Mortal Song hooked me with the interesting premise, following an Unchosen One in Japan. There were a lot of ups and downs, never sinking below “Okay” or rising above “Better”, leaving it an average 3 stars.
It was an easy and quick read, but I was never fully immersed. I was aware that I was reading and of what I was reading the whole time. There’s plenty of action and problems to keep it moving, but I think I’d liked it if that was sacrificed to flesh it out more.
I will say though, only some issues were felt while reading. The rest came in when I sat down to write this review and the more I thought, the more I realized.
After it all, Mortal Song was worth reading for me but I wouldn’t call it satisfying. It’s complete and I’m moving on. What I really have a hankering for now though is something more authentic and immersive. I don’t think I’ll find another quite like Mortal Song though, so it’s too bad I didn’t like it more. I certainly wanted to.
A Mortal Song
by Megan Crewe
Publisher: Another World Press
Release Date: September 13th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy
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.
"Megan Crewe's A Mortal Song is engrossing from the first chapter. The world of the kami is beautifully fantastic and delicately drawn, and the switched-at-birth scenario made me instantly feel for both of these resilient, brave girls. A Mortal Song has lots of magic, lots of heart, and lots to love." -Kendare Blake, author of Three Dark Crowns.
|The Good||The Bad & The Other|
|+Liked Sora & Keiji||-Chiyo was flat|
|+Liked the romance||-Beginning and ending felt rushed|
|+Liked the kami and different mythological creatures||-Very action-oriented and not enough depth or details for me|
|+Solid premise||-Wanted the premise to play out differently|
|+Loved how the motivations and backstory of the ghostly invasion||-Plot problems|
The beginning was interesting but had rough spots. Mostly tied to characters who should know this shit acting dumb so someone can explain it to the readers and repetition. Did you guys know The Seer’s prophecies are vague and obscure? Like really? And she hasn’t changed! OMG!
It got better once they were around humans to play the audience substitute.
Unfortunately, there is one glaring plot hole I caught right away, one “Uh, when was this decided?” missing piece, and a “why didn’t they think of or mention that?” misstep. It is possible to ignore it but it sticks out memorably after reading. Of course, I wasn’t immersed either so it didn’t kill my enjoyment as much as usual.
What kept me going throughout it all was Sora and her Unchosen One story line. But that didn’t last all the way through. It became a sort of mish-mash of Chosen One sub-tropes which ends up being kinda-sorta-not-really different. This along with more rushing and logic leaps like the beginning is what really brought the ending down.
While I enjoyed the action in between, it was a bit much. A Mortal Song could’ve used less of that and more depth to bring it to life. I wanted to get lost in this world, but couldn’t, like music that’s out of tune.
I know this sounds allll negative and I hate that because it was enjoyable. I liked how they thought their way through the myriad of problems and obstacles. I loved Sora and Keiji, separate and together. There was a twist I didn’t see coming, which I obviously can’t reveal. The reasons behind the ghostly invasion and its leader were perfect that again, I can’t discuss. Music was important to Sora and the kami with it being laced throughout and was rather touching. It was great meeting the different kinds of kami and mythological creatures.
I don’t want to call it shallow, but it didn’t go deep enough for me. It focuses on action and isn’t very descriptive. I wasn’t immersed; I was aware that I was reading and of what I was reading the whole time.
Wouldn’t there be more to it? What about the origin stories and famous kami? No thoughts on how wrong the modern depiction is of kami? Or is it right? Wouldn’t the humans ask questions like “How true are the legends? The animes?”
Crew did her research. It does show throughout the novel and in her author's note but I still felt something was missing.
It’s interesting for those that aren’t familiar with Shinto and kami but doesn’t have the same soul.
A Mortal Song focuses on Sora’s character progression and inner turmoil amid the action. I liked Sora and the issues she was grappling with. It was a great journey from beginning to end. I appreciated her romantic problems and thoughts on the matter. However, she’s marred by plot twists that make her another special snowflake and ruin the initial premise I loved.
Keiji was a loveable, adorable geek. Behind Sora, he was my favorite. However, that’s hardly surprising given how one-dimensional the kami were, which was on purpose but disappointing.
Chiyo was a major disappointment. She seemed really human at first and became the Chosen Magical girl stereotype. She should’ve been fleshed out more. Not only would it have been enjoyable, but it’s add balance and reinforce the themes of A Mortal Song. Takeo was kami too, but didn't have the same characterization issues as her.
Decent read I don’t regret but it wasn’t what I was expecting or ultimately looking for.
If it sounds interesting, I’d preview it to check it out. Buying an e-copy, reading it on Kindle Unlimited, or borrowing it would be a great idea if we’re similar readers, though the cover is gorgeous.
I also think if you don’t like Sora, you won’t like A Mortal Song.
But the determination on his face and the conviction in his words plucked a chord deep inside me, a sound I hadn’t known I was longing to hear.
As much as I was frightened for them, in that moment I was even more afraid of what would become of me.
“You know, it’s really not so bad kowtowing, if you’ve got the right girl in front of you.”
Because he was human, and that was what being human meant, wasn’t it? Changing all the time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she's spent the last six years studying kung fu, so you should probably be nice to her. She has been making up stories about magic and spirits and other what ifs since before she knew how to write words on paper. These days the stories are just a lot longer.
Megan's first novel, GIVE UP THE GHOST, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Her second, THE WAY WE FALL, was nominated for the White Pine Award and made the International Reading Association Young Adults' Choices List. Her Fallen World trilogy (THE WAY WE FALL, THE LIVES WE LOST, THE WORLDS WE MAKE) is now complete and she has a new trilogy forthcoming in October 2014, beginning with EARTH & SKY. Her books have been published in translation in several countries around the world. She has also published short stories in magazines such as On Spec and Brutarian Quarterly.
A Huge Japan-Themed prize:
The prize includes all of the following Japanese media and treats (all books in English translation and all DVDs with English subtitles):
Books: Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi and Death Note Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba Anime series (DVD, complete collections): Cowboy Bebop and Princess Tutu Anime movies (DVD): Grave of the Fireflies and Princess Mononoke Live action movies (DVD): Battle Royale and Hana and Alice 3-month Japanese snack box subscription: WOWBOX (your choice of type)
A MORTAL SONG Japan Extravaganza Giveaway!