Waiting on Wednesday: Empress of All Seasons


Empress of All Seasons

Written by Emiko Jean

384 pages

Published by HMH Children’s Book Group

Publication date: 6th November 2018

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

Why I can’t wait to read this:

This book sounds like it was written for me!

  • First of all, it’s fantasy, which I adore. ‘Nough said!
  • Secondly, it’s based on Japanese folklore. Not only am I fascinated by folklore, but I studied Japanese, lived in Japan, and wrote my thesis in Japanese on folklore and traditions. (Yes, I am a total, unashamed geek. I dare you to ask me about folklore…but only if you have a long time to talk about it!)
  • I love supernatural creatures (one of my favourite gifts ever is a beautifully-illustrated bestiary my mum got for me!) and have a particular soft spot for the weird and wonderful Japanese youkai.
  • A country with empresses sounds like it will be one in which female power will be respected and celebrated. Okay, she still has to marry the prince, but it is kind of nice that the women have a choice in this rather than being ‘prizes’ themselves.
  • The prince also sounds like an interesting character as he has no desire to rule. I am curious too about the discrimination against youkai and how this will be handled – it sounds like a fascinating world!
  • Overall, this sounds like exactly my cup of tea. Unfortunately, the e-ARC on Netgalley has already reach its maximum number of readers so I will be eagerly awaiting this book for some time to come…

Does it sound like the kind of book you would like?

Are you interested in reading it? Why/ Why not?

Can you recommend to me any other fantasy books drawing on folklore?

Let me know in the comments!

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Thanks for reading!

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