Some of the Fangirls recently discovered a fabulous book series by Annette Marie, and we were delighted to find that she’d written a different series rooted in Japanese mythology. Come see what we thought of Red Winter!
From GoodReads: “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.”
Karie the Maknae: It took me a few chapters to really get into Red Winter. Emi was a little too perfect, and her life full of ceremony was a little slow. But once Shiro showed up and started causing trouble, I was in. The action picked up, and the dive into mythology got stronger and more fascinating as the other yokai were introduced.
I ended up reading the entire series, but unfortunately, I ended up skimming the third book. The action is good, but the plot is fairly predictable and Emi stays too much a Mary Sue — she’s just too good to live.
Kmuse: I agree with The Maknae that the story started off a bit slow but picked up around a third of the way through. It was a fun read and I appreciated that it went into Japanese culture, something that isn’t something I often see. I will recommend that people try Annette Marie’s Guild Codex series. It has great world-building and the characters have a bit more development.
MiataMama: After coming off of Annette Marie’s other series, I too felt the beginning of Red Winter was a bit slow. But once Emi finally stepped outside the temple grounds and the adventure began, I was all in with the rogueish cast of characters.
This was my first dive into a Japanese-based story. Thankfully, for those of us new to the language and cultural terminology, there was a fantastic glossary & pronunciation guide provided. Even still, some of the names were a bit challenging for my western tongue!
Would We Recommend?
Karie the Maknae: Honestly, I prefer Annette Marie’s other series. However, I’m not as familiar with Japanese mythology, so Red Winter was a good way to get introduced to it. The first book was definitely good, and this series might be right for other people.
Kmuse: It was a good book but I also enjoyed her other series more. However, Annette Marie is a very enjoyable author so this is a nice easy read if you want to dip your toe into her catalog of novels.
MiataMama: I enjoyed the story of Red Winter – it was a fun foray into a new genre for me. Annette Marie seems to have a knack for writing charismatic characters and captivating stories. If this story doesn’t pique your interest, definitely take a peek at one of her many other novels.
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Until the next page turns, we remain —
Karie the Maknae, Kmuse, & MiataMama
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi