So, let's start with the good about this book. First off, it's set in Japan and has a rich tie to Japanese lore, which I loved. I've always found Shinto to be fascinating, with its deep reverence of the Kami, who keep our world whole and healthy. It's hard not to fall in love with the concept of nature based spirits, and their ability to interact with our human world. I was really impressed that Megan Crewe decided to base A Mortal Song in this faith, and thrilled that ki flowed through these pages.
Sora and Midori are also a very strong aspect of this story. Although Sora has other relationships that make their way onto the page, Midori is her link to the world of the Kami. Their bond is one that goes beyond physical contact, or even the deepest emotions. I loved how linked they were and, most of all, how appreciative Sora was of everything she had been granted. It's wonderful to see a character who actually understands everything they have to lose.
Which brings me to the things I had a tougher time with, mainly Chiyo. I have to give credit where credit is due. It was pleasantly surprising to find out that, although Sora begins this story, she wasn't actually the "chosen one". Seeing what it's like to be the one on the outside, the one who wasn't considered to be "special" was a nice change. The downside to this, is that the book didn't give much attention to Chiyo's overall character development. She felt flat to me, and a little bit flippant regarding her newfound destiny. It drove me a little batty, to be honest. I felt sorry for poor Sora, more than anything.
In fact, had this story simply focused more on Sora and the Kami I would have been smitten. The fact that Sora had to deal with her basic humaness was a great story line. I wanted more of that. More introspection, more newly found inner strength, and more of her growth. As it stands, a vast majority of this book is nothing but battle scenes. It makes the second half of the book very stagnant, since it feels like nothing but battles are happening, over and over. If this were an anime, it would be perfect! In this case I wanted more flowery writing and character growth. Oh, and less instalove please.
As you can see, this book falls right on the fence for me. Thus, the three star rating. There's a lot to love in A Mortal Song. Its premise is rich, and actually pretty well explored here. I just wanted more, so I'm hoping that I'll get what I was missing in the next book.