Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Blog Tour - Q&A and Review: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Empress of All Seasons Blog Tour banner

Hi guys, it's been a little while since I last hosted a blog tour but I am back today with a stop for Empress of All Seasons! I got to ask the author Emiko Jean a question and also share my thoughts below. Thank you to Raincoast Books for organizing and inviting me on the tour~

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko JeanEmpress of All Seasons
by Emiko Jean
November 6, 2018
384 pages

Goodreads     Indigo

Goodreads Summary:
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.

BCP: From the story and the cover we can tell the naginata is significant. How did you decide on Mari's weapon of choice?

EJ: The naginata is traditionally considered a women’s weapon. Female samurai used to carry it. That’s why I decided on the naginata for Mari. It’s also called the reaping sword, which is pretty BA.

Very cool! Mari wielding her naginata in the story was definitely a fierce sight to behold ;) Thank for sharing this with us!

Emiko JeanAbout 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. 

Website     Author Goodreads


As a girl who grew up loving Japanese culture and mythology Empress of All Seasons was a book I knew I had to read. This rare (but welcomed) standalone fantasy novel had the most vivid setting and conflicted characters.

I've always loved reading stories infused with folklores. I feel like they add an extra layer to a story. The short origin stories in Empress of All Seasons did exactly that. I was excited to realize I understood a lot of the Japanese terms and recognized some of the yōkai because of my interest in Japan. This book was both a familiar and new-to-me story.

The seasonal rooms sound awe-inspiring. Each one had mesmerizing beauty. But during the competition they had no shortage of menace. Kind of like the humans and yōkai. The two races coexist yet one is physically marked as lower. This imbalance of power served as a huge motivator for the characters, directing their actions and their choices. In their own way, Mari, Taro and Akira all strived for acceptance.

The pacing in Empress of All Seasons felt slow whereas the actual plot went fast. According to the narration the entire book took place in a few short days. It wasn't a big deal but I did feel a little detached at times. The main issue I had was with the instalove. Given the timeline I couldn't completely believe in Mari and Taro's feelings (which was a big driving point of the story). However, I gave it a pass because I think in the past people were more transparent with their feelings so they fell in love more quickly. "I believe everything in life that is worth anything is people- those you love and those who love you." (ARC, p. 270). Also, I want to point out that while the story hinted at a love triangle I personally found it pretty clear-cut.

While I found the ending to be a tinsy bit abrupt, it neatly wraps up all the loose ends. Empress of All Seasons is a tale of love and sorrow; a story that will squeeze your heart. A fantasy standalone worthy of a read!

3.5 Cats
*I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the ARC I received.

Be sure to check out all the other tour stops for more Q&As and reviews!

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