Lets start October reviews off right for real now! I’ve caught up on all the old reviews, essentially, so now new ones! Two spooky Reviews coming at you immediately!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani
Synopsis From The Book
Seventeen-year-old Kira Fujikawa has never had it easy. She’s bullied by the popular girls in school. Her parents ignore her. And she’s also plagued with a secret: She can see yokai, the ghosts and demons that haunt the streets of Kyoto.
But things accelerate from bad to worse when she learns that Shuten-doji, the demon king, will rise at the next blood moon to hunt down an ancient relic and bring the world to a catastrophic end.
Not exactly skilled at fighting anything, much less the dead, Kira enlists the aid of seven powerful death gods to help her slay Shuten-doji. They include Shiro, a kitsune with boy-band looks who is more flirtatious than helpful, and O-bei, a regal demon courtier with reasons of her own for getting involved.
As the confrontation with Shuten-doji draws nearer, the fate of Japan hangs in the balance. Can Kira save humankind? Or will the demon king succeed in bringing eternal darkness upon the world?
Fantasy | YA – PW |Gore, Demons, Bullying | Family, Identity, Freedom, Coming of Age
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Okay. So I have this book to read this month, making it the third I will finish this month. The other two being Amber Spyglass and The Poppy War. It is very interesting, it seems, from its synopsis. But like all books rn. I just don’t want to read them. I really got into my crafts, so getting back into my books is going to take some motivation for myself. I figure I’ll love it when I finally read it tho.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Okay, so that felt a lot like manga. Not gonna lie, I could see all the inspirations when I was reading it, and when I got to the end I was like. Oh. The book was not bad, very entertaining. I do with it were a bit darker. The beginning was very dark, but I feel like the book lost some of that edge as it moved on. The end battle also felt a bit rushed for me, in comparison to some of the other fights. It was a fun read, however, for the need of being the shounen nerd that I am.
The novel opens with Kira being bullied by older classmates, for not being good enough to be at her school. She is a scholarship student at an elite academy, and they beat her for it. She does not cry, and goes to the shrine her family controls, with her little sister. While she is sweeping the shrine she hears a children’s song in the wind and sees a fox oragami statue on the ground. She picks it up and continues to sweep when she sees another near the shrine’s pond. She takes the second and realizes she lost the first and hears the song again. Quickly she goes to her grandfather who tells her to find her sister and to hide. She does so, and the world around them is attacked by the yokai – demons- who kill her grandfather.
That night she and Shiro, on of the priests of her shrine whose brother helped lead the attack on the shrine, goes with her to his mother in Tokyo. They learned that the attack happened because a powerful yokai, Shuten-doji, is trying to wake up from his forced slumber, and his followers are trying to collect the pieces of the sword that destroyed his body. They go to Shiro’s mother who tasks them with finding seven shinigami to help her create a way to destroy Shuten-doji. Shiro and Kira manage to find one shinigami who might join them before they return to Kyoto.
Kira talks with her parents, who are angry she disappeared for days, and then with the police. She goes to live at the shrine. There she finds the shinigami she recruited along with another. The second, Roji, trains her. Shiro enrolls at Kira’s school to protect her. They find a third shinigami in Kyoto. Days pass and one day after school, Kira is attacked by a Shinigami, Yuza, and Shiro’s mother arrives to take her down. They control her, and that leaves Kira with only needing to find one more shinigami to help her. O-bei, Shiro’s mother, and Shiro’s brother, Ronin, are on Kira’s side to a degree. The next day, Kira is confronted by her bullies and she punches one in the nose, breaking the girl’s nose.
Kira’s parents arrive at the shrine to tell her she might be expelled, and she tells them what happened. That is when a yokai attack occurs, and Kira’s mother reveals that she can see and tried to keep Kira away from the life, but failed. The next monday, Kira’s mother says that Kira won’t be expelled as long as she formally apologizes. That she talked with Nanao’s mother, the girl Kira punched, and were able to reach an understanding (basically threatening her saying that Nanao was bullying her daughter) and all is made well. Kira returns to the shrine and falls in a well, when she and Shiro find the place where they think the shard of the blade is hidden.
O-bei tasks Yuza and Kira with the mission of stealing the rest of the sword. They go into the demon world to do so, killing many yokai along the way, but the sword is already gone. They return to the shrine to find the Ogre who did steal the sword shards. Kira tries to put it together, asking her grandmother for help and failing. Kira’s parents arrive and say they were selling the shrine to try to protect her and she rejects their help. The battle begins and Kira and the others struggle to fight. O-bei dies protecting Kira. Kira meets her ancestor, who teaches her how to put the sword together and then they fight Shuten-doji. She has to destroy her grandfather, who was turned to a yokai, before she can kill him. She does so, and the world is saved.
Eight weeks later a person comes by with contracts for Kira telling her that when she turns twenty-one, the shrine would be transferred to her for ownership. She asks Shiro who bought it and he tells her, he’ll never tell her. (Which is a reference to the beginning, I believe, when O-bei said she was never wrong. I think O-bei bought it, and either Shiro or Ronin got it from there)
What I Liked:
Shiro; I always will have a soft spot for foxes and fox spirits. So fox spirit boys who help the main character through the plot? Sign me up to love them! I really want to know more about his family. I do hope that he gets his tails one day!
O-bei; She was creepy and cool all at once. I know the Shinigami were designed after the Death Note and Bleach shinigami, and she really sat in that sweet spot. She was interesting, cool, and a deeply dark character. My friend and I tried to see if her name was an official name, but we didn’t find anything, but her titles were super cool.
The other Shinigami; They also sat in the spot that is between Bleach and Death Note Shinigami. O-bei was the best, but they were pretty good in their own ways. I did wish to learn more about them all.
Kira; She was a good protagonist. I appreciate that after her one month of training, that she wasn’t fighting on the level of the others. She did her best, and watching her grow was great. I hope that everything works out for her with controlling the shrine in the future!
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Use of words; Now. My Japanese friend did convince me to accept that it was probably a stylistic thing. The “tch” and “tsks” that are standard in Japanese manga and literature as sound effects that have no standard translation but are a noise most will understand. My issue wasn’t the use of sama, senpai, and chan, as those are standard and do not have a standard translation into english as well. My issue was “baka” which was used so often in the text, where other than names and modifiers, there were no other uses of most Japanese phrases. It felt off and set my pet peeves blazing. For it wasn’t like things like a song said once in Japanese and then in english to translate. No, this was weird almost fourth wall breaking at times. I sent a lot of screenshots to my friend who reminded me it was similar to Light Novels, which made me accept it a bit more, but still it felt wrong. Because it drew attention to the fact that they were speaking Japanese, when it was implied that they were the entire time. My friend said it’s probably because idiot, is not used the same way in english as it is in Japanese for baka, which is why it felt off to use idiot for the same thing. Either way, its not a deal breaker.
Lol we had a lot to say about the characters. Mostly that they were not that well developed, and very surface level. There were only two of us, so we talked a lot more about anime than the actual book. Whoops.