Please Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence the opinions of my review in any way.
Synopsis (From GoodReads):
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.
Two things I love in life: Fantasy and Japan. When I saw the description of this book, I got very excited. This is a middle grade book, but it held my interest throughout. This was an action-packed treat.
What I Liked:Premise:
Sora is a Kami (Japanese for god), and lives on Mount Fuji where she is the daughter of the leaders of all the immortals. This is a wonderful introduction to Japanese culture with a Shinto slant. This story moves between the spirit world (which seems to be perpetually in the Edo period between the 1600's to the 1860's) and modern Japan. I loved the idea of spirits, gods, and mortals and mixing with each other.
Sora finds out she is not a god (I'm not giving anything away as this is in the intro). As expected, she resists this reality and tries to continue to use magic and to do things as a god. But she can't. Throughout the story, Sora learns how to be human.
I loved how Sora came to appreciate what is meant to be human. However fun it was to have superpowers, there are advantages to being human. People are less predictable than gods, but also have a range of emotions that gods do not. As Sora starts to become more human, she must grapple with the concept of mortality. As frightened as this is, she starts to accept that her life will change.
What I Didn't Like:Since I lived in Japan for some time and know quite a bit about Japanese culture, I immediately understood the references the author made about gods. I think for most people reading this (particularly younger readers), some of the story made seem confusing. I wish the author would have spent some time explaining how the Japanese spirit world works, how shrines are laid out, and other things that would be new to readers outside of Asia.
Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Format: ARC E-Book
Recommendation: This was a fun adventure (Percy Jackson style) that I think middle grade readers will love.