Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spirit's Princess by Esther Friesner

In third century Japan, Himiko is the only daughter of the chief of her tribe.  Himiko is destine for greatness and has a strong connection with the spirit world.  Her father, however, wants his daughter married and having children.  Himiko struggles with being the perfect daughter and following her heart.

This book went on forever and then some.  It took me a long time to get though because I kept getting bored.  I think there could have been some serious editing done and the story wouldn't have lost anything essential.

Himiko goes back and forth between her two personalities like six times.  First she's all outspoken, then she falls out of the tree and becomes a good girl.  Then she overcomes that and finds some of herself again, only to get lost and return to being an obedient child.  Then she gets some of her own back but then she gets in to a fight with her beloved brother Aki and stops talking or doing anything.  So much back and forth.  And the thing was, we didn't get a lot of new information out of each one.  The important stuff was that Himiko had a bad leg, and at one point got lost and found another clan of people, and that she's destine to be a shaman.  That's it.  I did not need years and years to go by and have each of her back and forth personality changes documented.  I didn't need so many fights with her father, so many moments with her brother.

Nothing much happened.  The major conflict of the book was that Himiko was destined to be a shaman, something her father had strictly forbidden.  Himiko trains secretly, and when will she confront him and all will be revealed?  What will happen?  That doesn't happen until almost the end of the book, and then Himiko runs away and when she tries to go home she finds her clan has been conquered.  Then the book ends.

I feel like nothing ever came together.  I understand that this is a series, but did the entire first book have to be back story and setup for the next one?  That's what it felt like.  I don't have any interest in finding out what happens next.  I'm afraid it will just be more of the same.

The most enjoyable part for me was the note at the end of the book that told about the stories of the real Himiko that the book was based on.  I thought that was very interesting.

Spirit's Princess comes out April 24, 2012.

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