Thursday, August 6, 2015

MARIAH's THOUGHTS on Spirit's Chosen by Esther M. Friesner

Young Adult
Historical/Cultural Romance
Spirit's Princess, #2
Publish Date:
April 23, 2013
Random House Books for Young Readers

Himiko's world is falling apart. An attack b the Ookami clan has left many from her tribe dead or enslaved. And those who remain in the ransacked Matsu village are certain they've angered the gods. Amid the chaos and fear, Himiko hatches a plan to save her beloved tribe. Traveling through the treacherous wilderness with her best friend Kaya, their only goal is to free her clanfolk from the Ookami. At every turn she encounters other tribes and unforeseen challenges. But just when it seems that she will outwit Ryu, the cruel Ookami leader, she is captured. Held against her will, Himiko starts to realize that not all of the Ookami are her enemies and every step of her unconventional journey has prepared her for something greater than life as a princess. Though she may not see her path as clearly as the spirits seem to, there's more adventure (and even unexpected love) for this young shamaness and warrior.       

Sequel to:



**About the Author**
Esther M. Friesner was educated at Vassar College, where she completed B.A's in both Spanish and Drama. She went to on to Yale University; within five years she was awarded an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish. She taught Spanish at Yale for a number of years before going on to become a full-time author of fantasy and science fiction. She has published twenty-seven novels so far; her most recent titles include Temping Fate from Penguin-Puffin and Nobody's Princess from Random House.

Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Aboriginal SF, Pulphouse Magazine, Amazing, and Fantasy Book, as well as in numerous anthologies. Her story, "Love's Eldritch Ichor," was featured in the 1990 World Fantasy Convention book.

Her first stint as an anthology editor was Alien Pregnant By Elvis, a collection of truly gonzo original tabloid SF for DAW books. Wisely, she undertook this project with the able collaboration of Martin H. Greenberg. Not having learned their lesson, they have also co-edited the Chicks In Chainmail Amazon comedy anthology series for Baen Books, as well as Blood Muse, an anthology of vampire stories for Donald I Fine, Inc.
"Ask Auntie Esther" was her regular etiquette and advice column to the SFlorn in Pulphouse Magazine. Being paid for telling other people how to run their lives sounds like a pretty good deal to her.

Ms. Friesner won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story of 1995 for her work, "Death and the Librarian," and the Nebula for Best Short Story of 1996 for "A Birth Day." (A Birth Day" was also a 1996 Hugo Award finalist.) Her novelette, "Jesus at the Bat" was on the final Nebula ballot in the same year that "Death and the Librarian" won the award. In addition, she has won the Romantic Times award for Best New Fantasy Writer in 1986 and the Skylark Award in 1994. Her short story, "All Vows," took second place in the Asimov's SF Magazine Readers' Poll for 1993 and was a finalist for the Nebula in 1994. Her Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel, Warchild, made the USA TODAY bestseller list.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, two rambunctious cats, and a fluctuating population of hamsters.

Stay connected with Esther M. Friesner 

**My Thoughts**

Spirit’s Chosen is the second and last book of the Spirit’s Princess duology and is told in first person of view. A refresher on the first book, Himiko is the only daughter of the Matsu clans’ chieftain but also a powerful shaman. In Spirit’s Chosen we pick up where Himiko returns to the Matsu from the Shika clan to find the Okami clan have pillaged her village because of their current chieftains’ grudge against her. While the previous book did a sufficient job at laying out the region and introducing characters, the second book drags out Himiko’s stay within the Okami to the point where the reader would want to stop reading. As a reader, I already know why she’s there but she’s doing a painfully slow job at doing it, with and without oppression of the Ryu. In short, there seemed to be pointless chapters. The cast stayed in character until a pivotal turning point at the end, which could have been seen four to six chapters prior, and could be very believable characters to hate or love. Unfortunately, this only accounts for the side characters and not Himiko or her love interest. Even though seasons or possibly years have elapsed over the course of the two books, Himiko changed from a child to a responsible young adult, with no further development past young adult. Her love interest didn’t have a lot of dialogue outside of shaman work or enough details to describe him. She lacked depth of personality or analytical skill that would be required of a future leader/shaman. Oh, I’m sorry did that last sentence spoil the end for you. Don’t worry about it, the category “historical fiction” and the comments from other authors and publishers gives it away any way.

I’m not that impressed with Spirit’s Princess’s successor. It was a lengthy and empty middle with a predictable ending, although the ending was better than most of the book.

My rating:

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