Published by Gollancz on November 6, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
Format: E-Arc, Paperback
Source: Fairyloot, Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.
Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.
Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren't hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.
Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.
You know a book is going to be popular when you receive several copies from different sources. Luckily Empress of all Seasons lived and surpassed my expectations.
I feel like I’ve read a lot of books based on Japanese mythology and each and every single one has got better and better. Empress of all Seasons will immerse you in that world and drag you into the battle of humans vs yokai. Basically this is a bloody battle to win a prince’s hand by competing in four magical seasonal rooms where not everyone makes it out alive.
Mari is a yokai, and part of the animal wives clan. All her life she has been surrounded by beautiful women, who ensnare rich men for their husbands. Now Mari, the outcast of the group has the biggest prize to catch – the hand of the crown prince.
Taro is her target- the crown prince and emperor in waiting. A disappointment to his father and someone who eludes a cold exterior. Someone more interested in making things than being in control like his cruel father. One thing about Taro is that I loved him but towards the end I felt like he was slightly unbelievable. I wish that he had been portrayed better, as I feel like he was delivered a cruel blow.
There is also Akira – The Son of Nightmares and Hanako – Weapons Master. Both have significant roles in the story and are determined to stop the enslavement of the yokai.
This was an enthralling read and had me gripped. I loved the story of the yokai and the introduction of different clans. I honestly cannot wait to see what Emiko brings next to the book world.