Book Title: Red Winter
Author: Annette Marie
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Goodreads, Amazon UK
What did I think?
The publisher's summary: 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.
Every now and then the YA genre offers a surprise. This is one of those surprises.
I chose this book because of the beautiful cover and because Annette Marie, the author, has based her new novel on Japanese mythology. She did her research thoroughly and explains each term she uses without boring the reader. In fact it was a great pleasure to dive into this world. Annette Marie is careful and provides a lot of details and depth, and at first that slows the plot a little, but I got used to it and lost myself in the fantastic world building, eager to discover more of this vibrant world.
The characters are exceptionally well written and compelling, the plot is fast paced and gripping, and the author has a way of making her scenes come to life that I really enjoyed. Especially the battle scenes are stunning. I was pleased to discover that this book has some art in it, especially since I enjoy both anime and manga.
There was only one thing I struggled with: the unfamiliar names. I have no knowledge of Japanese mythology and it took me quite a while to wrap my head around all the terms. But that didn't hinder my enjoyment!
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys mythology and fantasy and doesn't mind young protagonists.
I received an ARC copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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. To find out more about Annette and her books, visit her website at www.authorannettemarie.com