March 4, 2023

BLOG TOUR Momo Arashima Steals the Sword of the Wind by Misa Sugiura

Hi friends! I'm excited to be a part of the tour organized by TBR and Beyond Tours for Momo Arashima Steals the Sword of the Wind by Misa Sugiura. Check out my post below to learn more about the book and the author. Make sure you check out the tour schedule and show the other host some love!

About the Book

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Mythology
Publishing date: February 28th, 2023

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  Indigo | IndieBound

Rep: AAPI – Japanese

All Momo wants for her twelfth birthday is a normal life–a life like everyone else’s. At home, she has to take care of her absentminded widowed mother. At school, kids ridicule her for mixing up reality with the magical stories her mother used to tell her.

But then Momo’s mother falls gravely ill, and a death hag straight out of those childhood stories attacks Momo at the mall, where she’s rescued by a talking fox . . . and “normal” goes out the window. It turns out that Momo’s mother is a banished Shinto goddess who used to protect a long-forgotten passageway to Yomi–a.k.a. the land of the dead. That passageway is now under attack, and countless evil spirits threaten to escape and wreak havoc across the earth.

Joined by Niko the fox and Danny–her former best friend turned popular jerk, whom she never planned to speak to again, much less save the world with–Momo must embrace her (definitely not normal) identity as half human, half goddess to unlock her divine powers, save her mother’s life, and force the demons back to Yomi.

Content Warning: misogyny inherent in some of the background mythology

REVIEW of Momo Arashima Steals the Sword of the Wind by Misa Sugiura
Rating: 4 Stars
Format: eBook (Courtesy of Publisher and NetGalley) and Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Labyrinth Road

Reading is a great way to learn about different cultures without ever leaving your home - in particular, I’ve always loved learning about the mythology of different cultures. Misa Sugiura’s newest middle-grade novel, Momo Arashima Steals the Sword of the Wind, brings readers on a modern adventure through Japanese (or Shinto) mythology and folklore. Our heroine, Momo, is an ordinary (if a bit unpopular) middle school kid who’s grown up on stories of kami, shapeshifters, and monsters for as long as she can remember. After her mother becomes ill, Momo quickly learns that all of those stories are real and she must stop the monsters from escaping and wreaking havoc on the world. 

The mythology and folklore of Japan is rich and expansive, and that’s reflected in the world-building the author crafted in the book. Ms. Sugiura includes a lot of different references, which could be overwhelming in some cases, but I felt she did a great job providing enough context and details through which readers can understand their role in the story. I appreciate the tips on keeping snacks on hand whenever I’m being chased by a shikome, and the insights regarding how to outsmart kappas. Some of my favorite parts of the world-building were learning more about the backstory of Momo’s mother, the mystery of Danny’s connection to the spirit world, and the danger that Momo is tasked with stopping. 

In addition to the mythological and fantastical aspects of the book, Ms. Sugiura also includes important social commentary. Momo, like many other kids her age, wants nothing more than to fit in. Danny, Momo’s unexpected sidekick, was once her friend but eventually evolved into becoming one of Momo’s bullies. The story features how their friendship collapsed, how awkward it is to go on a quest with someone you don’t get along with, and how the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Race and culture play a factor as well - Momo has grown up immersed in Japanese culture and stories (albeit to her detriment socially at times), while Danny’s adoption by white parents and lack of knowledge about his birth parents has made it such that he’s encouraged to do whatever he can to fit in, even if that means denying his heritage. 

Sara Matsui-Colby did an excellent job bringing Momo’s perspective and all of the various character’s voices to life with her performance in the audiobook version of the book. Overall, this was an excellent book and I’m excited to read future installments of the series. Middle-grade readers who enjoy books like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, Lori M. Lee’s Pahua and the Soul Stealer, or Jesse Q. Sutanto’s Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit will undoubtedly find themselves invested in Momo’s story. 

Thank you to the author, the publisher Labyrinth Road, NetGalley and the team at TBR and Beyond Tours for providing me with a complimentary review copy of the book as part of my participation in the blog tour. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review the book immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed Momo Arashima Steals the Sword of the Wind. All opinions expressed in the review are my own, and not influenced in any way. 

About the Author

Misa Sugiura’s ancestors include a poet, a priestess, a samurai, and a stowaway. Her first novel It’s Not Like It’s A Secret, won the Asian Pacific Islander American Librarians’ Association’s Award for Young Adult Literature; her highly acclaimed second novel, This Time Will Be Different, made the Best of 2019 lists of YALSA, Kirkus Reviews, the New York Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library. Her short story, “Where I’m From” appears in Come On In, a young adult anthology of stories about immigration. Her latest book, Love & Other Natural Disasters has been praised by the American Library Association as “hilariously awkward” and “honestly poignant.”

Misa was born in Chicago, earned a B.A. in English at Princeton University, and taught English as a second language in Japan before moving back to the States to earn her M.Ed at Stanford University. She taught English at a local public high for several years before “retiring” to be a stay-at-home parent. Currently, she lives and writes under a giant oak tree with her husband, two sons, and two cats. You can find her online at and @misallaneous1 on Twitter and Instagram.

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