#ThanksgivingReadathon | as #JorieReads and discovers her *first!* book hug: “A Mortal Song” by Megan Crewe

Posted Wednesday, 21 November, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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This lovely readathon is hosted by Jackie @DeathbyTsundoku

You can find the Announcement Page on her lovely blog!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

There are some stories which feel as if their world is not wholly unfamiliar to us, as if our first entrance into their setting is a returnt visit rather than the initial immersion! This is how I felt about reading A Mortal Song. The story which was unfolding right before my eyes was the kind of story you truly are hopeful to discover – where the author & the world they’ve left behind for us to find is achingly lush and spilling out into your imagination as if you’ve crossed this fantastical threshold many times and have become so familiar with what you’d see, you do not need a guide nor a map in hand to find your way again.

Of all the stories I borrowed from the libraries, this was the one I was most anxious about – I had no idea if it would even arrive in time, as I had to fetch it through inter-library loan – so imagine my happiness in finding it amongst the #libraryhaul selections I collected just ahead of the #ThanksgivingReadathon getting underway! It felt rather kismet – I was meant to read this story right now and it was a story which would evoke such an awareness of itself inside my mind, if I had been able too – I would have truly done as I tweeted: forsaken sleep and DEVOURED it straight-through on Wednesday night!

However, as I revealled on my #ThanksgivingReadathon TBR post – a serious back injury prevented me from being able to sit, type and read for any length of time. Hence why I grabbed an hour here or a few hours there between Wednesday & Friday to where I could chisel down my library holds into the thirteen stories I was most anxious to read in full! A Mortal Song simply percolated to the top of the list as soon as the world gave me something I was seeker as a reader who loves to #EnterTheFantastic whenever she can!

Nothing about Thanksgiving week went according to plan – not in the hours to read, not in the hours to plan a Thanksgiving feast and surely not, the ‘day’ in which we’d celebrate Thanksgiving. For starters, Mum was called into extra & double shifts – blessedly, our family is the most adaptive when it comes to holidays, as it was something we were always doing when my Dad worked as his industry was 24/7 as much as Mum’s is now. We decided we could cook the bird on Friday and feast after her shift; which turnt into cooking the bird from 8p to 1a on Friday rather than the morning/afternoon until after a double shift we decided a lighter dinner of chicken melted cheese sandwiches was closer to being a cosy comfort than a full-on turkey dinner with the fixings! Thereby, we re-shifted our plans once again – to where the bird is cooking happily in the oven (today) which is Saturday, by 7a the day of the #Mythothon chat! (hence why I’m trying to get two of my posts up on my blog ahead of it!)

Travelling back to Wednesday, a day and night which altered itself per hour – Mum and I found ourselves in a neighbouring towne, shopping for last minute bits for Thanksgiving and our weekly groceries – as sometimes, you just want a switch-up from going to your regular local haunts as it can become a strain of familiarity. Not to mention, our local shoppes and stores were more Grinch than Eggnog cheer this year; so by switching cities, we were able to find the ‘jolly’ we were dearly missing otherwise!

It was here, amongst free samples from cooking demos, bakery delights & deli specials we found our little cozy comfort of joyfulness the holidays generally exhume into our lives!! It was on our return trip where everything went slightly haywire – we passed by a petrol station and that is where our lungs & our eyes were inundated by a petrol leak! It contaminated the air in the car & I personally could not breathe – I have horrid environmental & seasonal allergies – which wasn’t helping at all to curb the smell – as I was trying to breathe through my shirt (and failing miserably!), I told Mum to head towards the diner which was slightly outside of the city back towards home.

There was wood smoke outside and petrol in the car – ironically enough with a biting chill to the air which gave us the most hope of all the smell would erase whilst we were tucked into the warmth of the diner. This is after hours for most places – well past the hour you’d think a place would be open but it is one of those dives you can’t help but return due to a kind-hearted staff and cosy comfortable foods! I grabbed all the bags full of our food choices and slammed the doors to walk in the brisk air and try not to hyperventilate in a delayed panic reaction to lack of breath!

As we made our ways into the front section of the diner (as who knew they’d be slammed the day before Thanksgiving?) – we settled in for coffee and conversation, as what is better than recovering from such a horrid and putrid air attack than coffee & a fireside chat!? I looked at the side dish menu of the day and spied a favourite: fried okra! Ooh, yes, please! We ordered a basket (which was plenty to share for two hungry foodies!) with bleu cheese dressing (beyond YUM) and had an unlimited mug of java to keep the conversation flowing!

The interesting bit is one of the waiters thought I was hyper excited due to the coffee – what he failed to know though is I’m naturally hyper and coffee actually has the reverse effect on me – it calms me down to my bones! I was so chill it was hilarious! What he mistook for coffee induced reactions is I was seriously on a high of love for A Mortal Song as I had just spent a considerable amount of time fully animated (with hand gestures!) discussing the ENTIRE 25 pages I had read earlier in the day!!

I wanted Mum to experience what I had experienced – thus, I tucked straight in- talking about the kami – from the crane and the monkey; commenting I hadn’t realised monkeys would be so keen for styling hair til Mum reminded me that Steve Irwin (we’ve been thrilled to bits the Irwin’s are back with their new show “Crikey! Its the Irwins” which we’re LOVING) met an orangutan who not only climbed down the tree – *he played with his hair* – I added! Ooh, I had forgotten that!

We didn’t even see the crowd in the diner, nor realise about twenty minutes went past before my mug was re-filled as they were making fresh decaf (I like to drink half/half so I’m not drinking straight fully loaded cuppas) – we were so invested in the moment, the height of the revelations and the curiosity of what is coming *after!* those first twenty-five pages! I am not even sure if anyone overheard us if they would understand the conversation as I was even delving into how Sora could morph dimensionally through solid rock of Mt Fuji!!

I’ll never forget Wednesday – the best gift I gave myself was participating in the #ThanksgivingReadathon – similar to July when I was participating in the INSPY Reads readathon – I’ve noticed, sometimes I need a proper nudge to get me back into the stories I most desire to read. Sometimes I need to pull myself out of my routines and rhythms and simply focus on a niche of literature I’m either wholly passionate about (like INSPY) or keenly curious over (such as Mythological After Canon Fiction) – it allows you to step through literature in a condensed state of concentration and walk out the other side with a renewed passion for reading, discovery of the stories and a better sense of who you are as you evolve through a new heightened layer of being an inquisitive and intuitive reader!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

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My #25PagePreview of the VERY first #Mythothon story which gave me such a warm bookish hug & inspired me to have a coffee klatch discussing it as if the pages were re-illuminating in front of my cuppa!

during the 2018 #ThanksgivingReadathon !!

A Mortal Song badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit jorielovesastory.com

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

was happily #borrowed via my local #library!

It ought to go without saying, but I am sharing my bookish ruminations for my own edification but also in a continued method of sharing my bookish life to help my readers find their own #mustreads and follow my own readerly journey into the stories I’m reading myself. I was not compensated for sharing my opinions and thoughts herein.

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A Mortal Song
by Megan Crewe
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, YA Fantasy

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780995216907

Published by Another World Press

on 13th September, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 380

Site | @megancrewe | Pub’d by Another World Press
*Ill’d (inter-library loan)

Notation on Cover Art: I was truly taken by the artistry of the cover art design for ‘A Mortal Song’ as it held my eye, never letting turn away and told a story of its own! I love artwork like this which is custom made for the story – it gives you more dimension and a hugged in feeling as if the artist and the writer were in symmetry with each other! I had such high hopes for this one – I had no idea between the evoking artwork and the promise of the premise, I would literally find my first #Mythothon selection I wanted to hug + shout out about to the world!

A bit of a background – I personally have loved Japanese culture, tradition, customs and art ever since I was a young girl as my maternal grandparents were collectors of their art and music. I grew up knowing quite a bit about Japan as a result from a cultural perspective whilst as I grew into a teen, I started to correspond with Japanese friends through postal letters, enhancing my knowledge of their customs (such as the tea ceremony) and the contemporary living histories of my friends as we would exchange memories and traditions in our letters. As an adult book blogger, I learnt more through my readings of the Shinobi / Hiro Hattori novels by Ms Spann, as her stories are set in the 16th Century but illuminated as if we were time travelling straight back into that era and can alight as if we’re meant to live then rather than now! Thus, finding a story involving the ‘kami’ was another element of intrigue for me and one I wanted to readily explore.

Dear hearts, this novel was published in [2016] and I must confess, my copy of the novel appears to have been read either by readers who leave no trace like I do for having read their stories OR I’m the first bookish heart whose graced the pages with her imaginative heart. Either way, it felt super special dipping into this world and seeing the wonders which IMMEDIATELY started to unfold!

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The very first paragraph within A Mortal Song reminded me of how much I ache to re-gain my lessons in Tai Chi, as ki was being discussed as all life energy generally is for having either a positive, negative or neutral effect on the person whose ki is afflicted or affected by either external or internal conflictions. I felt I could immediately thread myself into the context of this story as through Tai Chi, I’ve learnt a great deal about chi which is also known as ki – as they are two routes towards the same revelations. Also, within the opening pages, I started to notice a lot of cross-similarities between Chinese and Japanese cultural heritage threading through their Mythologies and Folklore traditions. I was curious if others had noticed how similar they are and how if you’ve read one of them, you can immediately begin to read the other with a construct of familiarity which helps you move into the newer world your just beginning to understand?

As we were beginning to realise this character, whose voice was strong and self-assured – was a kami I decided to postpone researching what a kami is until I concluded my preview of the novel. I wanted to gleam as much as I could before I learnt what is known about the kami as this is sometimes the best way to evolve into a fantastical story – letting the writer take you into their world and give you reasons to understand their world as only they can tell you the facts. I did know one thing – visually, this novel was self-evolving into a wondrous adventure!

Just the fact Sora could dimensional shift out of sight of others – to where she was amongst them but never visible, as she had an innate way of cloaking her identity and her sentient self from their purview was immensely curious! I knew I wanted to know more about these talents she was showing us she had but also, how humbling it was she wanted to be ‘close yet removed’ from the people who lived below the giant mountain she called home herself: Mt Fuji. Almost as if her curiosity for others was stemming from a caretaker’s perspective as she felt compassionately invested into their well-being. Yet, she remained aloof – peering into their lives like an outsider and never letting her presence affect them as they lived. It was here where you saw the complications of being her – of having to remain true to herself but also, with an awareness of life that is both difficult to handle (as she knew this man she was seeing was terminal and at the end of his life) and soul-catching, as life is a cycle we all must learn to both bear and accept at some point in our lives.

The manner in which Crewe writes A Mortal Song is an awareness of how to make a fantastical ethereal world such as this one illuminate to a reader immediately after having entered it! She pulls you through an emotional hook in the first chapter, you identify with Sora due to her nature but also, how the world round her is shifting and drawing itself into a crisis. There are many factors happening all at once – setting the stage for you to be fully immersed but with a heightened sense of danger percolating round the edges, too.

There are certain things which are not described (as of yet) during the first twenty-five pages – such as the fact in the premise, you know Sora is a human changeling – I wasn’t sure if this is similar to my readings of shapeshifters or a wholly new experience in of itself. I knew this much, Sora was living her life as if she was rising to the destiny she felt she need to embrace – in these early pages, you can tell how turning seventeen is not just pivotal for Sora but necessary! She is starting to grow into her voice – wanting to assert herself more to her parents and strike a balance between what they feel she ought to be doing and what she herself, feels she is ready to handle. She wants to take her training to a new level – to rise into what she has the knowledge to understand as being her destiny and to fulfill what is what she believes is her obligation out of the training and preparation she has been giving thus far. It is here you feel her angst and wish this for herself; as why would a parent want to hold back a girl whose as talented and ready as Sora?

Sora has been with the Nagamoto’s for such a long period of time – this in of itself was also fascinating to me – as it showed her dedication but also, how much she wanted to become a part of something she was seeking – it felt to me, Sora missed this kind of family where everyone is inter-connected to each other, happy to be in the company of one another and share the little moments which knit out all our happier memories of being together. Family is such a ready concept permeating through this opening of the novel – especially as you move into Sora’s family, how her parents you can tell care about her but they have distanced themselves emotionally; perhaps the first clue I noted about her actual heritage of reality; meaning, an inkling of a clue Sora is different than the daughter you presume.

As Sora recognises Mr Nagamoto cannot be healed nor saved for this world, the narrative shifts into discussing how he might entertain being reincarnated into the world he’s known in a manner of approach where he could still live with a nearness of his family but from afar; such as the tree or the koi; they would offer him the closeness of observation even if the tangible elements of connection would be gone, he could see oversee their lives. This is sentiment I think anyone who has loved and lost their loved ones can attest as being a comfortable notion. It speaks to how ‘letting go’ of our lives and the ones we care about feels impossibly difficult but if there was a way we could linger a bit longer – to see what becomes of them, to see how they grow and how their lives expand after we’ve gone – who wouldn’t want to embrace that concept? That kind of second grace?

Crewe finally reveals a bit about who the kami are – they are the spirits who protect the Earth, guard the fiery depths of Mt Fuji and try to keep a semblance of balance for the people who populate the regional area; either through environmental or spiritual interventions. They are the ones the people pray towards but do not readily believe are still ‘of their world’ – almost, it would seem Cora is talking about how the kami have become redundant; they are artifacts of the ‘old world’ and haven’t been recognised as they ought to be in the contemporary one. It is even stated that the people watch tv and accept fictional fantastical realms but to agree the kami are still relevant to their everyday lives, you gather the sense this is not true to their current ideologies.

We shift away from the humans in the story and re-alight onto Mt Fuji, where for me, the fantastical mythological aspects of the story starts to come into the full light of centre! It is here where we get to peer closer into Sora’s life and the world she occupies as a kami. Takeo is her childhood friend who was a palace guard – someone who was indebted to watch over her and to train her – this is an interesting friendship Sora is revealling as she has developed feelings for Takeo. The ways in which Crewe describes their clothes and their mannerisms adds to the layers of the cultural heritage, giving us a strong impression of where we are visiting and how their cultural identity is being evoked through their clothes.

The toll of not understanding her truer nature is weighing on Sora – it comes out in how she’s trying to sort out why her parents don’t want her to undertake the next levels of her training and how she is ready to find fault within herself which has nothing to do with the truth. She is seeking an answer where one does not exist as the question she is using as her baseline is the wrong one to ask; but of course, she wouldn’t know this and can only go by what she is experiencing as the daughter who is having her wings clipped by her parents.

Aside from the kami, there are ghosts on Mt Fuji – it was interesting seeing how differently the ghosts interact with Sora and how Sora interacts with the rest of the environment. They are two unique entities of this world – the ghosts of course, are not meant to linger such as they are in this state as oft as they do; almost as if they forgot how they were meant to transition. This made sense as we’re meant to understand a bit of their nature before the attack on Fuji which is about to take centerstage!! As Sora and Takeo are making their way back into the palace they call home, you can feel a disturbance is growing – there is something rather wicked about to erupt and the horror of the unknown – of not understanding what is causing the attack itself is just as rivetingly anguishing for us the readers as it is for Sora and Takeo who are experiencing it directly!

Ooh dear, it wasn’t the monkey, it was the robin! I misremembered the wrong animal doing the wrong preparations for Sora! The robin did her hair, the monkey helped her dress!

I was truly excited about the ki game Takeo and Sora were playing as she was getting ready to celebrate her birthday – it spoke to how ki can be manipulated but also, the strength of how you have to develop the ways in which you use it. I even liked how Crewe gave us this small glimpse into the kami themselves; as despite their purpose in life, they also know how to have a bit of cheeky fun!! I love when stories which you know are going to be severely dramatic to read – push you a bit away from that evolving drama to give you a reason to smirk and smile. It cuts down the thickness of the plot from overtaking you and lets you remember for all the tragedies in life, we also have to hold-fast to the lighter moments which lighten our souls.

There was barely time to react or to think of a way to circumvent what was happening to Sora and her family. Her parents disappeared so quickly, I could barely sort out where they were going – Takeo was entrusted with getting Sora out of the fray which was slowly become a nightmare in her cherished home! The intruders were being led by a demon and the army were the misguided ghosts who were not under their own mind (or so it appeared) – being led to do horrors to the kami who were such gentle spirits (at least til now) who only wanted to be caretakers and protectors to those of whom they took as charges or to the natural environment in which they over-watched to ensure sustainability.

It is here where you feel emotionally gutted as why did something so atrocious have to happen on her seventeenth birthday? It brought to my mind, there is an important reason the attack happened now, and perhaps, this would effectively bridge the gap between what we know of Sora in the here and now, and what we haven’t been told about her nature. My favourite moment of this dramatic shifting in the narrative is how Sora escaped from the demon and those horrid ghosts! This is where we get to better understand how she dimensionally shifts and how she can use her talents for self-preservation.

By the time I reached the twenty-fifth page – I seriously was in want of more of this STORY! The character of Sora had become so dearly attached into my readerly heart, I was not in want of escaping her world. As I had reshared this reading experience with my Mum lateron that night, I could barely believe so much had happened in such a short period of the novel’s life! It gave me a bolt of joy knowing there were more layers to uncover, more insight to gather and more fantastical goodness to experience! This was the first story I started reading which gave me a hug of JOY to read and I couldn’t have been happier for being a participant of #Mythothon which enabled me a way into a hidden niche of literature I was now wholly enthused over reading!

The additional blessing of focusing on a binge fest of reading these #Mythothon selections during the #ThanksgivingReadathon knows no bounds as it gave me a re-entry of sorts and I was reaping the rewards of this focused time in my life! I’m hopeful I have enough hours before the readathon concludes to where I can experience this novel in length and find out what becomes of Sora, her family and Takeo!

Verdict? (see also this tweet!) & (see also this tweet, too!)

How do you prepare yourself to extract yourself from a WORLD you’re so dearly captured by you literally can’t think of anything else but ‘turning’ the next pages, falling further into the story and sorting out the Mythos along the way? I dearly wanted to stay up through the night & simply DEVOUR this until every last word was breathed into my imagination – however, life has a strange way of working against you at times! My back pain & injury left me unable to devout the night to “A Mortal Song” but my mind & heart never fully left its world; the pull it had on me was FIERCE!

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What is on your #ThanksgivingReadathon #MustRead List?!

And, are you going to be reading Mysteries throughout December like I am!?

What are your favourite Autumnal & Winter Reads?

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#Mythothon banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Cristina Gottardi

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{Sources: Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #Mythothon banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Cristina Gottardi; #ThanksgivingReadathon A Mortal Song badge (Photo Credit jorielovesastory.com) and #ThanksgivingReadathon banner.}

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #ThanksgivingReadathon 2018

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 21 November, 2018 by jorielov in #Mythothon, #ThanskgivingReadathon, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, RALs | Thons via Blogs, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

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2 responses to “#ThanksgivingReadathon | as #JorieReads and discovers her *first!* book hug: “A Mortal Song” by Megan Crewe

    • Hallo, Hallo Shirley!

      Thanks for dropping by today! :) I really was torn up about having to let this go back to the library… I wrote this post and was trying to do a night binge read where I could stay within this beautiful world the author created for us, except between life evolving into the hours and being ill as well, I suddenly found myself without an extension of hours to where this needed to boomerang back to the library! *le sigh* It is the first book I am going to re-borrow in the New Year once it has a chance to clear through my ILL list. I was truly swept into the mythology and the whole concept of the spirits and ghosts as presented by Crewe!

      I hope you’ll find the enchanting beauty resonating with you, too!

      PS: I’ll share more about this as soon as I get the book back! It is definitely one I’d love to own one day for my personal library, too.

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