I’m not going to lie. I chose this book because of the beautiful cover and I am not even a little bit ashamed of that.
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.
This novel has a very simple plot which is basically a search for an answer that Emi has which I can’t reveal without giving away a spoiler.
But for those of you who don’t mind a spoiler, please read on…
Emi learns that when Amaterasu descends she will destroy Emi. I told this to a friend and we were both pretty underwhelmed. Neither of us were surprised to learn this because I mean Amaterasu is a freaking GODDESS! Of course her power will be too great for Emi to contain! Also, having read Vessel, I just wasn’t surprised. The premise for Vessel is basically the same as this novel except that in Vessel the goddess fails to descend.
Emi isn’t our typical bad ass heroine but she is no less interesting. In some ways she’s a bit more complex than the usual YA heroine. Emi is selfless and kind, patient and brave. At no point to I remember her being too stupid to live, although she was a bit too trusting of kami. But that was more due to her upbringing than anything else. She had been taught that kami were inherently good and yokai were inherently bad —
to her detriment.
My favourite Shiro quote:
“Because you are more to me now. Because you keep secrets like a kami and I’m curious what you hide. Because you are lonely and scared and I don’t understand why. Because you trust me when you know you shouldn’t. Because I believe you when you say you will keep your word.”
This guy is hardcore and utterly terrifying and I love him for it! He has definitley got the whole Blue and Orange Morality thing going for him. He just isn’t good or evil. He is there to help Shiro but at the same time he seems to want something in return. I must be the only one who wondered if Shiro and Yumei had some fling going on between them though. He was just so overly protective of Shiro, the kitsune, but he didn’t know him before the curse was placed on Shiro so maybe I’m just looking for some bisexual action where there isn’t any.
I had no problem with Yumei hurting Emi except for my usual problems with the main character being hurt because Yumei was never depicted as a love interest.
I don’t understand the review I read where someone on GoodReads declared him her husband, but to each their own.
I am perfectly happy for Yumei to stay far, far away from me, though I do love him as a character.
What with him being the Tengu and ruling the other crows he is a bit like a mafia boss and I love that!
My poor baby got stuck in a love triangle with our resident kistune. Personally I would choose Katsuo, because he is kind, loyal, and adorable. Plus he has no violent tendancies toward the main character.
This was my main problem with this book. I started it in May and only finished it on the 13th of October 2017 because it was just so slow I just wanted something to happen at the beginning but I honestly don’t remember anything except for Emi finding the startling revelation in the manual. And I mean if you’re going to keep a secret from the kamigakari don’t leave it out in the open in the library where anyone can find it!
Red Winter was a good read and although there were some pacing problems, particularly at the beginning, I did enjoy myself. Emi was naive at the beginning and far too trusting of kami but she learned her lesson pretty quickly. Though nothing to do with the writing, I will say that the illustrations were very beautiful and that I enjoyed listening to the audio book.
I give this one THREE stars due to the pacing and boring Big Bad.