ASIAN-INSPIRED, OWN-VOICE YA FANTASY! ~ Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Review

Empress of All SeasonsTITLE: Empress of All Seasons
AUTHOR: Emiko Jean

RELEASED: November 8, 2018
PUBLISHER: Orion Publishing Group
FORMAT: Ebook

GENRE: YA Fantasy
GOODREADS RATING: 3.83

TRIGGERS: body shaming, slavery, systematic oppression, rape, child abuse, parental abandonment, self-injury, childbirth, forced adoption, death, murder, exile, death by starvation, cyclones, poisoning, explosions, fire, animal attack, animal cruelty, animal death, and bullying. [taken from Rachel’s Goodreads-review]

SYNOPSIS
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.

Standaard

The thing that got me to pick up this book is very simple. Empress of All Seasons is a Japanese-inspired young adult fantasy, written by a Japanese author. I absolutely love own voice novels [and reviews for that matter] so I couldn’t resist! I do have to apologize though.. Because this is a ridiculously short review due to one thing and one thing alone: I procrastinated on writing it and.. well.. apparently I suck at writing reviews weeks after reading the book. Lesson learned, I swear.

The good

Apart from the own voice-aspect, I absolutely loved the themes Emiko Jean incorporated in this story. Oppression, struggling with your identity and fighting to prove yourself and your worth are the top three subjects handled. All these things are very recognizable to most of us in one way or another, so that definitely added a bit more to my reading experience.

We are our own worst punishers.

The switching of POV’s between Mari, Akira and Taro not only creates a lot of insight in what’s going on but also speeds up the entire story. The fast pace is definitely one of two elements that kept me invested and lost in Empress of All Seasons. The second one being, without a doubt, the descriptive writing!

I see you. I see all that you are. I see all that you are not. And it is enough. You are enough.
The bad

There’s definitely a downfall to the fast pace though.. Because, to me, it felt as if it led to a lack of growth in Mari’s relationships with the other characters. I liked all the characters, but I missed seeing their connections / relationships / friendships grow and that’s such a pity! Especially since it’s one of those things I truly enjoy in any novel.

I am the only person who decides if I am beautiful or not, if I am worthy or unworthy.

3.5
Overall I did really enjoy reading this novel, but.. Like I said, it’s been a while since I read it and I have to admit it isn’t all that memorable. Guess that’s one benefit to leaving my review so late, huh? Now I can at least make that conclusion.. [You have no clue how guilty I feel about this generic, boring review, folks..]

How often do you come across a book you really like but end up thinking of as “just a book” after a while? Does it make you change your rating sometimes?
What are some own-voice books you absolutely adore?

Nametag

twitterinstagramgoodreadsfacebookbloglovinamazon

All quotes are taken from an unfinished copy and might differ from the finished one.

11 thoughts on “ASIAN-INSPIRED, OWN-VOICE YA FANTASY! ~ Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

    1. That’s definitely true. I do feel guilty sometimes though, since I the biggest reason I forget about books is because I read so many others in between my finished reading of it and writing my review.. So I just know I’m partly the blame as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love this quote – “I see you. I see all that you are. I see all that you are not. And it is enough. You are enough.” Descriptive writing and well written books in general are what I look for in a good book. Honestly, if it has good writing, no matter the flaws a book I read would still gets at least three stars.
    The lack of growth is unfortunate. If it had a sequel maybe that’s why.
    The trigger warnings are a mile long. I don’t think I’ll read it because of that.
    Your rating system is so cute!

    https://shesgotbooksonhermind.blogspot.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? It’s one of the sentences that jumped right at me and pretty much screamed at me to be saved, hah. 🙂

      I’m not sure it’ll have a sequel, to be honest. I tried looking it up but couldn’t really find anything conclusive? I wish I knew for sure because the “faults” could definitely be fixed with a second installment.

      Honestly, I do think there are a lot of TW’s as well, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember them myself anymore. I didn’t highlight anything while reading and I do think some of the triggers are present in a very, very small way but.. yeah.. Since I didn’t remember them myself, I didn’t want to risk not mentioning the ones someone else found. At least people are warned in some way now..

      Thank you! ❤

      Like

    1. No, it’s definitely not just been you! This might sound weird, but if I constantly see 1-star or 2-star reviews for a book, sometimes it piques my interest more, but if I see tons of 3-star “meh” reviews it’s almost a guarantee I won’t read it 😂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.