Pairs Well With: apple cider; the jumpiness, due to the cinnamon and the sudden turn in the years of this book, adds a certain tingling sensation that leaves you interested and wanting more. Warm—or cold—the sweet notes of Autumn apples relax you. Apple cider is best enjoyed on cool, cloudy days.

Genre: Fantasy/Adventure 
Author: Nahoko Uehashi; Translator: Cathy Hirano
Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Cups  

Synopsis: An award-winning coming of age tale, which features several kind soul guides. Elin, our hero,  is orphaned and as she grows up, she learns more about the winged wolf-like beasts that protect the supreme ruler. But soon a threat emerges, and she may have to call upon her allies as weapons of war. Will she be able to save herself and the animals she has grown to love? Or will she fail entirely?

Overall Impression: The book, The Beast Player, affected me in ways most books can’t. It made me cry when Elin loses her mother prematurely, and it made me laugh at the odd, funny parts. Overall, I was fascinated by an author from Japan, and their writing, along with the way Miss Uehashi wove the ventures and discoveries of the maiden into the history of the land. 

The Cheers: I enjoyed The Beast Player because of the laughable friends she makes; because of the headmistress; and because of the guardian who sends her on the path of becoming a beast doctor. I loved how she communicates with the beasts. And I also loved the emphasis on the natural world and all of the wonder it holds. The way the author wrote made me want to stay within that world, and never leave.

The Hangover:  I felt a little dissatisfied with the ending. Elin flies away and you would think that another chapter follows, but no. Nothing follows. Just blank pages. I felt dissatisfied with this because it just drops off and I don’t like that. Afterward, I learned—through the sequel—that originally The Beast Player was a single book, and not meant to be a duology. This means that the original book was meant to have an open ending. This is the only bad part, because I prefer closed endings.   

Corking The Bottle: After reading The Beast Player, I wanted to read the sequel, The Beast Warrior. But mostly, I was satisfied with the book by itself. I wish apple cider and the book were everlasting, but unfortunately, the cork has to be put in eventually. I hope that you will also like this book and that it is accessible to you. 

Good Readings To You and Good-Bye! 

—Illyanna Greene

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