Nahoko Uehashi's The Beast Player is an epic YA fantasy about a girl with a special power to communicate with magical beasts and the warring kingdom only she can save. Erin's family cares for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom's army. 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 discovers...