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Spirit's Princess (Princesses of Myth) Hardcover – April 24, 2012

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

VOYA, February 2012:
"Set in third-century Japan, Spirit’s Princess chronicles Himiko’s early years and her struggle to find her path. Beautifully written and heartfelt, Himiko’s tale defines a new kind of princess, one for whom strength comes from believing in herself and trusting in the love she has for her people...[R]eaders familiar with the Princesses of Myth series will know to expect that this is only the first volume of Himiko’s story, the initial developing of a strong and unique protagonist. Filled with expertly crafted description and heartbreaking depth, the text weaves history and myth to create a truly memorable heroine."

About the Author

Nebula Award winner ESTHER FRIESNER is the author of more than 30 novels and over 150 short stories, including the story "Thunderbolt" in Random House's Young Warriors anthology, which lead to the creation of Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize. She is also the editor of seven popular anthologies. Her works have been published around the world. Educated at Vassar College and Yale University, where she taught for a number of years, Ms. Friesner is also a poet, a playwright, and once wrote an advice column, "Ask Auntie Esther." She is married, is the mother of two, harbors cats, and lives in Connecticut. You can visit Esther at: www.sff.net/people/e.friesner.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Series: Princesses of Myth
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375869077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375869075
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bookworm1858 VINE VOICE on May 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book although I knew that it was based on a real-life historical figure, known as Himiko, in ancient Japan. That is not a time period I am familiar with so that meant that everything would be new to me.

Now I don't know if it was because of how new everything was or what the reason might be, but I really struggled to read this book. That would be mostly because of the characters. I could not get a feel for the young Himiko and none of the other characters really interested me. Honestly I thought Himiko was kind of a brat, quick to anger and selfish. Most of her mishaps come from her bullheadedness and inability to listen to people unless they told her what she wanted to hear.

The setting was fine. Himiko is the only daughter of the chief of a secluded clan (not sure how big they are though they must be of some size) and somewhat spoiled. She desires to be like her eldest brother and also finds herself drawn to the shaman of their tribe. Through these twin desires, she wanders through the book, which takes place over some years (not entirely sure how many but she goes from child to adult woman ready for marriage).

Saying that, there were some cool plot points that relate to the fantasy aspect. The shaman educates Himiko but Himiko also seems to possess her own powers that infused some magic into the story. The descriptions around these experiences were very intriguing especially the final one toward the end, which I think will help guide Himiko in the next book in the series. However I will not be joining them because I did not enjoy this book enough.

Overall: A different kind of historical fiction (we need more non-Europe stories) but with lackluster characters and a meandering plot that made it difficult for me to concentrate.
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Format: Hardcover
tells of the childhood of Himiko, daughter of the chieftain of the small Matsu clan. By around 238 AD, Himiko was a queen, but before she reaches that point (which will presumably happen in the sequel to this book), she has lots of growing up to do....and so this is a book for the reader who has patience, one who is interested in the small things of life, and who doesn't demand happenings (in this, the cover is misleading--Himiko looks like an Action-Oriented princess, but that part of her life is yet to come). It's also a good one for the reader who likes historical fiction that explores the lives of little known women--the author's note at the end explains that Himiko's story is based on fact, which pleased me very much.

Himiko is the only daughter of her father, and so is the "princess" of her village. It is a narrow life, as her father distrusts all outsiders, and Himiko is not permitted to follow her dream of become a great hunter like her older brother (and even if she had been encouraged to follow this path, a fall in childhood leaves with a permanently lame leg). Slowly she realizes that her path lies elsewhere, as a shaman for her people. And so, interspersed with various family dynamics, we are told of her apprenticeship to the village shaman, which is kept secret from her dictatorial, xenophobic father, who simply wants to see her nicely married off.

There are shadows of a danger to come, which finally does arrive right at the end of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
In Spirit's Princess, Esther Friesner expands her Princess Of Myth series to include the Japanese mythos on shaman queen Himiko. Unlike prior princesses, this new princess and time period may not be as well-known to readers - and, for me, this is most likely the reason why I found Spirit's Princess both interesting and frustrating. Himiko is an admirable young woman who tries to break away from family expectations and cultural traditions, wanting first to be a hunter and then a shaman. However, the story felt too detail-oriented and lacked an extra "sparkle" to make Himiko come alive from history. I realize Spirit's Princess is simply laying the foundation for this new Princess Of Myth, but I would probably recommend readers to wait until Book 2 comes out to get a better picture of how Himiko grows into her destined role.
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Format: Hardcover
Himiko is definitely not an American girl of the 21st century. She's from about 250 AD on one of the islands that now makes up Japan. Through her eyes we see her life, her beliefs, her family. The book is a little slow, a little strange, as Himiko grows from a young girl to a teenager, but as she gets older she gets more interesting (duh). The author catches the self-involved life of a child very well, and also how people lived there and then in that clan. Definitely recommended if you want to think about how other people see things, and to watch Himiko grow from a child who climbs the wrong tree to a woman who has learned restraint and grace and command. I liked it.
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