REVIEW: The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi & GIVEAWAY! (ENG+NL)

The Beast Player: 5/5
Author: Nahoko Uehashi
Publisher: Pushkin Press

“There were times when she felt herself become a prick of light in the vastness of the night sky, times when all living things, people, beasts and insects, dwindled to equal points of light twinkling in the darkness.”

This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Hi friends! biggrin If you’re following me on Instagram, you might have seen me talk about this certain book before. Because I’ve talked about it quite a lot, and I will probably keep doing so for a while because (spoiler:) IT’S AMAZING. Truly, wonderfully amazing. And I want to explain to you exactly why I loved this book so much, but I also have an exciting announcement to add to that: Pushkin Press has agreed to collaborate with me to bring you a giveaway for The Beast Player. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for more information about that!

First off, I want to take a moment to appreciate the beauty that is the cover of this book. So many people have DM’ed me on Instagram after I put it in my story saying stuff like “This cover is gorgeous!!!” and I couldn’t agree more. What makes me even happier is that the inside is just as beautiful. To provide you with a small bit of background information: The Beast Player was translated into English from Japanese, and it was first published in 2006. The book has been wildly popular in Japan, and they even turned it into an anime called Kemono no Sōja!

In The Beast Player, we step into Elin’s journey. At the very start of it, to be precise. She’s still a young girl living with her mother, who takes care of the Ruler’s vicious water beasts called Toda. After a horrible accident and the death of the beasts under Elin’s mother’s care, things take a dramatic turn. Elin’s mother is sentenced to death. Before she dies, she manages to send Elin to safety, away from the people that did this to them.

It’s at that moment when Elin’s journey really starts. For the first part of the book, she is traumatized by the loss of her mother, but she gets taken in by a friendly beekeeper named Joeun who treats her as his daughter. She learns a great deal and develops a strong admiration for learning and for beasts of all sorts (see the quote I chose to display on the top of the post). In the second half of the book, Elin lives at the Kazalumu Beast sanctuary, where she is training to become a Royal Beast doctor. But when she finds out she has a way of communicating with these beasts no human has been able to for centuries, things get dangerous very quick…

The characters are a big, big reason as to why I loved this book so much. Where many YA Fantasy novels tend to craft the main character into something otherworldly and untouchable, Elin is a breath of fresh air. She’s smart as hell and super resourceful but in a very ordinary and relatable way. The beauty of this book is that you feel like you grow older and wiser alongside Elin, as she journeys through the lands and her life. The people she meets along the way are inspiring, interesting and loveable and among them is also a very well-crafted villain.

It took me about 2,5 weeks to read this book, which is a long time for me. But the reason I did this is that I wanted to savour the book for the sake of getting every ounce of beauty and every layer of the story out of it, slowly. There are so many wise lessons to be learned from this book, but to me, the most important one was that even in the face of many extraordinary circumstances, life, ordinarily, still comes to kick you in the ass (to put it bluntly). 100% recommending this to each and every one of you.





For a chance to win one of two copies of The Beast Player, this is what you have to do:

  1. Follow @booksfemme and @Pushkin_Press on Instagram
  2. Like the post (same photo as the image on this review)
  3. Tag three friends in the comments

Optional for an extra entry:

  • Subscribe to my blog (+2 entries)
  • Leave a comment on this review (+1 entry)

The winners will be announced and contacted in the week after Easter (due to exams I cannot give a specific date). GOOD LUCK! biggrin

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  1. Another amazing review! I’ve been following your instagram account for months and I even picked up a couple of books sou recommended and loved it. Thank you so much!

    1. That’s amazing to hear! It seriously makes me so happy when people actually pick up books I recommend. Good luck!!

  2. I didn’t even know you had a blog I (naturally) subscribed to your blog. I am so excited to read The Beast Player and I’m pumped to see you have a giveaway going! Fingers crossed (because you know how badly I want to read this, haha).

  3. Oh my gosh this book sounds amazing! My sister loves wolves and so I think she would absolutely adore this book! It has such a gorgeous cover oml

    1. It IS amazing! The Royal Beasts in this book are actually a combination of a wolf and a very large bird, which is even cooler, haha. Best of luck to you :)!

  4. I hope I’ll win this giveaway. I’ve been dying to read this. 1. I adore Japan and everything attached to it. 2. LOOK AT THE COVER 3. OFCOURSE the plot seems amazing!!!! Hope I can win.
    Instagram: mrs.azita

      1. Fingers crossed!!! Winner will be chosen randomly, so let’s hope you’ll get lucky :-). I love Japanese culture too, have you ever watched Terrace House on Netflix by any chance? It’s really fun and interesting too!

    1. Ahhh so glad I took some of those doubts away – even if you wouldn’t win the giveaway (trust me, I wish everyone could win) you should definitely consider picking this up :-). Good luck!

  5. This book is gorgeous and ever since you talked about it on bookstagram I’ve been wanting to read it. It’s such a cool concept and sounds like some cool characters. Im excited

    1. Seriously one of the best books I’ve read in a while! I’m glad to have made you want to read it, haha! Fingers crossed 😀

  6. WOW dat klinkt als een heerlijk boek dat je in een ruk wilt uitlezen. Hoe je de info van het boek opschrijft vanuit jezelf vind ik zo fijn. Ik weet precies welk boek er als eerste op mijn lijstje staat. P.S. Succes met je examens en alvast fijn pasen

    1. Ahhh zo tof dat mijn review je een beetje warm heeft laten lopen voor het boek, haha! Het is zo prachtig mooi geschreven en je gaat echt van elk moment genieten. Ik zou willen dat ik iedereen kon laten winnen en ervaren hoe mooi dit boek is! 🙂

      Heel erg bedankt en jij ook!!! En succes met de giveaway (fingers crossed).

  7. The cover of this is just beautiful! Makes me want to really grab and read it. And your review makes it all the more interesting. Thanks for holding this giveaway 🙂

    1. And the best thing is that the inside is just as beautiful! You’re so welcome, let’s keep our fingers crossed! 😀

  8. Hi Femke,

    This truely sounds stunning, I’ve been really getting into a lot of middle eastern and Japanese literature at the moment, including Silence by Shusaku Endo which I believe has been turned into a film! Your instagram posts and website are really brilliant. It’s proving great inspiration for my own blog, Booktoria which I’ve recently revamped and set up. Keep up the great work!

  9. Okay I’ve never seen such a beautiful cover. Seriously.
    Amazing review, just makes me want to read the book now! X

  10. Ha Femke!

    Haha ik ben echt aan het strijden om dit boek te winnen! En super leuk om nu abonee te zijn van je blog! Dit boek klinkt echt superb. Ik ben momenteel ook japanse fictie aan het lezen en het bevalt zeer goed. En met name het fanatsy genre lijkt me geweldig om op deze wijze te verkennen (japanese style). Op hoop van zegen.✨❤

    Liefs, Sanne

  11. Om heel eerlijk te zijn wist ik niet dat je een blog had ik volg je al een tijdje op instagram, maar van je blog was ik nog niet op de hoogte .. het ziet er allemaal in elk geval heel erg leuk uit! Ik heb me gesubscribed (?) ! Hele leuke review, ik was al heel erg nieuwsgierig naar dit boek, maar je review heeft me zeker helemaal over de streep gehaald !

  12. The winner has been announced on my Instagram. Congrats to @thebooksbuzz and @cam.serre. I wish I could have sent you all a copy, and I hope you stick around, I might host another giveaway soon. Thanks all for participating!!!

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