‘Empress of All Seasons’ enchants the mind but not the heart


Andrea Butler

“Empress of All Seasons” by Emiko Jean will be released in print on Nov. 6, 2018

Andrea Butler, Staff Writer

An outcast since birth.

A yokai in a world where yokai are feared and controlled.

A story of acceptance, survival, and revolution.

And among the bravery, sacrifice, and astonishing action, there seems to be a die-hard love story?

That seems to be the case in the book “Empress of All Seasons” by Emiko Jean.

Mari is a yokai, a supernatural monster who was raised to win the competition to become the empress in her country of Honoku. Her only goal is to win, marry the prince, and steal his treasures in hopes of being accepted by her clan members and acknowledged by her mother. The only thing standing in her way is her identity as a yokai that, if revealed, could get her killed. Yet, when Mari goes to the palace to achieve her life’s ambition, she meets Prince Taro and suddenly, nothing makes sense anymore.

While trying to survive all four enchanted seasonal rooms, keep her identity hidden, and convince herself to stay true to her goal, Mari is caught up in a web of lies that force her to make decisions that could alter the fate of her country.


The most outstanding part about the book is without a doubt the multitude of details that come from Japan’s history and how those details shaped the story. By utilizing the clothes, setting, and terms from a past time period in Japan, the author reaches another level of depth that makes the book that much more interesting to read.

One factor that throws me off is the love story. If the relationship between Mari and Taro had been portrayed as a love of passion, only possible in of the heat of the moment, then everything would fall into place within the plot. However, this isn’t the case.

Because their love was described to be a love from the bottom of their hearts, a love that could outlast anything, it felt a little forced. There wasn’t enough time spent on the development of their affection for each other, which in turn made the book feel slightly off-kilter.   

On a more positive note, the character development was spot-on. As each character changed throughout the book, I could see and understand their decisions as well as why they made them. This made me want to keep reading to find out what kind of people they would become and whether meeting each other would be enough to overpower the opinions that guided their lives before they met.

Lastly, while the plot details are amazing, the plot itself is predictable. Maybe because I’ve read so many books from the young adult genre I was able to predict how the story would go, but it does seem to follow a path many other books have taken.

Nevertheless, “Empress of All Seasons” was a quite interesting read and I enjoyed it to the point that I would read it again. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a lot of action and a strong female lead.

“Empress of All Seasons” will be available in print for purchase on Nov. 6, 2018.

Rating:[star rating= “4”]