Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (A Review)

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Genre: Ya, Fantasy.
Year Of Publication:  November 8th 2018.
Publisher: Gollancz.
Pages: Paperback, 384 pages.
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Empress of All Seasons, is an own voice story by inspired Japanese mythology. Its set in a fantasy world where yōkai, magical creatures, have been enslaved by humans. Each generation in Honoku, a competition is held to find the next empress, the contestants have to survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. And of course its not open to yōkai.

Mari, one of our main characters is a yōkai, an animal wife. She has trained all her life to become Empress. It the most dangerous thing she has to do  because she would also be hiding a dangerous secret. Because if discovered, her life will be forfeit. There is Taro, is the crown prince who has cold shell on the outside but on the inside is a soft smol bean. And the third person to this triangle was Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

I was pretty excited for this book, but sadly most things felt apart in this one.

The characters well most of them were pretty what-the-heck. Taro being all nice and soft at the start by the end becomes an entitled, freak. HOW ABOUT NO? Akira, being the tropey friend zoned of the triangle, in plain tropey fashion couldn’t take no for an answer………….. SIGH!  Maro, was the biggest asset of this story. She was badass, stood up for what she believed in was nice and courageous.

The pacing and plot of this story is a little off! Nothing happens in the first 100+ pages. It takes forever for the world building to happen… And than the competition, the biggest theme in this books literally goes by so quickly? Each season is done in just on chapter and we don’t even get to know much about its dynamics and depth of it? And it doesn’t even look hard, just basic shit like survive a hot hot hot room so eh? It called Empress of All Seasons and it fails to deliver on that……….. And than the only BOOM effect thing happens in the last 50 pages… So yeah pretty erratic, if i must say so.

The romance of the book was also disappointing. Full of tropes; it has a triangle, an insta-love, a friend zoned talking no for an answer character.. So yeah you get it?

Okay so this big is big on feminism, which most of it i was all in for! “Not every happily-ever-after includes a man.” Because yes girl power but also i didn’t stand for some of it. How animal wives used men , to just marry them, get pregnant and steal their fortune because apparently no man could love someone like them. Discarding of all the male offspring’s? It just didn’t sit well with me.

What was the most interesting thing to me about this book was the Japanese mythology elements. They had so much potential and very so unique but i don’t think they were utilized or explored fully because that’s a shame..

The book ends with a bang. It has a pretty rebellious and insurrectionary ending that leaves you with a wow..

All in all this book was pretty underwhelming for and that makes me sad. But i believe this still will appeal to a lot of readers. Its diverse and has a very unique concept.

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