SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
In the shadow of the forest, the Night Parade marches on...
The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother's village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family's ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.
But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked...and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth or say good-bye to the world of the living forever.
While I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would, it's still an interesting read.
In The Night Parade, Saki and her family visit her grandmother during a festival. Saki doesn't want to be there at all, and doesn't put a lot of effort into doing the tasks asked of her. In town, she meets a group of kids who dare her to participate in a game. Her actions have consequences, however, not just in her world, but in the spirit world as well.
To be honest, the main reason I requested this book was because the blurb made me think of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. After reading it, I'd say it's Spirited Away meets A Christmas Carol meets Disney. The spirits, her journey in between the spirit world and the real world, the quest, and even Saki herself, did make me think of Spirited Away. However, when I think of Miyazaki's work, I imagine more muted colors. There's something about this story that makes me think that if it were translated into a movie, the colors would be more vibrant.
The Christmas Carol comparison stems mostly from the three guides who help Saki as she tries to find a way to break the curse. As for the Disney part, that comes from the characters' dialogue and pretty much everything after Saki stumbles upon Tsukumogami Village. Tanuki, Saki's third spirit guide, also reminds me of a mix between Pip from Enchanted and Mushu from Mulan. The way he talks seems very Western even when compared to the others, much like Mushu's dialogue in Mulan.
The story was action-packed, and each day Saki tried different routes and ways to solve her problem. I also liked how the spirit world and the spirits themselves were presented. There were some bad spirits, tricky spirits (like the fox/kitsune), neutral spirits, and there were the good and sweet spirits. I didn't really have a favorite character, but I do have a favorite scene. This was the part wherein the ogres and the object spirits started to become friends.
Saki, though, wasn't really my cup of tea. She started off quite whiny, and it wasn't until about halfway through the book that she seemed to grow a backbone. She irritated me quite a few times because she tended to waste valuable time questioning everything and seemed to have little sense of urgency at crucial moments. However, I did like a couple of the ingenious ideas she came up with during her quest.
Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for the e-ARC.
- There are some adorable characters here.
- It's a good take on how the physical world affects the spirit world, and vice versa.
- It's a fun read.
- Saki can be irritating sometimes.
READ IT IF:
- You like novels set in the spirit world.
- You like Disney movies.
- You like adventures and quests.