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.
With its breathtaking action, heart-wrenching conflict, and unexpected romance, this vivid standalone YA fantasy will delight fans of Julie Kagawa and Laini Taylor.
So I follow Megan Crewe on social media and she was talking about this book, before it came out. It intrigued me, even though its more out of my normal realm.
Just to be up front, when I started, I was a bit overwhelmed with the different names and beliefs. I was initially nervous because I was afraid it would be hard for me to keep everything straight. But it wasn’t once I got further into the story. I would say by Chapter 4, I knew I’d be fine. So realize that the first few chapters are where you’re learning the backstory and then the book just takes off from there.
This book was absolutely magical. Megan Crewe brings Japan to life in a way that I had never thought to look at it before. I felt like I was right there with Sora and Takeo, and everyone else. You could visually see the environments they were travelling through as the story weaves through Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, and other areas of Japan.
While we are seeing this battle happen between ghosts and the kamis, we are also seeing Sora battling through the new life that she had no idea about. I really felt for Sora. There is a scene, fairly early in the book, where Sora and Takeo meet with Sage Rin, who had told Sora’s “parents” about the prophecy, which then initiated the swap to keep the real kami princess safe. Sora is unsure about everything she is learning and Sage Rin is telling her that the vision isn’t always accurate.
As the story continues on, we see Sage Rin bring that point up to Sora again. I don’t want to leave any spoilers in my review, but as a reader, I took this as the lesson that we often hear about a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. I don’t know if a truly YA aged reader would pick up on that, but I did and I thought it was a great lesson for Sora to learn, even though I don’t think she fully grasps it until very near the end of the story.
There is just enough romance in this book to add an extra element, but it never overpowers the story, nor does it become the focal point of the story. I actually thought this was a smart move. You have Sora and Takeo, who have very different values than Chiyo (true kami princess), and her human boyfriend, Haru, and their friend, Keiji. So even though we see Sora and Keiji have a connection, and they share a few kisses, it never overtakes the story. Which makes sense to me. Takeo and Sora know they are Mt. Fuji’s only hope since they are the only two who, at the beginning, have gotten off of Mt. Fuji.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. As I said, initially I was nervous that I would have a hard time keeping everything straight since the names and locations are not as familiar to me. But I didn’t. The story kept me intrigued and guessing the entire time. I would definitely recommend this book, and it would also be a fantastic option for younger readers (I’d say in the teenage age range).