"Never let fear decide your fate". .
What's a book you read that had a strong opening but ended weakly? .
I really liked Empress of All Seasons. It made great use of yokai and Japanese lore. Two of the main characters started off fairly nuanced and interesting. The plot moved at a brisk pace. The use of a contest to beat the seasons was definitely unique. Really, the first two thirds were wonderful. I don't know what happened in the last third. I feel like the author was rushing, trying to finish up the plot. It doesn't work. It all becomes messy, characters start deviating from themselves, and the ending makes zero sense. In a world where yokai are enslaved, why would any normal human accept one as empress? Mari hasn't done anything, outside of winning the contest, to prove she is capable of leading. It's so forced. And while I admire the whole "she doesn't need a man" aspect, I hadn't yet cared enough about their relationship for that to make an impact (also felt like Taro went widely out of character here). .
This book really needed to be a duology. The characters deserved time to move through the plot and end up where they do. The rushed ending was a disservice to an otherwise really great book. .
Also, I get the whole "the noblest love is to serve the one you love who doesn't and will never love you back" but like friends to lovers, it's not a trope I really like. Akira is a fascinating character but I don't appreciate his arc. Also, the nature of his powers still alludes me. He can't be seen in shadows? But he is seen in shadows by people sometimes? So what is it? .
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