A Mortal Song

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A Mortal Song
Author(s)
Age Group
12+
Published Date
September 13, 2016
ISBN Number
978-0993980688
ASIN Number
      

Sora's life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie. Heir to Mt. Fuji's spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother's last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents' true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world's natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess. As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she's ever known. With its breathtaking action, heart-wrenching conflict, and unexpected romance, this vivid standalone YA fantasy will delight fans of Julie Kagawa and Laini Taylor.

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Overall rating 
 
4.8
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Young adult readers are in for a treat.

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

The Story:
Sora is a Kami, one of the mythical beings who live atop Mt. Fugi. When the palace is attacked by a blood-thirsty demon and his horde of ghosts, Sora must find the three objects which will help her band of friends take back the mountain. But the way is paved with shocking revelations about who Sora truly is, and if she does not face this self-discovery head on, the future could end in disaster.

The Characters:
The Author is very comfortable dealing in the ‘greys’ of what makes a character right, or wrong. The protagonists make mistakes, forgiveness has to be earned, and we see that even the good characters have their demons. Each minor and major character has a background and a purpose. We empathize with the antagonist despite his evil actions.
Sora is not your everyday princess. Her Kami upbringing has made her humble and wise beyond her 17 years. Yet she struggles to understand why she is not like other Kami on the inside, and why she is so drawn to the humans in the town at the base of Mt. Fugi. Sora is multi-faceted, endearing, intelligent and a pleasure to read.

The World:
An urban fantasy set in Japan. The insertion of the magical elements in an otherwise normal Earth is cleverly introduced in the starting chapters. We get a clear sense of the Kami people, who take all kinds of shapes and forms, and the concept of Ki. Through the later chapters, where there are many characters in different places, it became necessary to pause and figure out where Sora was in relation to everyone else — this was also true of a few of the action scenes where many characters were being juggled simultaneously. However, the authenticity shines from this piece and, overall, the setting is highly intriguing and well-developed.

The Readability:
Beautifully written. The themes of patience and compassion, forgiveness and humility, are strong. The pace is steady, and the world-building so unique the story stays with you after reading. There is good balance between information and action.

Final Verdict:
We’ve all read the classic rags to riches story, but in A Mortal Song, Megan Crewe delivers the opposite, and the result is gripping. Nothing about this book is typical; not the characters, nor the world. Young adult readers are in for a treat.

Favorite Quote:
“Faster,” Takeo whispered.
I sent all the energy I could summon to my feet. We darted around trees and through bushes, the ghosts’ furious shouts trailing after us. My lungs burned, but I kept running, on and on, past the houses of the town and the farmlands beyond it, long after the voices behind us faded away.

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Overall rating 
 
3.0
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interesting

Sora has been raised by the kami in Mt. Fuji and enjoys her life with her parents and her best friend, Takeo. On her 17th birthday, a demon attacks Mt. Fuji with an army of ghosts and only Sora and Takeo are able to get away. The visit the odd Rin, who can see the future vaguely but not interpret it. Rin reveals that she is not kami but rather a mortal human who was switched at birth (and then with odd specificity tells them where the kami actually is). Takeo and Sora seek out the kami with whom she was swapped at birth. They find Chiyo, who is glowing with kami energy, and who does not have any interest in being a kami.

As the lives of all the kami at Mt. Fuji and possibly the whole world are at stake, they convince Chiyo, and are joined by her boyfriend Haru and random fan, Kaiji on their quest. The story is told from the first person POV of Sora, who is your typical teenager. She feels betrayed by her parents, disappointed in her true self, and lied to. Instead of letting it all fester, she decides to prove them all wrong and she certainly does.

I found it a little slow in parts in the first half of the book, but then it became rather action packed towards the last half of the book. There is a lot of set up for the world and Sora's feelings/thoughts. They are all justified but it made the book a little younger than what I typically like in a YA book (read as an adult). Perfect for younger readers. There is some romance, but it is very clean/sweet. I did not predict it, but I like how it evolved.

I feel like more background on the kami would have been helpful for the complete novice (me). I ended up doing research as I read and then things started making a lot more sense. Crewe has done her research well- too well perhaps to assume most of us would understand to basics! ;) It was easy to research and interesting to learn about, so maybe it was for the best!

I also agree with another reader- why not water guns? I was thinking there has got to be an easier way, but I liked the ingenuity and Sora's ultimate role in it all. You can see Sora mature into herself in the book, definitely a coming of age type of novel. I'd highly recommend it for younger teenagers, as I think it's got some good lessons about potential, maturity, and making your own destiny. Sora is a strong female role model (albeit still young), but is nice to see for younger girls.

Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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