The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
The Beast Player
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Elin's mother has a very special job – caring for the magical Toda which protect their kingdom. But when something goes wrong, Elin must flee and begin a new life, where she discovers an astonishing ability to communicate with creatures.
Following Elin as she grows into a young woman, The Beast Player is a gripping story of a girl standing up for her beliefs and uncovering her talents. But it's also a sophisticated, subtle tale full of difficult choices, ethical dilemmas, switching allegiances and heartbreaking moments.
Nahoko Uehashi has created a fantasy world that feels utterly real and it's impossible not to be hooked even in the quieter moments of the story. But it all culminates in a climax that will have you turning the pages so fast your fingers will hardly be able to keep up.
The Beast Player, translated into English by Cathy Hirano, is already an international bestseller and has been adapted into an anime series. And it's easy to see why: the story feels like something really fresh and different, and the intricate language and thoughtful tone is a real joy. This is definitely a book to treasure.