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! 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:
- Follow @booksfemme and @Pushkin_Press on Instagram
- Like the post (same photo as the image on this review)
- 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)