Mortal Song hooked me with the interesting premise, following an Unchosen One in Japan. There were a lot of ups and downs, never sinking below “Okay” or rising above “Better”, leaving it an average 3 stars.
It was an easy and quick read, but I was never fully immersed. I was aware that I was reading and of what I was reading the whole time. There’s plenty of action and problems to keep it moving, but I think I’d liked it if that was sacrificed to flesh it out more.
I will say though, only some issues were felt while reading. The rest came in when I sat down to write this review and the more I thought, the more I realized.
After it all, Mortal Song was worth reading for me but I wouldn’t call it satisfying. It’s complete and I’m moving on. What I really have a hankering for now though is something more authentic and immersive. I don’t think I’ll find another quite like Mortal Song though, so it’s too bad I didn’t like it more. I certainly wanted to.
The beginning was interesting but had rough spots. Mostly tied to characters who should know this shit acting dumb so someone can explain it to the readers and repetition. Did you guys know The Seer’s prophecies are vague and obscure? Like really? And she hasn’t changed! OMG!
It got better once they were around humans to play the audience substitute.
Unfortunately, there is one glaring plot hole I caught right away, one “Uh, when was this decided?” missing piece, and a “why didn’t they think of or mention that?” misstep. It is possible to ignore it but it sticks out memorably after reading. Of course, I wasn’t immersed either so it didn’t kill my enjoyment as much as usual.
What kept me going throughout it all was Sora and her Unchosen One story line. But that didn’t last all the way through. It became a sort of mish-mash of Chosen One sub-tropes which ends up being kinda-sorta-not-really different. This along with more rushing and logic leaps like the beginning is what really brought the ending down.
While I enjoyed the action in between, it was a bit much. A Mortal Song could’ve used less of that and more depth to bring it to life. I wanted to get lost in this world, but couldn’t, like music that’s out of tune.
I know this sounds allll negative and I hate that because it was enjoyable. I liked how they thought their way through the myriad of problems and obstacles. I loved Sora and Keiji, separate and together. There was a twist I didn’t see coming, which I obviously can’t reveal. The reasons behind the ghostly invasion and its leader were perfect that again, I can’t discuss. Music was important to Sora and the kami with it being laced throughout and was rather touching. It was great meeting the different kinds of kami and mythological creatures.
I don’t want to call it shallow, but it didn’t go deep enough for me. It focuses on action and isn’t very descriptive. I wasn’t immersed; I was aware that I was reading and of what I was reading the whole time.
Wouldn’t there be more to it? What about the origin stories and famous kami? No thoughts on how wrong the modern depiction is of kami? Or is it right? Wouldn’t the humans ask questions like “How true are the legends? The animes?”
Crew did her research. It does show throughout the novel and in her author's note but I still felt something was missing.
It’s interesting for those that aren’t familiar with Shinto and kami but doesn’t have the same soul.
A Mortal Song focuses on Sora’s character progression and inner turmoil amid the action. I liked Sora and the issues she was grappling with. It was a great journey from beginning to end. I appreciated her romantic problems and thoughts on the matter. However, she’s marred by plot twists that make her another special snowflake and ruin the initial premise I loved.
Keiji was a loveable, adorable geek. Behind Sora, he was my favorite. However, that’s hardly surprising given how one-dimensional the kami were, which was on purpose but disappointing.
Chiyo was a major disappointment. She seemed really human at first and became the Chosen Magical girl stereotype. She should’ve been fleshed out more. Not only would it have been enjoyable, but it’s add balance and reinforce the themes of A Mortal Song. Takeo was kami too, but didn't have the same characterization issues as her.
Decent read I don’t regret but it wasn’t what I was expecting or ultimately looking for.
If it sounds interesting, I’d preview it to check it out. Buying an e-copy, reading it on Kindle Unlimited, or borrowing it would be a great idea if we’re similar readers, though the cover is gorgeous.
I also think if you don’t like Sora, you won’t like A Mortal Song.