Twelve Kingdoms - Paperback Edition Volume 4: Skies of Dawn
2 journalers for this copy...
This book introduces two other young female characters, each of whom will have a powerful effect on Yoko - and vice versa. We meet Suzu, a young Japanese girl who falls into the Twelve Kingdoms and becomes a much-put-upon servant to a cruel mistress - who makes her immortal so she can serve forever. Yeah. Then there's Shoukei, the pampered daughter of a cruel and dishonorable king; when her parents are executed by rebels, she's permitted to live but only as a lowly servant in a remote village. Both girls find ways to leave their desperate circumstances, hoping to meet Yoko, king of Kei, having heard that she's a girl of their own ages - but Yoko's left her palace in order to learn more about the land she now rules, since she's had serious problems getting her ministers to cooperate with her and fears her own judgement.
The book ranges from complex political plots to touching, sometimes tragic, sometimes awesome personal relationships - friendships, family, newfound loyal supporters in unexpected places... I was delighted to see Rakusun again, the shapeshifter who's usually in the form of a five-foot-tall mouse but sometimes takes human form. He's a scholar now, thanks to Yoko, but finds himself helping the other girls when their paths cross.
Yoko herself has a lot of learning to do, and once she realizes that the people she'd chosen to believe when she first took the throne had motives of their own, she digs in and looks for the truth behind the words - and the deeds. Great story!
The Twelve Kingdoms Vol. 1: Sea of Shadow
The Twelve Kingdoms Vol. 2: Sea of Wind
The Twelve Kingdoms Vol. 3: The Vast Spread of the Seas
[There's an extensive TV Tropes page on the series and the anime, with some entertaining tidbits.]