The Beast Player Review! // a japanese YA fantasy, and one of my new all-time favorites!

Hi friends! I randomly decided to listen to this one since I’ve been trying to read more translated books. And this? This was everything I could have ever asked for*.

*also quick side note: GO STREAM DYNAMITE. love y’all💜

Elin’s family has an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin’s mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety.

Alone, far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war? Or is there no way of escaping the terrible battles to come?

oh my gosh.

I seriously need to read more tranlated books. This was translated from the Japanese, and I think the translator did a truly excellent job because I never really had any comprehension issues while listening. Also a shoutout to the narrator, because her audio performance was fantastic!

Okay okay. The first 30 or so pages left me terrified*. There was no worldbuilding, I had no idea what was going on*, and I wasn’t accustomed to the writing yet. However, this quickly unfolded into one of the most poignant, beautifully crafted tales I’ve ever read. This chronicles a young heroine, as she learns her place in this world especially among two different species of magical beast.

*tbf when do i know what’s going on

Elin is an amazing main character. This is told in third-person, but in an almost omniscient way. So we watch her grow and develop, learn and study and question. Her love and curiosity for these creatures was so potent, it slipped off the pages and right into me. I DON’T EVEN READ ANIMAL-ESQUE BOOKS. I never had a horse phase. So the connection I felt to both Elin and the Royal Beasts surprised me.

On that note, the dynamic between Leelan (A Royal Beast) and Elin made me tear up. I can’t even begin to stress how perfectly done it was. ALSO THE NICE OLD MAN WITH THE BEES*. I LOVED HIM. Gosh, the characterization in this was so very lovely.

*look i remember his name but i have NO idea how it’s spelled. i’ll only embarrass us all if i try

A lot of people say this gives them Studio Ghibli vibes and I would totally agree!

Honestly, this book would make an incredible Ghibli film. The extent of emotions is nearly indescribable, but after finishing this, I had a similar feeling as to when I watch Spirited Away. Even the extended segment about the bees were just so…emotionally rich. SERIOUSLY IT’S ALL TOO GOOD FOR WORDS.

I also thought the addition of politics was very well-done. Sure, the history and intricacies were both confusing and victims of the villain that is the Info-Dump. But I personally could forgive that because they weren’t the point. This is a story of humanity, and the lack of it. It’s about the choices we’re forced to make, and the choices we make for others. I ended this feeling like I was soaring on wings, with tears brimming my eyes.

I would honestly recommend going into this one (mostly) blind! If you’re looking for a bloody, fast-paced fantay then this probably isn’t for you. But if you enjoy rich stories focusing on relationships, and you enjoy Studio Ghibli, then I’d highly suggest picking this one up. I know this will for sure make my favorites of the year and is definitely an all-time favorite now! Tell me:

What’s your favorite translated book?

Is this on your TBR?

Do you like Studio Ghibli?

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10 thoughts on “The Beast Player Review! // a japanese YA fantasy, and one of my new all-time favorites!

  1. You’ve totally sold me on this! I read a lot of manga but as far as translated novels–I definitely need to do better. I think the only translated novel from Japanese I’ve read so far is Dragon Sword and Wind Child which is also YA and I remember enjoying quite a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

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