“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.
Red Winter includes ten beautiful full-page illustrations by award-winning artist Brittany Jackson.”
I love the cover of this book. Sorry, but not sorry. I had to say that.
Moving on, beyond the cover is the story that I’m reviewing today. I saw this book on Amazon one day and wanted to read it. It was fantasy, Asian, and the cover…yes, I added it to my Kindle Possibilities list. Then I saw that I had a chance to review it and both of its sequels, and now I can say that I read them.
While I am fascinated by Asian culture, I had not delved much into Japanese culture. I enjoyed getting a peak into a country I do not know much about. This book takes place in modern day Japan, yet it still had a fantastical and historical feel. The story was steadily paced at the beginning, so not too fast or slow. It was hard not to sympathize with the heroine when she found the bad news that she might be going to die soon, and her ensuing rebellion is where the story really began to pick up for me. The fantasy elements gripped my attention, intriguing characters were introduced, and it was interesting to watch Emi try and figure out the truth about her death, and the events that follow once she learned the truth.
The heroine was also likable. As I mentioned, I felt bad for her. Can you imagine finding out by accident that some of those around you might know you are going to die soon, but have not told you? Harsh, but that is what she had to deal with, along with still feeling to blame for the death of someone she loved. I think she was the perfect mix of serious temple girl and teenage girl, and I enjoyed getting to know her.
Emi, however, is not my favorite. Ya’ll, this story has a Kitsune, the Japanese equivalent to one of my favorite mythical creatures, a Gumiho. (These creatures are basically foxes with nine tales, and they can transform into humans.) Anywho, I love
d him. Shiro, the Kitsune, is adorable, funny, and probably now one of my favorite heroes ever. He just- Gah! I loved his relationship with Emi. Also, he was especially adorable when he rode the bus with Emi and people thought he was her dog.
Yumei, the crow dude was also pretty cool. Yes, kind of cranky, but I still found him a lovable addition to the crew.
Negatives were that there were some curse words. Other than that, I do not have much of a complaint.
All in all, this was a nice read. I really enjoyed it. I’ve been kind of tired of reading some of the same old medieval fantasies, and this one was a nice change in scenery. It was not my favorite of the series, but a fair introduction to it. Plus, it has some lovely art every now and then, so that added to the story. I give it a rating of four and a half.
Book Review Ratings:
5. Great Book!
4. I liked it!
2. Did not like it.
1. Did not finish.
*Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.