Empress Of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
What I drank:
life roommate and i have a gift exchange every year, and if you steal a gift you have to take a shot, sooooooooo part of this post is fueled by coffee tequila cream liquor and wine
Also part of this is fueled by craft beer while waiting for the royal rumble to start. party central up in here this weekend plz send gatorade
What it’s about:
In Mythical Japan, girls choose to enter a competition, where they have to survive 4 magic Season rooms to bcome the Empress of all seasons/marry the future emperor, Taro.
Mari has trained her whole life to win, bc shes actually a demon-monster (yokai) who wants to steal the royal treasures for her clan. PLOT TWIST, the humans arent ok with the yokai, so Mari has to hide that if she wants to win. Also there is Akira, her halfhuman half yokai bestie who has his own storyline entwined with Mari and Taro. Will Mari survive? Will she be able to hide her demon side from Taro?
So heres the thing–we are fiiiiiiiinally seeing a lot bunch of diversity in literature, and it is EXCITING. But it also means reading an asian-based fantasy at a time when I’ve read like …. 5 in the past 2 months? So you don’t meant to compare but, you know, when there are flaws theywre more…glaring?
So like this competition Mari enters. Women cant kill each other, but how is that monitored? Is there an age minimum or maximum? Wouldnt there be training schools for this once in a lifetime opportunity? Theres a ton of background on why theres a contest and why its structured the way it is, but not enough ground work in how this contest actually functions.
Its an example of an overall problem–theres a lot laid down, but it’s not filled in? It felt like a decent draft of book 1 in a series, but instead it’s a standalone with a rushed pace that needed a stronger editing hand and like 200 more pages of description and character decelopment.
Personal revelations just POP into characters heads with little setup. Secondary characters are given good introductions but little agency. And like, theres some girl power but it’s worked in kinda weird? And the ending like…kind of resolved things, but in a very book 1 kind of way.
Also not to harp on body types but I am WILDLY confused by what Mari looks like. it felt like she was initially described like stocky or at least pretty solid and muscular, but then the dudes all talk about how slight and tiny she is. Is it body issue shit or a disconnect in the editing process?
The bones of an excellent sweeping saga are there, but in itscurrent state…it was just aiight.
What i gave it:
What i would pair it with:
they do drink a buttload of sake in the book?