Synopsis: Emi is the kamigakari. In a few short months, her life as a mortal will end and her new existence as the human host of a goddess will begin. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess—and not once has she doubted her chosen fate.
Shiro is a yokai, a spirit of the earth, an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command—whether she wants him or not.
On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate—but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope … and hope is all she has left.
*I received an e-ARC of this book through Barclay Publicity in exchange for an honest review as part of a promotional blog tour*
“They took everything from me in exchange for a promise they knew was a lie.”
Before I get to the review I just want to say a quick thank you to Barclay Publicity and Annette Marie for giving me the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and read this wonderful book! Alright, now we can commence with the review…
You know you’re in trouble when you’re already drooling over the cover before you even start reading the book, lucky for me what was inside the book was just as fantastic as what was on the outside! I couldn’t have asked for a more fun, intriguing, magic filled, squeal inducing read than this one! Now, I’ll admit to watching a fair share of anime, but that’s about as much about Japanese culture as I really know, which is a shame because I would love to know more. Needless to say, this book really satisfies on that account, at least as far as I am aware. From what I’ve read and been able to look up myself, Miss Marie has done a spectacular job of really weaving the ideas of a feudal Japan with modern elements together, and the story she has created is nothing short of spectacular!
Considering I knew nothing about Japanese folklore going into this book it is impressive that I never felt lost for one moment while I was reading. The author even included a glossary and pronunciation guide for help, but honestly her writing and explaining within the book were so well done that I didn’t even need them. I completely understood what was going on in the world she had created and how each of the characters fit together in the narrative.
The magical/spiritual elements were really beautifully described as well and I felt as if the illustrations provided by Brittany Jackson were very helpful in creating a vision of the characters and world to follow along with. Plus they were just so stunning to look at, I wish all books had illustrations like those in them.
Let me just say that when Shiro showed up on the scene I was having serious Inuyasha flashbacks here. Some of you may know what that is, some may not, but believe me anyone who does will probably get the reference when you read the description of Shiro, plus when Emi put on that schoolgirl uniform I swear I almost lost it 😝. And kept losing it as Shiro and Emi got more and more swoon-worthy throughout the book. Their romance is definitely on the somewhat subtler side, but I liked that and I’m BEYOND excited to see where the author takes it in the next book.
Somehow even the side characters like Fujimoto and Nanako still really drew me in to this book because even they had dimension and a purpose to the story. Of course I loved Emi and Shiro the best, although Katsuo definitely put up a good fight with his adorable protectiveness and is tied for third place with Yumei. That being said, Yumei was a bit frightening at points during the book but I warmed up to his character a lot more towards the end in his interactions with Emi.
Emi was an exceptional heroine to read as it was nice to see her grow from being so sheltered in her own perspective to seeing how others view things and realizing that maybe she needs to stop being so one-minded about everything. I applaud Miss Marie for being willing to spend time developing every character’s personality and not just focus on Emi, which she could’ve easily done.
Overall this was a spellbinding, fantastical read that pulled me in from the first page and I recommend it to anyone who wants to go on a fun journey with some great characters through a completely different culture, believe me it’s well worth the read!
Celebrate the Release of RED WINTER with a Giveaway! 🎉
Grand Prize: 1 Winner will Receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card
Runner-Ups: 3 Winners will Each Receive one $10 Amazon Gift Card Each
Link to the Rafflecopter Giveaway:
About the Author:
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, which includes the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night. Her first love is fantasy, a limitless realm of creativity where she can break all the boring rules of real life, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every book.
Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of northern Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her remarkably patient, comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.