Books Like The Night Itself

Books Like The Night Itself

Image by MythologyArt from Pixabay

Every country has its own unique traditional stories and folktales, and Japan is no exception. Japanese mythology is filled with supernatural entities and spirits such as yōkai, kitsune, oni, and tengu. Many of these are still popular in modern media, such as the films by Studio Ghibli. Numerous authors have also drawn on Japanese mythology for their novels, such as The Night Itself by Zoe Marriot, which is about a girl named Mio Yamato who ruptures the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld. Together with a fox spirit named Hikaru, Mio has to face the gods and monsters of ancient Japan that are after her and the ancestral Japanese sword she found in her parent’s attic. For more novels that draw on Japanese mythology to tell gripping stories, check out the following books like The Night Itself.

Red Winter
By Annette Marie

Red Winter by Annette Marie

Red Winter is the first book in the trilogy of the same name by Annette Marie. It is the story of Emi, a woman who has spent her entire life hiding from the creatures that hunt her, and Shiro, one of her hunters. Emi is destined to become the living host of a goddess, which is why the savage earth spirits are determined to kill her. However, when she saves the life of Shiro, she discovers that he isn’t the harmless fox spirit she thought he was. Shire is sworn to pay his debt to her but would kill her if he knew who she really was. Emi also realizes that her future isn’t what she thought and to find answers she will need to travel to the spirit realm. 

Coming Home

by Claire Youmans

Coming Home by Claire Youmans

Coming Home is the first novel by Claire Youmans in The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series. It is set in the Meiji Era of Japan, where bird girl Azuki escapes to the skies to escape the greedy overlord coveting her beautiful Toki feathers. However, Sparrow-boy Shota, her brother, knows that he must find his sister and warn her to come back or else they will lose the chance to do so forever. To find his sister, Shota has to barter his way across the country and deal with obstacles like ogres and storms. If he fails to find her and return with her by the quarter-day, they will be banished without a place to call home. 

Across the Nightingale Floor

by Lian Hearn

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

Across the Nightingale Floor is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn. The story follows Takeo, a youth who has been brought up by a reclusive and spiritual people called the Hidden in their remote mountain village. While they have taught him only peace, Takeo is unaware that his father was a celebrated assassin. His father was also part of the Tribe, which is an ancient network of families with preternatural skills. However, when his village is pillaged, Takeo is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru, who teaches him about the skills of the Tribe. This is the start of a journey that will lead Takeo to the black-walled fortress at Inuyama, where the warlord, Iida Sadamu, feels protected by his famous nightingale floor that no assassin can cross unheard. 

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

by Nahaoko Uehashi

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahaoko Uehashi

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is a novel by Nahoko Uehash that merges Japanese myths with Western fantasy. The protagonist, Balsa, was a wanderer and warrior for hire whose destiny changed when she rescued a young boy flung into a raging river. She finds that the boy is actually Prince Chagum, who is on a quest to deliver the great egg of the water spirit to its source in the sea. Balsa must protect the boy as they travel across the land of Yogo; however, while setting out to discover the truth about the spirit, they are hunted by the egg-eating monster Rarunga as well as the prince’s own father. 

Empress of All Seasons

by Emiko Jean

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean is set in a palace of illusions, where nothing is what it seems. This palace is the setting for a competition that is held every generation to find the next empress of Honoku. Contestants must survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms, with the winner marrying the prince. Everyone can compete except for the supernatural monsters and spirits called yōkai. Mari is one of the contestants who has spent a lifetime training to become empress. However, she also hides the dangerous secret that she is a yōkai who can transform into a terrifying monster. Her true identity can get her enslaved and destroyed, but she discovers that the prince, Taro, has no desire to inherit the imperial throne. Mari also crosses paths with Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast, and together their choices can decide the fate of Honoku. 

A Mortal Song

by Megan Crewe

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe is the tale of Sora, a young woman who is heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom. She yearns to take on the sacred kami duties but makes a shocking discovery when a ghostly army invades the mountain. Not only is she a human changeling whose powers were only borrowed, but her parents’ true daughter is living unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Now Sora must follow her mother’s last instructions and train the unprepared kami princess while struggling with her own emerging human weaknesses. 

Shadow of the Fox

by Julie Kagawa

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawe follows Yumeko, a half-kitsune who is forced to flee her home when demons kill her adoptive family. With her, she has one part of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, an ancient artifact that allows the holder to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for one wish. This can only be done every millennium, and with time drawing near, the scroll is being sought throughout the land of Iwagoto. Yumeko’s path crosses with that of Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai with orders to retrieve the scroll.

Diane Merrill Wigginton - Romantic, Suspenseful Page-Turner
FEATURED AUTHOR - Diane Merrill Wigginton was born in Riverside, California in 1963. Her family moved to San Diego near the end of 1970, where she grew up in the newly developed community of Mira Mesa. Spending portions of her summers each year in Burly, Idaho, with her mother's parents, Florence and Orval Merrill, Diane developed a love of animals and a respect for the land. It was during this time on the farm, where she learned to ride horses, herd cattle, and tame wild kittens that Diane developed a love of… Read more