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The Beast Player

(The Beast Player #1-2)

by
4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,559 ratings  ·  380 reviews
In epic YA fantasy about a girl with a special power to communicate with magical beasts and the warring kingdom only she can save.

Elin's family has an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom's army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin's mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breat
...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Henry Holt & Company (first published 2006)
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Scot Eaton The original Japanese series had 4 volumes, released on 2 different dates. Japanese publishers often will split a single book into multiple volumes so…moreThe original Japanese series had 4 volumes, released on 2 different dates. Japanese publishers often will split a single book into multiple volumes so that they're easier to carry around and read. Most Japanese readers commute on trains, and this accommodates that lifestyle. It also increases revenue. So volumes 1-2 are in fact 1 book, which was released as "The Beast Player". Volumes 3-4 will be the second and final book, which the publisher is planning to release sometime in 2021.(less)
Scot Eaton Yes. I emailed MacMillan Publishing, and the second book, which covers volumes 3-4 of the original Japanese printing, is slated for a 2021 release.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
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Spencer Orey
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really cool Japanese YA fantasy about a society built around two kinds of magical creatures. Perfect for anyone who loves animals or likes thinking about the place of animals in our lives.

The first 30 pages are endless drama drama drama that made this seem like a high stakes but kind of generic YA fantasy. I almost stopped reading.

Then it pivoted into a brilliant book about how humans relate to animals. There's wonderful soaring writing about wild animals and animals in captivity and how caring
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Becca & The Books
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I really can't convey how breathtakingly beautiful this story is.

This follows a young girl from the age of 10 to 18 as she learns about a world she spent most of her life sheltered from and the beasts who inhabit it.

If you love Studio Ghibli, you will love this book.
If you want a culturally rich young adult fantasy, ripe with Japanese mythology, you will love this book.
If you love animals, you will love this book.
Hannah Greendale
DNF at page 20.

Clenched fists. Expositional dialogue. Hazy worldbuilding. Pass.
megs_bookrack
Part of my never-ending quest to catch up on backlist ARCs!!!



I'm stoked to get into this one. An English translation of the sequel is set to release on July 28th! Hopefully I can get to this before then.

Thank you to the publisher, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), for providing me with a copy to read and review!!!
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Rachel
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thing that all creatures share in is not love. It is fear.

This is one of those books that broke all the "rules" and somehow made magic. For a fantasy novel, it is more character-based than your usual sword and dragon novel. Beast Player begins with a prologue that I don't think was really a prologue. I have certain expectations for prologue: that it will divulge pertinent world-building or take place years before the actual story events, or it will feature a narrator who only appears in the
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Jaanaki
"The Beast Player", by Nahoko Uehashi is a fantasy tale ,translated from the Japanese version with a very different kind of world building and storyline also.The original was titled "Kimona No Soja " and published as four volumes from 2006 to 2009.The series was so popular that it has been adapted into a Manga version and also an anime series on Japanese Television
Nahoko Uehashi ,is in fact a famous teen fiction writer in Japan and is also famous for the "Moriboto " series of books.
This is a wor
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Tatiana
For those who like to read about animals and/or dragons.
__________
Printz Honor 2020

Never heard of it, but down to try.
Jay G
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

In this world, giant water serpents called Toda are trained to fight in the royal army and protect the country's border. The defending kingdom is protected by giant bird like creatures they call the Royal Beasts. Neither country realizes the suffering they cause these animals. A young girl named Elin is orphaned
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Kaya
oh my gosh.
I seriously need to read more tranlated books. This was translated from the Japanese, and I think the translator did a truly excellent job because I never really had any comprehension issues while listening. Also a shoutout to the narrator, because her audio performance was fantastic!


Okay okay. The first 30 or so pages left me terrified*. There was no worldbuilding, I had no idea what was going on*, and I wasn’t accustomed to the writing yet. However, this quickly unfolded into one of
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Femke (booksfemme)
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
100% a new all time favourite. will review properly later!
Amal
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bipoc, children-s
4 stars

As a disclaimer, my love for this story is likely biased. Its adaptation is one of my favourite things in the world, so I'm sure that affects my opinion. Saying that - I do prefer the animation over this novel, despite the anime's low budget & recycled sequences.

What I liked;
- Erin/Elin; I love her with my whole heart, and watching her from childhood to adulthood is an incredible experience. She's so compassionate, intelligent, and her respect & love for beasts are unconditional. Sh
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Kim
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Tears are the soup of sorrow. The more tears you shed, the more they will wash away your grief. Eventually you'll be able to forget what caused you so much pain."

The Beast Player is an extraordinary tale that follows a young girl named Elin who has the uncanny ability to work with animals that have been deemed dangerous and un-tameable. We first meet her at a very young age at a pivotal moment in her life. Her mother has been sentenced to death after losing a herd of Toda (giant worm like thing

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Anca
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an epic Japanese fantasy about a girl who doesn't quite fit in.
Her adventure starts, when she discovers her mother has a special ability and can communicate with animals.

I'm so conflicted about this book.
On the one hand, it was very unique, with well developed characters, a gripping plotline and the writing was beautiful.

On the other hand, the info dumping really bugged me...
I understand that it was all extremely relevant information, but it just didn't hold my attention.

And the fact th
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Ashley
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars

So, basically, I am a sucker for everything this novel is. The last page or two, I was absolutely bawling my eyes out.

This is a truly unique and must read for all.

I am in awe of this book. True awe. I love the main character, Elin;
her Beast, Leelan (in truth, I am enamored with her);
& their relationship, their bond
,with all of my heart.

What an INCREDIBLE story. It has it all, for me.

RTC
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Allison Tebo
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, buy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Blodeuedd Finland
I enjoyed this one. Wow, was it actually almost 15 hours? It did not feel like that, I listened to it really quickly.

It follows Elin, whose mother is killed at the beginning when the serpents under her care die. (yes aholes much!) The rest of Elin's family is nothing to have and she is sent away.

There was a lot of bee talk. Complicated creatures. But I liked it, Elin is 10 and she needed something stable. I liked her time there. Will say no more.

Then there is a school and beasts. This country us
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Jaded Reader
4.5*
Review to come!
Rhea
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
4.75 Stars for reasons I’ll get into.

Okay, things to know. My brother, who is pretty good at Japanese (not just saying, he passed the top JLPT, so it’s kinda hard to test him further) read the first volume of this, has the second, and watched the anime of this (I think it’s under the title “Beast Player Erin”), so he knows the basic plot when I discussed it with him. This appears to be the complete story and not just volume 1 of the first book of the Japanese volumes. At the very least, it’s the
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Viv JM
I really enjoyed this YA epic fantasy. Maybe not that ground breaking, but an immersive read with an interesting female lead. Just what I was in the mood for and I look forward to further installments.
Tabi⁷ (ᕗツ)ᕗ
Mar 27, 2019 marked it as to-read
oof yes please give me all the Japanese-inspired YA always
Caylynn
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nope. Not a fan. Gonna stew in my disappointment and appalled thoughts for a few hours before writing my review.
Margaret
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Originally, The Beast Player was published in Japan under 4 volumes. This version is a single volume, and while I enjoyed the first two thirds or so, the ending happens suddenly and the tone dramatically shifts. The first parts are a heartwarming veterinary fantasy. I don't know why there aren't more veterinary fantasy! Elin loves animals, and observing nature, and is eventually accepted into a prestigious veterinary school to take care of fantasy animals. I'm pretty sure everyone loves fantasy ...more
Ophelia.Desdemona
Seriously, sooo good!
Lucy-May
Second Read Review: 17th to 22nd August 2020 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I loved this book so much the first time I read it that I had no choice but to reread it when I finally got the sequel in my hands - however, I was scared that the story wouldn’t live up to my memory of it & that it would disappoint me. Thankfully, I was so wrong. This story is incredible & I have no other way to describe it; from the very beginning I was overjoyed to be re-experiencing this incredible tale & knowing I have the chonky sequel
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Taiylor Mundy
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an absolutely gorgeous story... So creative and filled with heart. I loved it.
Dave
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing


Beautiful.

Bittersweet.

Sparse, yet lyrical prose evoking powerful emotions. I only regret that I am incapable of reading the story in its original language.

An atypical fantasy. Very little of swords and sorcery.

But the characters...Elin, Joeun, Ialu, and Leelan...

I suppose they could be considered fantasy tropes or archetypes or staples...the special orphan, the wise and gentle mentor, the brave and self-sacrificing yet reluctant warrior and the sympathetic beast...but the author and translator c
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Stephen
I have to strongly recommend this book to everyone--but only for selfish reasons. This is the first book in a finished tetralogy, but the only book so far that has been translated into English. I'd previously read two books in the author's Moribito series (Only 2 of the 10 books in that series were translated before the translation effort stopped or at least stalled). Unlike that series, this book doesn't stand alone well. Frankly, most of the book is slow paced set up for events that begin to u ...more
KatiEllen
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
You can see my full non spoiler review on BookTube

I stood on the edge of that abyss between man and beast and played my harp for you, checking each note, one by one, to see if it would reach you.

The Beast Player is the story of Elin and her bond with Beasts. For years the law between man and Beasts is simple, they will never be loyal to us, they will never be tamed, they will always be wild.

This book went completely in a different direction to where I thought it would go, I expected the typical
...more
itsnikhat
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once you’re past the YA age range, it gets tougher and tougher to enjoy books set in that genre. As someone who grew up reading YA fantasy and dystopian novels, it’s very close to my heart. And I was especially happy that The Beast Player helped me remember the feeling again.

The Beast Player is a story about how young Elin gets involved in the caring of the Royal Beasts after the execution of her mother in a horrific manner. The story is told through points of views of multiple characters, consi
...more
Tzu-Mainn Chen
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had difficulties getting into "The Beast Player" at first. The prologue read like a Generic Tragic Origin Story, detailing the horrible circumstances under which our future protagonist comes to be orphaned.

Then you get fifty pages about beekeeping. And I fell in love with the story of the growth of a remarkable child, curious and quiet and determined as she embraces her kinship with animals. As she grows to adulthood, this kinship is noted by nefarious players in a burgeoning civil war, and "T
...more
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Nahoko Uehashi is the author of ten books in the Moribito series, which have sold more than a million copies and won many major literary awards in her native Japan. An associate professor at a Japanese university, she has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and studies indigenous peoples in Australia. She lives near Tokyo, Japan.

Other books in the series

The Beast Player (5 books)
  • 獣の奏者 1 闘蛇編
  • 獣の奏者 2 王獣編
  • 獣の奏者 3 探求編
  • 獣の奏者 4 完結編
  • 獣の奏者 外伝 刹那

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