A Mortal Song – Book Review
My book review of A Mortal Song will contain some spoilers – you have been warned. This young adult fantasy-fairy tale novel by Megan Crewe was, in short, good.
I loved the Japanese setting, partly because I had been there. I have seen Mount Fuji – I have actually climbed it! I have been to Tokyo. I know what the inside of a high school looks like and I have certainly stopped at many of the numerous shrines that litter Japan’s landscape. Yes, they really are found everywhere.
I enjoyed the coming of age story as Sora discovers the truth about her family and heritage. The book took an interesting look at the idea of children swapped at birth. It explored the related emotions of learning your parents will tell lies, even though they still love you.
A Mortal Song has all the classic elements of a youth novel. The leads are children – well, I suppose at 17 they are more like young adults – who must save the world (or the mountain) including the adults. There is self-discovery, first loves, a bit of betrayal and monster fighting. I love that the ending does not hinge on the girl with the most powerful weapons. Words are just as strong as emotions and can overcome even the scariest of demons.
Our lead heroine, Sora, is believable. Her turmoil of emotions draw the reader through her joys, fears, and uncertainties. The relations she builds with the other characters are strong and realistic. The motivations are clear. The threat of Mt. Fuji’s anger is felt by the rest of the world. This creates a solid connection between the fantasy of the story and the world in which the story is set. The stakes are real for the characters.
Despite the Japanese influence in the setting, character names and religion, the books is not overwhelmed with Japanese words. It is very accessible. In fact, I would have enjoyed a little more reference to Japan’s culture and language, but recognize this may not be approachable for many readers. The notes and pieces that were included felt well-researched and authentic.
A Mortal Song is filled with solid writing, a fast-paced plot and characters the reader can relate to. The journey of Sora teaches us that being human is a good thing. In fact, even humans can help the kami and prevent mountains from erupting. The ending is bitter-sweet in the way that growing up is.
For a star rating, A Mortal Song gets 5 out of 5. Great writing and solid story.