Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Reverse Harem
A hidden world. An ancient power. A trio of hunky, dangerous shamans.
What could possibly go wrong?
When an ancient spirit awakens a hidden ability within Aika, grateful is the last word that comes to her mind. Being able to summon monsters and spirits to do your bidding might sound cool in comic books, but in real life it brings nothing but trouble. And between chasing after a medical degree, caring for her ailing mother, and running the family business, she’s got plenty to deal with.
Unfortunately, Aika doesn’t have the luxury of ignoring her new abilities. An ancient, powerful evil has taken her mother, and the only way to free her is for Aika to embrace her heritage. Luckily, a couple of hunky shamans have recently taken an interest in Aika, whose abilities are unique from others of her kind. They’re willing to train her, and even fight by her side.
But the more time Aika spends with her guys, the more she realizes that they might not be what they seem. The truth is just out of reach, and once Aika uncovers it, she’ll either find the key to saving their world…
…or destroy the best thing she’s ever had.
This was one of those impulse buys. I saw that cover, read that it had Japanese mythology and it was only 99cents, so I bought it. And not much later I started reading it. Ghosts and Grudges sure lives up to it’s title, it’s filled with ghosts and spirits. There’s a lot of Japanese mythology thrown in and the main characters are all Japanese as well.
The book starts quite quickly, we get introduced to the main character and then what seemed like a normal day turns into anything but that when she suddenly gains the sights and sees ghosts and jokai. The whole book is pretty fast paced and the events occur over the span of just a few days, but that makes sense given what’s going on.
I really enjoyed this book! I quickly got pulled into the story, although around halfway through there was a part I liked a bit less. There were some events that didn’t quite make sense to me and I felt like it went a little bit overboard with the fantastical elements there. It also turned out to be much more of a big scale plot than I initially thought. I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of the Kai plot line and something that gets revealed later in the book, but I am curious to see where it goes. The end has a nice twist that makes me curious about the next book.
I liked Aika as a main character, she wanted to help save her mother and jumps right into things to help her. It was nice that she got to use her new skills immediately, but I did think she learned everything a bit quickly, but something later in the book does make that more believable. I also liked how she seemed very reasonable and realistic. She might get jealous, but then later also understood why he acted that way or she felt overwhelmed and then was able to put things into perspective and know she wasn’t doing this for herself, but for others. She might get angry, but when people explained, she cooled down. I liked that.
There’s a bit of romance in this book as well. Although it’s mostly a side plot line, there was enough of it to get a feel for the romance. Although I wouldn’t have minded a bit more, but I hope we get more romance in book 2. We get to know two love interests and get some scenes with each of them. I did feel the romance. Although at first I mostly liked Raiden, but then later we get to know Shota a bit better and I changed my mind about him and liked him as well. And then Raiken has a bit of a temper later on, which I didn’t care much for. But it did all feel believable. Both guys seemed like a good match for Aika and I am looking forward to see the romance develop. I also liked how Aika was a bit confused at her feelings for both boys, especially as it’s been a while since she had a crush and now she crushes hard on two guys.
The world building was done really well. Basically is this a world in which all the Japanese mythology is real. There are kami, spirits and jokai. I also liked how the shamans could interact with the spirits and merge with them. And it was fun to get to know a bit more about Japanese mythology and some mythological creatures throughout the book.
To summarize: I really enjoyed this book! It’s filled with Japanese mythology, action and a good story. I liked Aika as a main character and we also get to know some side characters and two love interests in this book. The start of the book was really good, there was a part halfway through I cared for a bit less and I am not yet sure what to think of the Kai plot line. The ending has me curious for book 2. Overall I had fun reading this book and am curious how the story continues. I liked learning more about Japanese mythology and it really felt like the authors had done their research and knew what they were talking about. The world building was interesting and I liked reading about all the Japanese mythological creatures. If you’re looking for an action filled book with lots of Japanese mythology I would recommend you give this book a chance!