Thursday, August 23, 2018

Book Shelf: Red Winter (Red Winter Trilogy #1) by Annette Marie

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.

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Red Winter by Annette Marie is a beautifully woven and highly delightful story infused with Japanese mythology, adventure and hints of romance.

Eighteen year old Emi has devoted her life to the goddess Amaterasu. Blessed as a child, Emi knows that soon her mortal existence will end and she will become host to the goddess of the wind. All of Emi choices have been motivated by her desire to serve her goddess, making her body, mind and heart as pure as possible, but in the lead up to the solstice ceremony, Emi learns that not everything she thought she knew about her destiny and her future may be what is seems. Hidden away from those that would do her harm Emi finds herself meeting Shiro, a yokai and god of the earth who is also an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. The devilish kitsune is without a doubt harbouring his own agenda but after she saves his life, his debt to Emi may be the only opportunity to has to discover the truth about what awaits her. Setting out with Shiro, Emi will have to delve into yokai territory but as the solstice approaches there may be bigger dangers to Emi than the earth gods she believes want her dead…..

I have to say, I found Red Winter to be a really enchanting novel about Japanese mythology, especially towards the end where the novel really stepped up in the action and excitement category. The concepts and world introduced by Annette Marie is a blend of modern fantasy and Japanese myths. Including some beautifully depicted graphics and detailed descriptions, this world of various Japanese gods and goddesses was honestly enthralling. The characters including main character Emi and the yokai gods she meets are highly entertaining and bring a lot of life and personality to the story and the dialogue.

Emi is one of those protagonists that grows on you. From her devotion and blind faith at the beginning of Red Winter, we see Emi begin to question what really happens to those who become host to a kami, and as such we see her become bolder and more daring. Emi is quick thinking and fairly smart, and I appreciated seeing her use what she already knew in response to the dangers that she was facing. She came across as a normal teenage girl in some areas and her innocence was endearing. I genuinely want the best for her, so it makes her easy to follow as the story progresses.

Featuring a kitsune named Shiro as the possible love interest for Emi, Red Winter was reminiscent of Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series in the sense that Shiro reminded me of the trickster Puck with his sly and cheeky nature. I very much adore Shiro already with his mysterious history and cocky attitude. His inability to remember his past has me intrigued. I honestly believe he and Emi are going to become closer as the series progresses and with their chemistry already alluring and addictive, I can’t wait to see how strong they come to care about one another.

Building towards a strong and dangerous ending, Red Winter was very satisfying. The start of what seems to be a very underrated series, I’m surprised more readers haven’t heard about and been won over by the fast paced storyline, magical elements and promises of romance found within Red Winter. Annette Marie definitely has me keen to read more and I look forward to continuing on with Emi and Shiro’s journey when I have the chance.

Source: Sent for review by publisher via Netgalley (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Format: Kindle ebook via Netgalley
Release Date: October 21st 2016
Purchase: Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Final Thoughts: I was very impressed by this novel and am looking forward to reading the next one!

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