A Mortal Song
Publication date: September 13th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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
“So what other supernatural creatures do we have to watch out for?” Keiji asked. “Shape-shifting foxes? Slimy kappa? Two-tailed giant cats?”
“Probably all of them.” The thought made my skin crawl. But Keiji glanced around eagerly as if he hoped to spot one. “You didn’t know those things really existed until two days ago,” I said. “Why did you bother learning so much about them?”
“I might not have known, but I believed it was possible,” he said. The path narrowed as it cut through the forest along a particularly steep section of slope. The ground below us fell away amid the knobby roots of the trees and stalks of bamboo. “And also, ah, it totally annoyed my aunt and uncle—they didn’t think I should be reading anything except my school books until I was getting top marks. When I was little, there was a while when I’d decided they had to be evil spirits and if I just found a way to prove it, my brother and I would get to go live someplace else. Ha. After that it just sort of stuck. It’s kind of reassuring to imagine there’s more to life than grades and getting some upscale office job and working until you die, you know. Ogres or not, I’d rather be out here than back there.”
He swung his arm toward the vista beyond the trees.
“This sage we’re looking for,” Keiji added, “she’s the one who had the vision? What exactly did she see?”
“She didn’t tell us a lot,” I admitted. “There was something about darkness coming over the mountain, and then Chiyo takes up the three treasures and drives it away.”
“So she saw a vision of a girl with purple ponytails and puffy socks? I guess that helped narrow it down.”
The corner of my mouth twitched up. “I don’t think so,” I said. “It was more… metaphorical, but we know it’s Chiyo because—”
A black shape shot out of the underbrush near Keiji’s feet. He flinched away with a yelp and tripped over a root. I caught his wrist as his arms flailed, but he was falling so fast he pulled me off balance too. We toppled over the edge of the path together.
We slid several feet down the slope, Keiji on his back and me on my side, before my hand caught a bamboo stalk. My elbow twinged as we jerked to a halt. Midori, who had leapt from my hair as we fell, hovered above us.
A large black rabbit hopped across the trail of broken ground left in our wake and darted off through the bushes. Keiji watched it go and started to laugh.
“I thought—” he said. “I thought—” He was gasping too hard to finish the sentence. I looked down at the two of us, dirt-smeared and breathless for fear of a rabbit, and all the tension I’d been holding in broke with a giggle.
Keiji shook his head, moving as if to squirm upright, and his shoulder bumped mine. He froze. I turned to find his face only inches away, his bright eyes fixed on mine. The air he exhaled grazed my cheek.
It was the perfect time for him to make one of his jokes. I braced myself for it. But he just looked at me as if I were as magical as the creatures he’d spent his whole life wishing to meet.
My heart started to pound. Gazing back at him, I could almost believe it myself. I wanted to fall into that look in his eyes.
Before I quite knew what I intended to do, my head dipped. I caught myself. And in that moment’s hesitation, Keiji seemed to wake up beside me. He shifted the short distance upward and brushed his mouth against mine.
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can’t look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there.
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