Title: Empress of All Seasons
Author: Emiko Jean
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: November 6, 2018
In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.
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.
I really wanted to read this book because I haven’t read a lot of Asian-inspired fantasy books, and I think this was a good start!
I loved how this book showed a bit of the Japanese culture and had great characters to complete an amazing story!
The story focused on 3 characters: Mari, Akira, and Taro. Mari, an Animal Wife/yokai, which her mother led her to believe that nobody can ever love her. She was tasked to be a great fighter in order to be the Empress and steal the Emperor’s fortune. She has Akira as her best friend, a half-human and half-yokai, which also had a painful past. Taro is the Emperor’s son who’s not as cold as everyone thinks.
The story kind of reminded me of the Hunger Games, but this time the prize was to be Taro’s wife/the Empress. The tasks and challenges were interesting, and I wished there were more details that were included in the story, but nevertheless, I enjoyed reading that part of the book.
The romance part was very subtle and that’s what I liked about this book as well. The love triangle trope in this book was tolerable for me, and I even found myself rooting for Akira instead of the obvious love interest of Mari, which is Taro.
Another thing that I loved about this book is how it didn’t go for the usual beautiful hero, but instead it focused on such a strong and fierce female MC. Mari showed that true beauty is not about the physical attributes, but it is about the heart of a person.
Overall, this was truly a fun, fast-paced, and unputdownable read.
“Freedom. That is what I want. A life without obligation, without expectation.”
“I want to be brave. I want to be worthy of love. I want to live in the light.”
“I believe everything in life that is worth anything is people–those you love and those who love you.”
“Do not let your fear decide your fate.”
“This is true freedom, to love oneself enough not to care what others think.”
Soundtrack: Let The Flames Begin by Paramore
Buy Links: Goodreads || Amazon || Kobo || Book Depository
What are your favorite Asian Fantasy books? Let me know in the comments!
About the Author:
When Emiko is not writing, she is reading. Most of her friends are imaginary. Before she became a writer she was an entomologist (fancy name for bug catcher), a candle maker, a florist, and most recently a teacher. She lives in Washington with her husband and children (unruly twins). She loves the rain.
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