Title: Empress of All Seasons
Author: Emiko Jean
Publisher: HMH Teen
Pages: 366 pages
Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Hello everyone! I would like to say that welcome. Welcome to the first day of the PH Blog Tour for the Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean.
I’m so happy and grateful to HMH Teen for granting me to host this tour and providing all the eARC to my fellow participants for the tour. Thank you also to the author, Emiko, who is kind enough to send me the ARC of her mothers for me to review and grace this PH tour.
To Rafael, my co-host, thank you. Thank you for the patience and teaching me all the things in hosting a tour. As to be honest, I don’t have any idea in hosting a tour as it is my first time.
And lastly, to all the participants. Thank you also for joining this PH tour and supporting me and Raf.
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.
“Is this all there is? Marrying men, stealing their fortunes, and having babies?”
A standalone fantasy, Empress of All Seasons talks about the life of Mari — a yōkai (supernatural creatures) who’s trained all her life to compete in the Imperial City and marry the prince and steal his fortune.
Reading Empress of All Seasons is like reading The Hunger Games with The Selection. The Hunger games because Mari and the other girls is competing in a specific room (which is the Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring room) or place where there is a specific task to do. The Selection because just like it, they are competing in and the girl who will win will have the chance to marry the prince and be a princess. The different yōkai in the story has also some similarities with the creatures in Greek mythology. That’s why when the author describe them, you can easily imagine what they really look like.
In regards with the story, its like you are not reading a fantasy novel but a contemporary novel with its simple and fast-paced kind of pacing. There are new words or terms for the things and monster in the book that you will encounter. But as you read it, you will not find it difficult to understand as in the end of the book you will find a glossary. Nevertheless, you can still know what it means as it is explained in the following lines.
Not like in other novels, the characters are very different. The main boy protagonist, Taro, I think has the less exposure in the story. Which is new to me, as it should be him, the main boy protagonist that should have a lot of exposure and development. Aside from that, I can really compare Taro with Hephaestus, Greek God of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges and the art of sculpture because just like Hephaestus, Taro loves working projects that in fact he had made a metal butterfly, tiny insects, a giant crane, and collars. and such more. I was surprised with Akira’s character in the story. Surprised because he has more exposure and development than Taro. And he is just the second boy protagonist. But with this scenario with the two, as still love them both and still they are lovable.
You will feel sad that the ending is just like that but when you really do look at it closely, you will understand why the author ended the story that way.
What I really love about the whole story is that it doesn’t gives me the signal at first that it has a feminism side kind of story. The only moment that I’ve known that it has this element is when at the end of the book, I read the line that says “We love our brothers. BUT NOT EVERY HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER INCLUDES A MAN.” With this line, I know now why the Animal wives only marry men for their fortunes, why in Mari’s village they kill their sons and only kept their daughters, why Mari and Taro’s character is not that fully develop and lastly, why Hanako a girl, is the weapons master.
To sum it all, Empress of All Seasons is the fantasy novel you shouldn’t miss reading with its deep, delicious and breathtaking plot. And one more, it has all the complete ingredient that you need in a novel.
“Silence is the cousin of invisibility.”
“Funny how love can drive you to hate.”
“Not everyone is all good or all bad.”
“A life lived in chains is no life at all.”
“Nature is the most vengeful of patterns.”
“To love is to suffer”
“I believe everything in life that is worth anything is people — those you love and those who love you.”
Blog Tour Schedule
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.
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.