A Mortal SongWritten by Megan Crewe
(Another World Press - 9/13/2016)Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC (316 pages)
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.
FTC Disclosure: This book was provided to me from the author or publisher (NetGalley), free of charge, with the understanding that my intention is to read it and provide feedback in the form of an honest review. I am not compensated in any way in exchange for positive reviews, and I don’t let anything other than the book's contents affect my opinions and review.
I requested this book on a whim, but the Japanese setting and the kami lore intrigued me enough to dive right in. I’ve noticed a trend in my YA taste these days, and it’s for books that steer away from the trends and norms we see so much of in YA lit. This might be the very first book I’ve read that’s set in Japan, and it was such a welcome change.
Crewe has a wonderful way of introducing you to the kami and ghost lore, allowing you to feel a familiarity and comfort with it very early on. The way that ki (energy) is used, consumed, and shared was a different sort of magic system than you’d typically read in a fantasy novel.
I think one of my favorite parts about A Mortal Song, though, is the way Crewe challenges — or maybe breaks — the tropes. Sora starts out thinking she’s The Chosen One, the one about which prophecies have been spoken, the one who will someday have to save the world. But when the truth is revealed and she realizes she’s NOT the important one, she has to deal with so much introspection and struggle that’s refreshing to see teen lit. I very much enjoyed her journey of growth and self acceptance throughout this book, and I like that she was definitely not the only one who had to face personal challenges — they all did!
I don’t want to say too much more for fear of spoilers, but I do recommend this book! Whether you read it for the lore, for the setting, for the story, or for the character growth, it’s going to be an enjoyable experience.