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.
Title: Empress of All Seasons
Author: Emiko Jean
Published: November 6, 2018
The rules were simple: Survive the Rooms. Conquer the Seasons. Win the Prince.
The story follows Mari. A Yokai who dedicated her whole life training to become an empress. In the city of Honoku, a competition is held in the Palace of Illusions. The rules are simple, survive four of the palace’s enchanted rooms. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Win, and marry the prince. Yokai, supernatural monsters are not allowed to join the competition. When Mari and Taro’s life gets intertwined, the whole fate of Honoku resides in ther hands.
I haven’t read a fantasy book in a while so I had a hard time adjusting and let everything sink in. It took me a few chapters to fully grasp the world and familiarize myself with the terminologies. I also heard Yokai from a cartoon so It was kinda difficult to remove that image in my head and replace it with what book says.
But when I hit chapter 16 I just flew through it. It became so addicting and I just want to read and read and find out what happens next. I loved the Mythology, it really added dimension to the story. Personally. it’s the characters that I fell in love so much. All the characters are so unique and it’s fun to see their different perspectives.
I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, it was so action packed you just want to keep turning the pages so you can find out what happens next. I adored the romance too. But It’s not just the romance. Mari’s strong and courageous but behind all that, there’s fear. She needs to make a choice and each one will lead to different path. Same with Taro, torn between two choices.—love or kingdom.
The world-building is really great too, in a fantasy novel one of the most important thing is great world building and this novel did not disappoint. Everything is perfectly vivid in my mind. I just devoured the story, I think I read the second half in a span of 2 days. I was waiting for a cliffhanger ending (like most fantasy series do) because I was assuming this is going to be a series. The ending quiet surprised me and it rendered me speechless. It’s so unique and unlike any other ending that I’ve ever read. There are also lots of powerful quotes from this book. If you’re looking for a fantasy with Asian rep, addicting plot, and lovable characters. This book is for you, I highly recommend it.
RATING: 4/5 stars
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About the Author
When Emiko is not writing, she is reading. Most of her friends are imaginary. Before she became a writer she was an entomologist (fancy name for bug catcher), a candle maker, a florist, and most recently a teacher. She lives in Washington with her husband and children (unruly twins). She loves the rain.