Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? Mari has trained all her life to enter the competition held every generation to determine who will become the Empress of Honoku. The winner must survive the four seasonal rooms in order to wed the prince. But Mari is hiding a dangerous secret. She is a yokai, one of the supernatural creatures whom the Emperor of Honoku has sought to enslave and destroy. She is an Animal Wife, women who can change into fierce creatures. Told she lacked the beauty necessary to be a true Animal Wife who wed men and then steal their fortune, Mari was trained as a warrior. Her best friend Akira, the so called Son of Nightmares, follows Mari to the capital to try to protect her. He becomes involved with a group of yokai who plan to assassinate the Emperor to find freedom. When Mari and Taro meet accidentally before the competition, the two begin to fall in love. But will Taro still love Mari if he learns her secret? Can she help her people by becoming Empress? Does every happily-ever after need a marriage? Filled with Japanese folklore and legend, lots of action and a touch of romance. this standalone title is a must read for fantasy fans.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? Readers who enjoy fantasy with strong female protagonists will love this book. Hand it to those who enjoyed the series Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard and Kiera Cass’ The Selection series.
Who should buy this book? Public Libraries and high school libraries
Where would you shelve it? YA fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA
Date of review: 2/23/2020