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.


THINGS TO EXPECT
➸ 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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