This is my first time joining a PH blog tour and I’M STOKED. This blog tour is hosted by The Royal Polar Bear Reads and Bookable Reads. Thank you so much for having me! This is the last day of the blog tour which started on November 12. There are many awesome book bloggers who have taken part in this tour and I encourage y’all to read their posts too. I’ll include the links of their posts at the end so please check them out.
Published: November 6, 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
I received a copy of this book prior to its release from HMH Publishing and I devoured it immediately. Empress of All Seasons is the kind of book that will keep you glued to its pages with its engaging story-telling and Japanese folklore-inspired plot.
YOU REALLY NEED TO READ EMPRESS OF ALL SEASONS AND HERE ARE FIVE REASONS WHY:
• It features Japanese folklore and culture
Empress of All Seasons brought back memories of the days when I was absolute trash for anything Japanese. I was a huge otaku when I was 13 and this book reminded me of the rich Japanese culture I loved. Let me just say this: If you love anime, this book is perfect for you. Also, if you’re a huge folklore/mythology geek, YOU NEED TO GET AHOLD OF THIS BOOK NOW.
• Emiko Jean gave justice to the plot
There are lots of books out there that have stellar plots but are not well-executed. Empress of All Seasons is not one of them. The protagonist, Mari, goes to Honoku to join a competition to be the next empress. I loved the detailed action scenes and the Hunger Games vibe. PLUS THERE ARE KILLER SEASONAL ROOMS FILLED WITH CHALLENGES AND BLOOD. I’m all for the blood.
Aside from the competition, I enjoyed reading about the underlying political intrigue and the betrayals. The book’s pacing is fast and OH BOY SO MANY THINGS HAPPENED. I don’t even know how Emiko Jean fit them into one book.
• The writing style is unique
Emiko Jean’s writing style is gripping and will make your blood race. The fast pacing of the story was a bit overwhelming but it’s perfect for bookdragons who are searching for books to read in one sitting. There are also tales of gods and goddesses in the middle of some chapters that are interesting to read. This book fed my mythology-craving soul and I’m 100% thankful.
• This book teaches values and spits on stereotypes
Themes of freedom, family, and love are explored in this book. I also like how Empress of All Seasons bent stereotypes. In this book, the girls are the ones who undergo challenges to marry the prince and to become empress. The concept of beauty was also an important concept here. Mari, the protagonist, is shunned by her clan because she doesn’t possess unearthly beauty just like them. It’s repeatedly mentioned in the book that Mari looks plain and “not beautiful” but not once did I see her as ugly. Mari’s strong personality and her determination marked her beauty and she’s a female protagonist I will always look up to. I’ll leave you with this quote:
“We love our brothers. But not every happily-ever-after includes a man.”
See? A TOTAL ICON. She can make my face as her personal trampoline and I won’t even complain.
• It is a standalone book
To standalone fans, Empress of All Seasons is a gem you shouldn’t miss. If you don’t like standalones, I still think you should give it a shot because this book has the epic markings of a fantasy series. Why would you even want to miss a book full of soft monsters™, great world-building and A+ character development???
BEHIND THE PAGES: GETTING TO KNOW 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.
Name: Emiko, Emi, Emmers Bemmers Boo Boo (only my mother calls me this)
Occupation: Writer and reader, most days reader before writer
Location: Vancouver, WA
Family: Yes. One husband. Two children – b/g twins!
Previous Occupations: Bug tamer, teacher, florist, candlestick maker and vagabond. My friends and I once (poorly) fixed up an old van. We drove it across the country. The bumper fell off and we lost the brakes in the Redwoods.
Qualifications: None. But I strongly believe in “fake it till you make it” and asking for forgiveness rather than permission.
Favorite foods: ALL OF THEM. Though I do have a special place in my heart for girl scout cookies, frosted animal cookies and anything with pasta.
Favorite time of year: Fall. I also love Christmastime (even though I’m Jewish).
Favorite music: Depends on mood and activity. For writing: Mumford and Sons, The Strumbellas, The Head and the Heart, Queen, Bowie, Pink Floyd … For general work (building this website, creating graphic etc.): Anything hip-hop, specifically Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Dyme Def, Atmosphere, Matisyahu …
Favorite authors: Too many to count.
Last concert: Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne
Favorite television shows: Antiques Roadshow, Call the Midwife, anything BBC, anything real housewives (no judgement please)
Least favorite things: The word “moist” – I dare you to find it in one of my novels.
Unusual talents/facts: I am fantastic at finding four leaf clovers. I can also make three loops with my tongue. I’ve also won my fair share of Texas Hold’em tournaments.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
Check out all the posts for this blog tour!
Rafael of The Royal Polar Bear Reads
Carmel of Bookablereads
Jonathan of Wander with Jon
Erika of The Nocturnal Fey
Nikki of Take Me Away
Vivian of Vanilla Angel Pages
Jen of Jen D Bibliophile
Jenny of Levicorpvs Blog
Hanamae of The Wraith Reads
Cristina of Girl in the Pages
Leilanee of ofsparksandmagick
Salwa of Salwa’s Reading Solace
Dexter of Dexterous_Totalus
Avery of B for Bookslut
Kat from Novels and Waffles
Lily of Sprinkles of Dreams
Joel of Descendant of Poseidon Reads
Imogene of Amidst the Pages
Leslie of Bibliophilekid
Myrth of Cliste Bella
Justine of Bookish Wisps
Athena of The Night Faerie
Rain of Bookdragonism
I hope you enjoyed my stop for the tour. Have you read Empress of All Seasons yet? Is it in your TBR? Tell me what you think about it!