Spirit's Chosen (Princesses of Myth Series)

( 1 )


From princess to slave in the blink of an eye. . . .

Himiko's world is falling apart. An attack by a rival clan, the Ookami, has left many from her tribe dead or enslaved. Amid the chaos and fear, Himiko hatches a plan to save her people. 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. Though she may not see her path as clearly as the spirits ...

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Spirit's Chosen (Princesses of Myth Series)

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From princess to slave in the blink of an eye. . . .

Himiko's world is falling apart. An attack by a rival clan, the Ookami, has left many from her tribe dead or enslaved. Amid the chaos and fear, Himiko hatches a plan to save her people. 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. Though she may not see her path as clearly as the spirits seem to, there's more adventure (and even unexpected love) for this princess turned shaman-warrior.

Readers who love strong girl-centric adventures are eating up Esther Friesner's Princesses of Myth books, finding the mash-up of historical fiction and fantasy adventure irresistible!

"Himiko is brave and bold. I love her!" —Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author

"This historical fiction/mythology/fantasy blend is perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce, Rick Riordan, and P. C. Cast." —School Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Charla Hollingsworth
Spirit's Chosen is an epic tale unlike many others in modern young adult libraries. The story begins with Himiko, a young female shaman, returning to her Matsu village only to find destruction. Prior to the beginning of the novel, her clansmen lost a fierce battle to the Ookami, a warring tribe, and many of her kinfolk were either killed or taken as slaves. Himiko sees the turmoil left in her village and remaining family, and decides she must try to win the freedom of her captive clansmen. Along with her friend Kaya, Himiko sets out on the long journey with the strength of courage and the gods guiding her. While on the journey, Himiko and Kaya meet many kind strangers and find favor with the gods. As they approach the Ookami village walls, they meet Oni, an Ookami outcast. Oni agrees to help Kaya and Himiko rescue the Matsu slaves, but the ensuing battle leaves him dead and Kaya and Himiko are captured as slaves. While a slave in the Ookami village, Himiko's status changes from slave to revered shaman, back to slave and back again to revered shaman—several times. Through many diabolical twists and turns, Himiko tries to outwit the Ookami chieftain and win the freedom of her people. Spirit's Chosen is a companion novel to Spirit's Princess (Random House, 2012/Voya February 2012) and is best understood by those who have read that book first. Without the benefit of prior knowledge, the abrupt beginning of Spirit's Chosen will leave readers confused for the first several chapters. The novel seems overly long, and readers may become bogged down with the myriad of characters and secondary plot lines. Readers who enjoyed the grand tales of Clavell's Shogun or Harrer's Seven Years In Tibet will enjoy the depth and feel of Spirit's Chosen. Reviewer: Charla Hollingsworth
Kirkus Reviews
In this sequel to a story set in medieval Japan, a girl continues to struggle with being the princess of a defeated village and an exceptional shaman at the same time. In Spirit's Princess (2012), the aggressive Ookami clan attacked Himiko's village and dragged off Noboru, her little brother, and others to slavery. Mad with grief, Himiko's mother becomes subject to the death penalty when she attacks a child. To save her mother's life, Himiko decides to travel to the Ookami village and free Noboru. The venture does not succeed, but Himiko's connection to the spirit world helps her to rise to the point where she can challenge Lord Ryu, the Ookami's belligerent and autocratic chieftain. Friesner's characterizations work nicely, especially Kaya, Himiko's self-confident huntress friend; Rinji, the insecure temporary shaman; Lady Sato, Ryu's caustic mother; and bombastic Ryu himself. The author runs into difficulty, though, with the sudden emotional shifts she forces on her characters whenever the plot requires a friend to become an instant enemy. Characters shift from love to hatred and from friendship to belligerence, usually abruptly and with no transitional period. Still, the rather slow-moving but suspenseful story gives readers an intriguing view into a fascinating society of the past, even as it takes Himiko's spirit world seriously. Interesting if flawed. (Historical fantasy. 12 & up)
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Himiko is the daughter of a Matsu clan chieftain, a princess, and a shaman in ancient Japan, but she has not had an easy life despite all her titles and privileges. The Ookami, a neighboring clan, has attacked her village with devastating consequences. Many of Himiko's relatives, friends, and neighbors have been killed. Some of her closest family members have been captured and enslaved, and, as a result, Himiko's mother has been psychologically damaged to the point where she is a danger to herself and to others. It is up to Himiko to find a way to restore her broken family and find her true place in society. The setting of this book is an imagined ancient Japanese society filled with spirits, gods, shamans, and ogres. The book, almost 500 pages long, allows the proper amount of time for character development. The plot is both interesting and entertaining, and avoids most of the cliched developments that many young adult novels employ. Most of all, however, this book is notable for its strong, diverse group of female characters, ranging from warriors and healers to wives, mothers, and churlish mothers-in-law. The problems of the old and the sick, both mental and physical, are dealt with, as are the rewards and crises that come with friendship and love. The consistent message in this book, that understanding and sympathy can lead to peace, is demonstrated through the actions of the various characters. These women do not live in a black and white world; their attitudes are complicated, and the consequences of their actions are often surprising. Because of the complex setting, characters, and themes, this book should appeal to older female readers. This is the sequel to Spirit's Princess, and it is probably best if the books are read in order for the sake of continuity. Reviewer: Leona Illig
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—This sequel to Spirit's Princess (Random, 2012) opens in ancient Japan with Princess Himiko, a young shaman and healer in training, setting out on a perilous journey to rescue her stepmother and younger brothers from the Ookami, the wolf clan that has taken them as slaves during a raid on her village. With her close friend and traveling companion, Kaya, she is taken into captivity by the Ookami on the orders of their chieftain, Lord Ryu, who holds a particular hatred for Himiko because of her rejection of his earlier offer of marriage. Using a combination of magic and will, the brave princess fights for her freedom and strives to unite the various clans, coming into her own as a shaman and leader. Friesner has created a magnificent story of a girl's rise to leadership that incorporates intricate and well-researched details of the complex societal, religious, and familial traditions of third-century Japan. This historical fiction/mythology/fantasy blend is perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce, Rick Riordan, and P. C. Cast.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375869082
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Series: Princesses of Myth Series
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 880,134
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Esther Friesner

Nebula Award winner ESTHER FRIESNER is the author of more than 30 novels and over 150 short stories. 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.

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