Thursday, November 7, 2019

Empress of All Seasons - ESSENTIAL

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean, 384 pgs. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2018. $18.

Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13 (in the course of battle and competition in a contest).



Each generation a new empress of Honoku is chosen through a fierce competition. In order to be the one to win the hand of the prince, each competitor must fight to survive the Palace of Illusions’ enchanted seasonal rooms. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn await full of danger and surprises. Conquer the rooms and marry the prince. Any young woman may enter, unless she is yokai, one of the supernatural creatures whom the emperor has sworn to enslave and destroy. Mari has spent her whole life training for the competition. She is well prepared and is eager to prove her worth to her village, but she harbors a secret that could destroy everything.

A wonderful story with themes of love, loyalty, and embracing differences to appreciate the worth of an individual. A fairytale with the usual elements of a prince, a maiden, and a fight between good and evil, the story is unique and enthralling. Even though there are many characters introduced throughout the course of the book, each one is fully formed and the reader will engage with each of them. In a genre overwhelmed with books that overstay their welcome through unnecessary serialization, this stand-alone novel will leave the reader, for once, wishing for a sequel.

Reviewer: AEB

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