Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spirit's Princess (Spirit's Princess #1) by Esther M. Friesner

Himiko the beloved daughter of a chieftain in third century Japan has always been special. The day she was born there was a devastating earthquake, and the tribe's shamaness had an amazing vision revealing the young girl's future—one day this privileged child will be the spiritual and tribal leader over all of the tribes. Book One revolves around the events of Himiko's early teen years—her shaman lessons, friendships, contact with other tribes, and journey to save her family after a series of tragic events. Once again, Esther Friesner masterfully weaves together history, myth, and mysticism in a tale of a princess whose path is far from traditional.
This is an epic tale about the life of Himiko, a young tribal princess in ancient Japan. The character actually did live, but obviously, her story presented here is total fiction. Still, it is interesting to me to take a historical person many of us have never heard of and make her come to life.

This story is also not one of on the edge of your seat adventure as we often get with YA that has magic within. It's more about how Himiko finds herself. How she grows and finds who she really is inside. It is the journey within and the courage it takes to stand up to those that you love for what is important. It is the difference between living and having a life. This is the reason I feel it will get mixed reviews. It isn't something that will immediately capture you, but will slowly make you a part of her life. Plus, not everyone likes a philosophy type of book as I tend to gravitate toward. Just keep that in mind.

I give this story 4 stars. I found it interesting and philosophically interesting. There is adventure, but it is more the journey of self that matters in this book. I feel this is very important for the books coming after this one. It is that journey that will make her the eventual queen of peace. I will warn you that the ending is abrupt (which I dearly hate) but it will end up making you want the next one to see what will happen. I really can't wait to see what will happen and I know I'll be reading that book as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Side note: as I said above she was a real being. There is a wiki page and a blog post from the Heritage of Japan on her. Just thought those of you who are interested in history might like to take a look. :)
Click to see larger. Picture from Newton Graphic Science Magazine
I received this eARC from the publisher and NetGalley. No compensation for my review was given.


  1. Historical fiction mixed with a "finding yourself" story? Sounds right up my alley. Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres, and I should really read more of it!

  2. I didn't know this one until yesterday when I say it on a blog and I confess I was quite curious to learn more about it. And now I'm very intrigued. Is there a lot of philosophy? I think I need to check it if I can. thanks for the review.

  3. Now this one sounds really cool and different. I have sadly not read a lot of books set in Japan, but I would sure want to

  4. Ooooo it makes it all the more interesting that she was real I think! Not so excited about the abrupt ending (I can't even think of the last book I read that wrapped up nicely!), but otherwise it sounds really fascinating:)

  5. Stories about self discover are ones that I end up appreciating more because I can always find a way to connect it to my life and I love that feeling.

    What a fantastic way to incorporate history into fiction. Love the sound of this one, Mel. Thanks for the review. It's the first one I read for this book. I hope it gets a lot of recognition.

  6. This sounds like a nice relaxed journey read. Thank you!

  7. I was going to reques this book but I wasn't sure if I would like it. Thanks for the wonderful review. I will add it to my tbr!

  8. I actually requested this one from NG, however I DNFed it after I read many reviews that pointed out how historically inaccurate it was. I feel like if you're gonna write a historical fiction book about a *real* person, check your facts!

    1. How can it be historically inaccurate if not much is known about her? What is known is speculation at best (especially if you read the links I gave). Wonder what era they thought this took place?

  9. You pick the most unique books! Seriously, there are things I would never see if not for you.

    PS I so favorited your etsy store :) :) :)

  10. Already, this book is unusual and unique from many YA books – first that it’s a philosophical journey and second that it’s based on a real historical figure.

  11. This sounds good, different, but still good.

  12. I didn't really like this book but when I think about it more as a philosophical journey, I have a greater appreciation for it. That also explains why it didn't really work for me: I hate philosophy and like at least a little bit more action or alternately swoony romance.


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