A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

I was lured into A Mortal Song purely because of the Japanese Kami folklore appeal. Period.

Now maybe "lured" probably sounds like a negative word but trust me, A Mortal Song soars on the back of the kami essence that peppers this whole book. and it's blends fantastically well to create a unique urban fantasy story set in modern-day Japan.

So I didn't really notice that it was firmly, a YA book aimed at younger audiences and so it did take a while for my 'adult' senses, tuned in to the grim, dark violence and all the gritty circumstances that typically 'define' my favorite books of late, to be turned off. And sadly for me, it never really turned off. And that interfered a bit with my love for this book.

A Mortal Song by Megan Crew is my first book of hers - and it has got a great premise for it going. What if you aren't the chosen one and your whole life ( all sixteen of it spent honing up and prepping for responsibilities and... magic!)  just got whisked away from under your feet on the day of your birthday?

Sora, a young Kami ( Spirits of nature, divine beings as believed by the shinto faith) goes through this revelation/shock of her young life at the exact time that her place of abode on Mt. Fuji is attacked by ghosts. It's a period of extreme transformation for a soul, so young at sixteen but Sora is a fighter at heart. And she takes these shocks head-on.

Aided by her bodyguard from her days in the palace, a handsome young man called Takeo ( Yeah. The right hand corner of that "triangle") she sets out to save her people up on Mount Fuji, including her own family from this vengeful demon who's escaped from hell to rain hell-fire on everybody on earth including the handful of people who had killed him. [ psycho, right?]

So to actually save the people and to keep Mount Fuji from erupting as all the kami around are dying or being killed by ghosts or ogres, Sora has to go on a quest - to find the right heir to the Palace, the girl who is the chosen one. Who is currently unaware of her powers and is in high school in Tokyo city. Does she convince Chiyo, the actual heir to come back to save her spirit world and how they actually do it, forms the rest of the story.

So in terms of narrative, it goes like a straight arrow - not too many unpredictable twists or turns. And the love-triangle that Sora gets trapped in, was a bit flimsy, more of a distraction than actually ingrained in the story. But there are quite a few pleasant ideas explored in the book, backed by solid research and that shines. There are tons of action - with ghosts taking ethereal forms and switching to their corporal forms, ogres and demons of various sizes and shapes. Pretty engaging and novel concepts of fighting. Much like the song, I pretty much soared through the book as its a pretty light read and Megan, with so many YA books under her belt, can definitely spin a yarn.

Coming down to the characters who live the book, Sora was the sole one who mattered. And she's a fantastic person - a first person narrative helps us get into her conflicted confused head. A brave, selfless person who knows her priorities and will stick by it. Keiji, the geek-boy who follows Sora and gang from the city into the Mountain side, was an interesting character as well but sadly didn't go through so much of a development. There is no time really - the pacing of the story was such that we are all carried away into the thick of things with the Mt.Fuji threatening to explode and the ghost-lord hell-bent on his revenge. The conclusion of the whole drama, though was too simplistic and easy and that definitely disappointed me.

In addition, the other characters like Takeo, Chiyo or Hiro were all cardboard cutouts with no real depth. especially the chosen one, Chiyo was a royal pain in the backside with her flippant attitude towards her own responsibilities and power. Almost blew me off the read.

So while in itself, the book had a pretty interesting concept, the story that wrapped around it, was way too simple to leave any impact on me as a reader. It's a light easy read and probably, a younger audience would totally dig this one but for me, it was a one-time affair. 


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