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Spirit's Princess

(Spirit's Princess #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  796 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Himiko the beloved daughter of a chieftain in third century Japan has always been special. The day she was born there was a devastating earthquake, and the tribe's shamaness had an amazing vision revealing the young girl's future—one day this privileged child will be the spiritual and tribal leader over all of the tribes. Book One revolves around the events of Himiko's ear ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  796 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Sep 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Actual Review: This is going to be very long and probably will delve into being overly detailed and lecture-y at some points so bear with me on that point.

(If you are coming here to troll my review because children's books are for children and therefore they shouldn't be factually accurate and held to the same standards, go screw yourself! Instead of blabbing your crap on my review space write your own damn review and satisfy your misinformed needs instead!)

You have no idea how much this book in
usagi ☆ミ
I grit my teeth and got through about 60 pages before I threw in the towel. Here's where I was more or less screaming "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG" at the book:

1. Setting: The period in which this is set (mid-Yayoi Era - 300BCE to 300CE) has the land that Himiko/Pimiko (if she existed) known as the kingdom of Wa (Chinese) or Yamataikoku (precursor to the Yamato nation, which was precursor to the various States that became the Warring States, which was precursor to a reunified Japan under the Shogunate
Eustacia Tan
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Since I'm now living in Japan, I'm especially interested books about it - fiction, non-fiction, anything can get my interest. So when I saw the blurb of "Spirit's Princess" on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it. And I wasn't disappointed at all.

Spirit's Princess is the fictionalised account of the mythological figure Queen Himiko, who was supposed to have ruled over the Yayoi (ancient Japanese). The book (book 1) follows her early years, from growing up to her Shaman training and her struggle t
I really loved this book very much I can't wait to read the next one.I loved the characters very much especially the main character Himiko she is so very interesting with her trying to break beyond her boundaries I also liked the Japanese culture I saw in it. I liked the story very much it was well written and so very well developed. The story of Himiko and how she navigates her life with her clan and all the things that happen makes it so very interesting. So overall I loved this book it was we ...more
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an epic tale about the life of Himiko, a young tribal princess in ancient Japan. The character actually did live, but obviously, her story presented here is total fiction. Still, it is interesting to me to take a historical person many of us have never heard of and make her come to life.

This story is also not one of on the edge of your seat adventure as we often get with YA that has magic within. It's more about how Himiko finds herself. How she grows and finds who she really is inside.
Himiko (the protagonist) is a Japanese historical figure but the author definitely takes a lot of liberty in this story since there is not a lot know about Himiko. I liked the premis of the story but felt the book could have lost a hundred or more pages. Just drug on in parts. When it started to really get interesting it ended (lined up for the next book). I don't know if I will read the next in the series. It was fun to learn a little about ancient Japanese culture though!
♠️ TABI ♠️
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
So this was a bit of a spectacular letdown . . .


While the blurb and cover teases a fast-paced, tight arc of a story about a princess with supernatural abilities, the reality is so, so, so, sooooo boring!! Sure, I guess the writing is pretty enough, but there just seemed to be a true spark missing from this book. That's what kept it from being something I could really enjoy. Everything just sort of happens, what is meant to be tense and dramatic comes off as super bland, the characters are sooooo
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Ehh. I've tried to set aside the anachronism that has come to be inevitable in this author's Princess books. The girls think a lot like modern-day girls, but I cut these books some slack because they're YA.

I'm sorry, but Himiko just comes across as an unlikeable brat.
Kathy Russo
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
First off…I have two ratings for this books, as such this review will be divided into two sections.

The “official” rating, in which I took into account the novel as a reader that did not know any history or background on the subject matter; and then the rating from a history-buff’s POV.

Official rating: 3.5/5 stars
History-Buff rating: 1.5/5 stars

Freisner’s previous books have all been a joy to read, albeit some historical mistakes, but nevertheless enjoyable. Spirit’s Princess is in the same boat
J. Else
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The rating is poor because of the ending!

I was getting into it! First off, Friesner has beautiful descriptions of the landscape -- the sun, the forests, the seasons, etc. Everything about life is made more beautiful in her writing.

I like the character development as Himiko struggled with doubt and eventual discovery with her belief in the spiritual, but the book lacked a clear direction in its first half. As a reader, you can't understand the significance of all this because it doesn't feel like
Apr 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
Honestly, I was at the library and I thought the cover was funny so I read it.

This is a ridiculously stupid story of a horrendously stupid girl who happened to live in Japan a long, long time ago. First off- that wasn't a proper ending. Yeah, some one I care about dies and my family is captured by my long-ago enemy, but hey! I've got the power of the spirits! Who needs friends and family, anyways?

I also read the thing in the back talking about the historical Himiko. She sounded a lot like Lady T
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it
In Spirit’s Princess, Esther Friesner expands her Princess Of Myth series to include the Japanese mythos on shaman queen Himiko. Unlike prior princesses, this new princess and time period may not be as well-known to readers – and, for me, this is most likely the reason why I found Spirit’s Princess both interesting and frustrating. Himiko is an admirable young woman who tries to break away from family expectations and cultural traditions, wanting first to be a hunter and then a shaman. However, ...more
Rachel Robins
Apr 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Well, if you expect historical fiction with an accurate portrayal of early Japanese life and culture....this book is not for you. I didn't get into the book until about 1/3 of the way through. I had a hard time caring about the character. I also had to make myself detach from my expectations of a historical feast.

That being said, many of you know I'm on the hunt for appropriate, good books to add to my 7th grade shelf and I'm just controlling enough that I want to read EVERY book before I offer
Hannah Cobb
Dec 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Himiko, born in third century Japan, has always wanted a life she can't have. First she wants to be a great hunter like her brother, Aki. Then she discovers her calling as a shaman. But tradition and family prejudices stand in her way no matter what path she takes. As she grows up, Himiko learns the importance of selfless choices, and becomes a strong and independent young woman. As usual, Esther Friesner has delved deep into a past few readers are familiar with, creating a rich historical world ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: left-to-right
I got bored with the book because it didn't really have a plot but more of a memoir-feel, which began to drag. I liked how the relationships between Himiko and Aki were portrayed but I don't think the dynamics between characters were accurate, historically speaking.
Ha.Ha.Ha. No.

Jenna Jakubowski
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love this book!!!
Leah Markum
Spirit's Princess is the first of Friesner's Princesses of Myths I've read, and I chose it over the other options at the library because I haven't read a fictional book based in Japan in ages. Shortly after checking this out I came to GoodReads to add it as a current read and glimpse at the reviews. I have to say, after completing this book, I'm interested in addressing some of the common critiques that made me nervous about this series. First, though, I will share my thoughts on the story and n ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I will admit it was a long read, but the great story line and history behind it made that a small thing.
Amanda Walz
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: around-the-world, ya
I really liked this book. I found the main character to be very strong and a survivor.
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Cover Blurb: I liked the other covers for the Author’s books because you didn’t get to see the people full-on, leaving one’s own imagination to imagine what Helen of Troy or Nefertiti looked like. While I like the style of this one, I don’t like that you can see Himiko full-on.

What I Liked: The storyline was intriguing, exciting, and dramatic. Himiko starts out as a little brat, but as the story progresses she improves, and when the book ends she is a strong, sensible, and likable heroine. I lov
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
WOWWWW This is book is terrible. The ending was terrible. Actually I knew it was probably not going to be an awesome,amazing because of the cover. Most of the time, when people have a really elaborate made-up model on the book, it's kind of a ploy to get you to pick it up. NOPE, not good. It's an okay book, but not really something I'd recommend because apparently, the historical facts aren't even accurate. This is more of a spun tale before the real Himiko's ruling and stuff.

Now the reasons it
Jami Lowe
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A breath of fresh air.

Could have done differently –
1. There are a couple of instant loves, those ‘I-can’t-live-or-love-without-you-and-I-just-glanced-upon-you’ scenes. Stupid, if I wanted one of those I’d watch a Disney Princess movie and I don’t have them in the house. However, it is a short scene and it doesn’t involve Himiko and is over shadowed by the fact that it actually serves a purpose, benefiting Himiko.
2. Four hundred and fifty pages and No one told me this was TO BE CONTIUNED!! Thank
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
To see this post in context, visit:

I have read all of Esther Friesner's Princesses of Myth stories, whether they were about Helen of Troy or Nefertiti, and have enjoyed all of them. I definitely have enjoyed Nefertiti's story the best because Friesner exposed us to Egypt, a world that clearly isn't eurocentric, and I found this very refreshing. Typically I do not go for the books that have an Asian setting or something of the like, but ever since reading Eon a
Sharon Tyler
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Spirit's Princess by Esther Friesner is the first book in a young adult series. Himiko is the only daughter of the chieftain in third century Japan. She has always been a little different, and very special. On the day of her birth there was an earthquake, and she has continued to defy expectations ever since. Himiko begins by desiring to be a hunter like her beloved brother, but her attempt to prove herself dashes that dream. After a series of adventures Hikimo discovers her true path, and the d ...more
Wandering Librarians
In third century Japan, Himiko is the only daughter of the chief of her tribe. Himiko is destine for greatness and has a strong connection with the spirit world. Her father, however, wants his daughter married and having children. Himiko struggles with being the perfect daughter and following her heart.

This book went on forever and then some. It took me a long time to get though because I kept getting bored. I think there could have been some serious editing done and the story wouldn't have lost
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Himiko is a member of the Matsu clan - the Pine people. As the Chieftain's only daughter, Himiko is special and expected to follow a certain path. However, Himiko has plans of her own. Growing up with plenty of brothers and no female friends, Himiko decides that she wants to be a hunter. In a daring feat to prove to her oldest and dearest brother, Aki, that she can be as strong as her brothers, Himiko climbs the tallest tree in her village. The spirits that guide and protect her people have othe ...more
I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book although I knew that it was based on a real-life historical figure, known as Himiko, in ancient Japan. That is not a time period I am familiar with so that meant that everything would be new to me.

Now I don't know if it was because of how new everything was or what the reason might be, but I really struggled to read this book. That would be mostly because of the characters. I could not get a feel for the young Himiko and none of the other charac
Sep 16, 2015 marked it as books-i-gave-up-on-dnf
Recommended to Kereesa by: Stephanie Furrow
Dear Mrs. Friesner,

I tried. I really, really did.

I read Nobody's Princess about 5 or 6 years ago and absolutely...

Hated it.

But a coworker at the library really loves your work and suggested I try you again.

And I thought, hey, you know I did retry Robin McKinley and Unearthly this year and really, really loved them in comparison to the first time around, why not Friesner?

After all, your books are tempting. Pretty covers, historical components, badass female heroines. I really should be into tha
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this story. I think that Esther M. Friesner has made me a fan of her writing. I really enjoyed the story it kept me guessing as to what would happen and I love how some of the information was not told to the main character and it made her guess herself after she found out about it.
Himiko, I think is one of my favorite characters to read about. She is someone that knows what she wants and goes for it. I love that about her. I think that that is also what saves her. I love her natur
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Esther M. Friesner was educated at Vassar College, where she completed B.A's in both Spanish and Drama. She went to on to Yale University; within five years she was awarded an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish. She taught Spanish at Yale for a number of years before going on to become a full-time author of fantasy and science fiction. She has published twenty-seven novels so far; her most recent titles in ...more

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Spirit's Princess (2 books)
  • Spirit's Chosen (Spirit's Princess, #2)