C.G. Drews's Reviews > Empress of All Seasons

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
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bookshelves: epic-fantasy, read-2018, young-adult

This is the kind of story with a world that will totally swallow you whole. In the best possible way! I love it when books promise epic and deliciously complex settings and then deliver. Like, tHANK YOU, I have been waiting to be totally captivated by a story world! This is also based on Japanese mythology and totally immerses you in the world with Japanese legends, weapons, food (um yeah thanks for that I’m hungry) and settings.

➸ Mari being epic with her naginata sword and sighing about men in the first chapter.
➸ humans vs yōkai monsters
➸ a contest to win the prince’s hand and also the empire if you survive the trials in 4 magical season-themed rooms of DEATH
➸ very soft™ but lonely prince who likes mechanical things
➸ halfblood yōkai who is all scars and would do anything for Mari
➸ epic woman everywhere, like did you see one?? there is another. two more over there. LOOK AT THEM FLOURISH.
➸ exquisitely detailed illustrious palace
➸ the humans enslaving the yōkai and how this is going to go bad
➸ fighting! plots! rebellion! betrayals!

It has three narrators: Mari, Taro and Akira.
I really definitely liked Mari’s above the boys’, mostly because she was so complex and interesting! She’s an Animal Wife, a type of yōkai who basically woos men into marriage and then runs off with their fortune, which tbh is the best idea I’ve heard of all day. But she’s actually a FIGHTER. And because her family thinks she’s not pretty enough (she’s very smol, muscly and round, instead of super pretty/slim) she gets to enter the contest to win the princes’ hand because it won’t rely on looks. Just her stabbing things. Excellent.

I just found her so excellent. She sighs at men. She’s tired of people telling her she’s not conventionally pretty. She’s badass but enjoys being feminine. Her #1 love is her freaky family. I mean !!! this girl !!!

Then we have…

TARO, the prince: Look. I enjoyed that he was this big badass looking guy but in reality he was soft and liked making mechanical birds. BUT. He was still super entitled and I didn’t like him. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Couldn’t ship it either. I mean they knew each other for like a week and he’s like “SHE COMPLETES ME” because she hit him in the face.
AKIRA, halfblood yōkai: I liked him because he was all scarred and noble. Buuut like he couldn’t take a no. Mari said “ya no” to a relationship but he STILL followed her around, determined to protect her and wait for her love and I just…hmm.
The males in this book. Why tho.
ASAMI, contestant: Ok she and Mari team up and tHEY ARE EPIC TOGETHER. Can’t say much for spoilers!! But loved Asami!!
HANAKO, weapons master: She basically heads up the yōkai resistance bless her and her idea she can just snark everyone into obeying her. She’s pretty creepy and therefore awesome. She has 0% time for Akira’s loyal puppy-dog act and just puts him to work and wE STAN A WOMAN WHO WANTS TO FREE THE WORLD.
The emperor: Honestly? I’ve met Vegemite that was more logical than he was. As much as I love the setting/premise, why was his idea of finding a wife for his son like “Hey who can survive finding a scroll in the middle of a summer room that’ll roast your face off!! You are empress material!!!” I mean. Mate. You’ve got serious hate issues for the yōkai also. But aside from that: who thought this plan thru.

I do admit I found it slow paced. It’s a fantasy that takes time to build the world, which I appreciate! But it took 100pgs to get started and then in 100pgs the whole bulk of the plot was over and I just???? We took so long to get here and then we rush through it?!

I loved the magic of having four rooms in the palace that contained whole worlds in them where the seasons and elements were super vicious. LIKE HOW COOL. And I loved the twist of girls winning the boy’s hand in marriage for once! But I didn’t quite understand the point of it all. Except…dramatics? But I mean, I appreciate dramatics. So.

This is definitely the kind of diverse epic fantasy we need more of and I totally recommend it!
It wasn’t quite perfect for me, but subjectivity always arises there. I just prefer more balanced pacing, but it was lush and exciting and Mari was a gem.
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Reading Progress

April 4, 2018 – Shelved
April 4, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
September 23, 2018 – Started Reading
September 23, 2018 –
page 100
26.04% "the world = amazing
the plot = still waiting for it to, um, start"
September 23, 2018 –
page 200
52.08% "Mari: [rolls eyes] ugh men
Taro: but i'm different!
Taro: [massaging her shoulders] better??
Mari: no you're terrible at this
Mari: ugh men"
September 24, 2018 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
September 24, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
September 24, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 24, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Kat // Novels & Waffles SQUEEEEEEE. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONEEEEEEEEE!!! I am seriously counting down the days until it's in my hands.

message 2: by Cora (new) - added it

Cora Tea Party Princess Gosh I am so excited for this!

message 3: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie Maddox I didn't know I needed this until I saw it. Now I'm in love. Thanks for the awesome review!

message 4: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Walker Why no more stars?!??! I love them so much, and rely on them too 😭

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