SERIES: Red Winter Trilogy
PUBLICATION DATES: October 2016 – April 2017
GENRE: Urban-fantasy, Magic, Mythology, Romance, Adventure
PUBLISHER: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Emi has spent her entire life hiding from the creatures that hunt her. The savage earth spirits are determined to kill her before she can become the living host of a goddess, so she stays hidden—until the day she saves the life of one of her hunters.
Shiro isn’t the harmless fox spirit she thought he was. He’s mysterious, cunning, unpredictable…and now hers to command. He’s sworn to pay his debt to her, but he doesn’t know who she is. If he finds out, he’ll kill her.
But she can’t send him away—not yet. Her future isn’t what she thought. The lies surrounding her fate have begun to unravel, and she needs answers before time runs out—answers that lie in the spirit realm. Shiro can take her there…if she dares to trust him.
And only then will she find out how deep the gods’ treachery runs.
This was my first book by Annette Marie and my first buddy read with Jen@starcrossedbookblog and Sophie@bewareofthereader. I’m a huge fan of Japanese mythology and I’ve wanted to read this trilogy for a long time. I’m so happy to share that it didn’t disappoint me. It was quite an addictive series. Trust me, You don’t want to stop after you get into this world. We honestly didn’t expect to buddy read the entire trilogy but we couldn’t stop after finishing book one. It has captivating characters, incredible magic, amazing world building, and beautiful illustrations.
The series follows Emi who had spent her whole life training to become the next living host for the sun goddess Amaterasu. She was hiding from the earth’s demonic creatures who wants to kill her before she becomes the goddess’s host. When Emi discovers a horrible secret about her fate, she escapes from her safe haven to search for the answers. On her way, she encounters a harmless fox spirit who’s being chased by a monster. She saves him by risking her life even though it’s against the temples rules. Soon she finds out that he’s actually a kitsune, a fox shifter who seems to be very mysterious and cunning. He can’t leave her side without paying his debt to her so he becomes her temporary protector. Emi needs Shiro’s help but she couldn’t reveal her true identity as kamigakari. Luckily she’s also getting help from a broody Tengu named Yumei who has his own agenda. Together they embark on a dangerous journey and they encounter different types of Yokai that tries to kill them. During her journey, Emi discovers some shocking secrets and she might be the only hope that can save the world.
CHARACTERS & RELATIONSHIPS
EMI was a pretty likable character. She’s a brave heroine with a strong determination and a soft personality. I enjoyed her character development throughout the series. She lived a sheltered life blindly believing others lies. I felt pretty bad that she sacrificed her time with her parents just for being the chosen one. Being a kamikagari means staying pure body and soul for their whole lives. I’m glad that Emi finally realized to search for the answers before it was too late. SHIRO was definitely the star of the series. His swoon worthy looks and flirty attitude will captivate every girl. I found his character very much enjoyable. His past was a mystery and with each book the author slowly revealed his true identity. YUMEI is another major character in this series. If you like your heroes dark, complex, mysterious, and broody then this guy is just for you. He’s sort of shiro’s friend and also a tengu, a supernatural creature who’s half human and half bird. He acts pretty cold and he has this dark aura that makes everybody fear him, but he also has a soft side. He always stole the spotlight whenever he made an entrance. KATSUO is Emi’s sohei protector and her friend. He supported her in everything and was always there for her whenever she needed help. It’s pretty easy to guess that he has a forbidden crush on her. I really admired the friendship between them but I still can’t ship them.
The relationship between Shiro and Emi was definitely a slow burn. I’m glad that it wasn’t a insta-love. Their every interaction was pretty fun. There’s barely any romance in the first book, but don’t worry you still won’t be disappointed. As expected there’s a light triangle in this series, but it wouldn’t effect your reading pleasure. The friendship between Shiro, Yumei, and Emi was well developed. Despite their differences and trust issues, they worked well together.
PLOT, WRITING, & WORLDBUILDING
The plot was engaging throughout. From the start to the end of the series, the author never failed to keep our interest. The entire series felt like watching an action packed anime series. There’s forbidden romance, adventure, yokai battles, and friendships. With each book, the series gets better. There’s so many twists and turns. The action scenes were well executed. I loved the author’s writing style. The world building was amazing and I enjoyed every part of it. It was based on a Japanese mythology and set in a modern world. It might seem a bit confusing at the beginning if you’re new to Japanese mythology and shinto Gods, but it’ll get easier after the first book. The magical system was very unique. And also another interesting thing about this series was the gorgeous art. Guys, there’re beautiful illustrations in each book. I wish all the fantasy authors do these type of illustrations. I absolutely loved them!
Buddy reading this trilogy was a great and fun experience. I enjoyed the whole series but my favorite was definitely the second book. The story finally concludes with a satisfying ending, but I’m really gonna miss the characters especially Shiro and Yumei.
If you like YA fantasy inspired by Japanese mythology then you really need to check out this series. I highly recommend it!
RED WINTER#1: 4/5 stars
DARK TEMPTATION#2: 4/5 stars
IMMORTAL FIRE#3: 4/5 Stars
So, What do you think of this series? Have you read it yet? Do you Plan to read it?
Please feel free to comment below!
See You In The Next Post and Have a Great Day! 🙂