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The Beast Player

(The Beast Player #1-2)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  320 ratings  ·  89 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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Henry Holt & Company (first published November 21st 2006)
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Becky B There are four books in the original Japanese series.
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  320 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Rebecca Boylan
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cora Tea Party Princess
Readathon read!

Review to come.
Jay G
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel:

*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
"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
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!
♠️ Tabi ♠️
Mar 27, 2019 marked it as to-read
oof yes please give me all the Japanese-inspired YA always
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
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
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.
Marika Lövström
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: utmaning2019
En bok riktad mot barn och tonåringar. Mycket välskriven och snyggt berättad.
Seriously, sooo good!
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
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
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
I am in awe of this incredible book, & to know this is just the start of a series makes me want to weep with joy. Uehashi has created such an incredible world & story, that I no longer have any need of the real world. I have no more words, this book was perfect.

This is now sharing the place of my favourite book with Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott.

I was sent a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Trigger Warnings: this book contains mild gore & racism directed at fic
Najwa Warraich
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved how beautiful this book was. It was super atmospheric, well-written and a book that shows the beauty of animals. I cried, I laughed and I fangirled reading this. One thing I loved about it was how descriptive it was with the usage of minimal language. It wasn't overly descriptive and attempting to write in this flowery way. Another thing I loved was seeing the relationship between the different characters and also the relationship between Leelan and Elin. As someone who also has a ...more
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the story and the characters, I thought their motives were very human. I loved the commentary about the choices that we are forced to make and the choices we make for others. I really wish this book was more popular in the book community and in regards to BookTube :)
Azura Chan
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-book
It was a tremendous fantasy tale. I was so mesmerised on how beautifully it was written. This story can be read from all ages. I thanked my friend for the recommendation and giving me this book. It was a worthy to stay up late reading this book.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
What a beautiful journey this was 😭😭😭😭😭😭❤❤❤❤❤❤ ...more
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
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
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
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cover-beauties, shelf
Leelan, I just wanted to know. That's all I ever wanted... 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.

It's such a beautiful book. Smart and well written, but above all beautiful.
I didn't love it like I thought I would - the first part (some 200 pages) was so lovely I couldn't put it down. The second part, however, proved much slower and I lost all the hype I had for this book. Still, it was a
This is a long and layered fantasy novel, with a worthy heroine who suffers a great deal of personal loss, but always puts others first.

Elin becomes entangled in her country's political unrest, and it is only by acting without regard for her own safety that she triumphs. It's a strong narrative, if somewhat dragged by repetition and detail.

It's also translated,which can sometimes be an issue, but I was caught up in this Ancient Japanese fabled land and engaged with the characters.
Kyra (Blog of a Bookaholic)
As I was browsing my library’s YA shelves, my eyes were drawn to a brand-new addition to the shelves that had gorgeous, colourful cover. Never having heard of the title before (which is rare thanks to all the exposure titles are given in the book blogging community), I picked it up and was immediately intrigued. I read the first couple of pages and knew I needed to read the rest of this book. The Beast Player is a unique, sentimental, richly layered fantasy novel celebrating its Japanese heritag ...more
Mandie Welling
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First Impressions: I’m always a little bit nervous when I decide to read a book that was translated from a different language into English. Let’s face the fact that the books have a 50/50 chance of being well-translated. I think this goes for any translated book around the globe. You have to have the right translator or the writing just feels totally…off. With that said, I was hesitant to read this book, but damn, that cover! It’s gorgeous. In the Japanese versions, this is the first of four boo ...more
The beast player comes from the Japanese manga series "Kemono no Sōja".

This was my first introduction to Japanese fantasy and boy...

What a beautiful book! I really loved Elin's character. She reminded me a bit of Hermione. She's a bit of a know it all sometimes but in a very pleasant way. Esalu, the headmistress, reminded me a bit of Minerva McGonagall. They are both strict but they but have the same good intention.

The so-called Royal Beasts in this book was very magical. You could see them per
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,5 stars!
This was such a beautiful, adventurous and cute story. I loved reading it.
Feb 24, 2018 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts  ·  review of another edition
Fearsome water serpents as beloved beasts. Ugh, this sounds so good
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, japan, favorites
Tired of every YA fantasy novel reading like the same book over and over? Me too. Tired of crappy instalove plots? Me too. If so, I cannot recommend The Beast Player enough. This book is a translated work of YA fantasy from Japan, and it is beautifully translated with rich world-building, complex characterization, intriguing politics, and thought provoking themes about the coexistence of humanity and animals. I loved it. There is no romance here, just the growth of a strong, intelligent female c ...more
Katie Haley
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No matter what they say, I refuse to bind her with the Law.

This book was enthralling. I feel so lucky to have picked this book up on a whim and it has left me feeling that yes, you can indeed judge a book by its cover!

But seriously, that cover art though!

Uehashi does a beautiful job writing characters that feel genuine to real life. Girl who loses two beloved adult figures? Yes, she is able to move on, be strong, and make her own choices, but yes, it does pop into her head often and she does ge
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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 (4 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
“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.” 2 likes
“The knowledge we teach is simply the truth as we know it at a particular time. What we believe to be true now may be exposed as error through the discoveries of succeeding generations. That’s how human knowledge has been renewed throughout the ages. Remind your students of this every chance you get. “A good teacher is not one who never doubts, but rather one who strives to keep on learning despite the doubts in her mind. At least, that’s what I think.” 1 likes
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