she lists in her very insightful review, and

Syahira has a very detailed analysis of the awkward naming conventions, and Krystle vents her rage about this "omage" to her culture.

You can see why this is problematic, right? The lack of research, the Eurocentric viewpoint, the playing fast and loose with Japanese culture, the smooshing all things Asian into the same story, the same country, because hey, all Asian cultures are all the same, right?

HAHA, NO. No. NONONONONONO. This is not how you write this shit, people. As my friend Shiori put it, Asian cultures are not fucking Sizzler. No, you don't get to help yourself to the shit you like and leave the rest, why the fuck would anyone think that? For the love of god, please, educate yourself before you write about other cultures.

So, yeah, that was...frustrating, putting it mildly. *twitch* It was really, really difficult to put that aside and look at the book, I'll admit, and might be at least part of why I found it impossible to connect with the characters. That being said, I wasn't a huge fan of the plot itself, either.

The book takes FOREVER to get going. Sure, stuff happened here and there, but it seemed like the vvvvvaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast majoooooooority of it was Yukiko and Buruu sitting around doing absolutely nothing...

Read full review at You're Killing.Us.

More Links

Assorted thoughts on Stormdancer:

Linda on the Green-Eyed Asian Love Interest, plus her series of thoughts on Asian fantasy.
- Author Karen Healy & Tumblr pinpoint some of the more problematic aspects of Kristoff's interviews.
- The comments in Linda's review have yielded a very interesting discussion, and several good links on the subject.
- The Book Smugglers review Stormdancer and share their thoughts on their interview with Kristoff, in which he spouts more problematic bullshit.
- Silver Goggles has a funny and wonderful reaction to the inevitable question: "does this mean we're not allowed to write outside our ethnicity?"
- Zoe Marriott discusses the difference between diversity and appropriation.
- Calm Down, It's Only Fantasy: Ladybusiness over at Livejournal has a response to the "Ignorant White Person 101" defense of Stormdancer. This is one of my favorite posts to come out of this whole mess. The response to the predictable "But but other fantasy authors change other (non-minority) cultures for their books, why aren't we riding them? WHAAAAAAAA!" in the comments is an excellent, well thought-out smackdown.
- Finally, for conflicted fans of Stormdancer, behold! How to be a fan of problematic things. Spoiler: it's not that hard.

Meanwhile, there's the continued response from Kristoff, the gist of which being "BUT FANTASY, why should I be held accountable? You're taking it TOO SERIOUSLY."
- The aforementioned Book Smuggler's interview with Jay Kristoff, where he explains that "if you can wrap your head around the idea Shima and Japan might look a lot alike, but aren’t the same place, you’ll have fun."
- The Stormdancer website FAQ, in which Kristoff explains how much he doesn't give a shit if you care that he got shit wrong, because "this is fantasy, folks, not international frackin' diplomacy." Charming.
- A guest post at Fantasy Faction on world-building, with lots of "pros" that not-so-subtly explain why his book is TEH AWESOME and "cons" that casually give the middle finger to and shits on anyone who called him out on his bullshit.

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