Friesner, Esther. Spirit’s Chosen, 475 pgs. Random House, 2013. $17.99. Sexual Content: PG; Language: G; Violence: PG-13. Himiko’s adventures continue from Spirit’s Princess, she returns to her tribe the Ookami clan. Her home village is in ruins, her father and brother dead, and many of her people enslaved by the victorious Matsu clan. Himiko’s mother has lost her mind out of grief for her enslaved son Noboru. She tries to murder another child. Clan law calls for her death as well as the death of her family. Himiko begs for her mother’s life and claims that she can restore her mother’s mind—if she goes to the Matsu clan and brings back her brother Noboru. Her good friend Kaya from the Shika clan accompanies her. The travel to Matsu, where they are captured and Himiko is forced to become a slave in the house of Prince Ryu—a heartless man who previously tried to rape her. Despite living the life of a slave, Himiko is a princess and a shaman and she uses her abilities to speak to the spirits for good. She must find a way to escape and save her brother and the other enslaved Ookami; even if it means risking her life and the life of the shaman she loves. Author Esther Friesner authentically creates an historic world, but makes them relatable to teenagers today. Himiko is a strong, resilient female character that never fails to do what she believes is right. The pacing is a little slow, but the storytelling is strong.
MS/HS – ADVISABLE. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.