One of my favourite things in the world is reading a book that challenges my assumptions, and one that holds true to classic mythology. A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe captures all those elements in a heart-warming story about choice, new opportunity, and maybe a little destiny, An exciting, well-written read, I highly recommend it as a standalone for anyone looking to adding a unique YA urban fantasy tale to their library. NOTE: I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the kind of person who tries to pick out the ending of the story as she reads along. I know, I’m awful, but I can’t help it sometimes! I just read so much and begin to make predictions about how I think the story will go. So I was pleasantly surprised when A Mortal Song didn’t go the way I thought it would. After that, there were dozens of twists and turns, though the majority of the story lay in the subtext, which was masterfully woven to reflect on the pain of letting go, acceptance, and adapting to your surroundings and finding a new path.
Sora is a great character. She’s strong in everything she does and immensely courageous, willing to put her feelings aside temporarily to do what has to be done. I loved the side characters Takeo and Keiji, and Chiyo was an absolute riot. What I loved about the villains was that they weren’t inherently evil. They had their own justified reasons for their choices, and weren’t evil for the sake of being evil.
But my favourite element was the mythology. While it’s one of my favourite cultures to read about, I’m rusty with my Japanese lore. To have it refreshed accurately was an absolute joy and added another beautiful element to the story. I loved the variety of the kami, their personalities, how different spirits were interpreted, and how combing them as a whole gave the story made it seem more like a fantasy than I expected from its modern setting.
The writing was stellar, and I can see why it was praised by Kendare Blake (yes, that Kendare Blake). I’ve seen this book floating around newsletters and my Goodreads feed for a while now, and I was so happy to have gained the opportunity to finally read it. Crewe is definitely an author to watch out for.