Empress Of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
Synopsis: Each generation, a competition is held to find the next Empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.
Mari has spent a lifetime training to become Empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.
Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.
Review: What piqued my interest was the plot of the book. The first few chapters were excellent, and I was intrigued to see how the book would progress.
Silence is the cousin of invisibility.
The story is told from the point of views of three main characters-Mari(the main protagonist), Taro(the prince), and Akira (dubbed as the Son of Nightmares).
Mari is one among many girls competing for the chance to be the future Empress. In order to do that, she will have to survive the four seasons or seasonal rooms – Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. However, these are not the only hurdles lying in Mari’s path. Mari is an animal wife, a yōkai and yōkais are supernatural creatures enslaved by humans and are not allowed to enter in this competition. Mari, is, however, not oppressed and has to keep her secret also.
I loved the concept of yōkais, especially animal wives. ANimal wives are yōkai women who lure men with their beauty, and after marrying them, they steal the men’s fortunes and (sometimes) slaughter them in their beds.
A weapon tempts violence, courts bloodshed. Once you’ve beckoned death, you cannot unbeckon it.
I detected a whiff of a love triangle between Akira and Mari and the prince, but it was anything but. There is what seems like a budding romance between the prince and Mari, but it felt too fake and rushed. Besides, Mari’s relationships, we saw something very crucial in the background, and that was the yōkai rebellion. I would have loved to see the uprising play a significant role in the book.
I also liked Akira, perhaps more than Taro. He was an outcast and struggled in his own skin. His love for Mari led him to join the rebellion, but soon, he gained his own identity.
Overall, this is a good Japanese folklore inspired fantasy book. However, it did leave me thinking that the story should have written differently.
Verdict: 3½ out of 5 stars for Empress Of All Seasons.
Author: Visit http://emikojean.com/ to learn more about the author
- Publisher: Gollancz (Orion Publishing Group)
- Publication Date: 8th November 2018
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**Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and author for providing me with an ARC.
Let me know if you’ll pick up the book after reading the review. If you have already read it, leave your thoughts in the comments below!