With A Mortal Song, author Megan Crewe poses the question: what would happen if a heroine with magical powers, prophesied to save the world, turned out to be a regular old human with no special abilities instead?
This is the situation faced by Sora, whose life is turned upside down when she finds out that, despite being raised and trained as a kami – a powerful Japanese spirit-being with a strong connection to nature – she is human, not the real daughter of the parents who raised her, nor the would-be hero of her people. When her home on Mount Fuji is seized by a demon, Sora is duty-bound to the friends and family she grew up with to join her love interest and lifelong friend, Takeo, in his quest to find the real kami, train her, and help her achieve her destiny as saviour.
Sora’s journey is arduous to both spirit and body, but it is also revelatory. As she loses touch with her borrowed kami powers, Sora also finds that humans, including herself, are full of surprises. In finally accepting that she isn’t who or what she believed, Sora is faced with a future that is completely unknowable – her destiny is in her own hands.
As with her previous books, Crewe toys with the boundaries and tropes of science fiction and fantasy, making A Mortal Song a truly enjoyable read. The story incorporates Japanese folklore and myth. The magic of the kami and the not-so-chosen-one character of Sora are especially appealing. While the pace is somewhat cumbersome due to lengthy sections of dialogue and a few too many action sequences, the book is still a can’t-miss for fans of Crewe’s previous titles, those interested in Japanese culture and folklore, and voracious science-fiction lovers. Readers will not be disappointed as they follow this relatable and compassionate heroine on her way home, wherever that home may be.