Monday 25 November 2019

Review: Red Winter by Annette Marie (Red Winter Trilogy #1 - Audiobook)

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. 

Audiobook: Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Duration: 11 hrs 21 minutes

I've heard a lot of hype about the Red Winter trilogy but I held off reading it as I wasn't sure it'd be for me and oh how wrong I was!

The book gets off to a slow start.
There is a lot of world-building and even though the information is woven through the story I still struggled, in the beginning, to absorb what everything was, who was who and why things were as they are. I even struggled to work out what time period we were in because life at the shrine is so removed from what is normal.
Maybe this all would have been easier for me if I was actually reading the book rather than listening to the audiobook but maybe not.
The world-building is complex (or was to me as I had no prior exposure to Japanese mythology) and I feel that no matter the format it probably would have still been a lot to absorb.

The action picked up about a third of the way in and by the time we hit the halfway mark I was hooked! This is the first time I've ever dipped a toe into the world of Japanese mythology and it was utterly fascinating!

I want to say that Emi was such an interesting character but honestly? She was so bland!
In the beginning anyway but it wasn't her fault.
She'd been marked to be the physical host of a goddess since she was a child. She was cut off from her family and raised in a very strict way so she'd be pure and prepared for her duty.
For the past 10 years, she'd been so sheltered that she has no real grasp of who she - Emi - is!
She's just been the kamigakari and has had next to no thought for herself.
However, she isn't weak. She isn't a coward. She is thoughtful, honourable, and determined.
The events of this book are like an awakening to Emi.
Her world is shaken to its very foundation and she begins to discover who she is as a person and over the course of the novel becomes ever more interesting.

Shiro, however, has an almost magnetic pull from the very first encounter!
The combination of the mysterious yoki and the sheltered kamigakari is pure gold.
I loved their dynamic and the potential that lies between them and I have no idea how things are going to play out - their attraction seems pretty doomed! - but I'm here for it.

The second half of the novel was so action packed and addictive that I'm bouncing on the edge of my seat for more!
Nothing is as it seems and I can't even begin to guess how things will unfold after the shocking revelations but I know it's going to be awesome!


  1. Replies
    1. Right? She's an amazing artist and a very good author.

  2. Oh wow, this sounds amazing. I dont know much about Japanese mythology either but now I am curious to learn more!

  3. OOooh this sounds good! I haven't read Japanese mythology before but I do love mythology type novels. I have seen this one around the blog sphere but yours is the first review I have paid attention too. Looking forward to the rest of the series reviews from you :) And yes Shiro sounds awesome!

    Chanzie @ Free To Be Me

    1. I can't wait to get to them! I have a few others I need to finish first though. :(


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