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Shinigami (Takamagahara Monogatari, #2)
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(Takamagahara Monogatari #2)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A coming-of-age love story between an orphan and the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato. The human world meets the yōkai in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu.

While he battles to find his own path, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will become his secret friend, then his salvation, and then as they become adults together, the love of h
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2019 (first published August 13th 2019)
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5+++++ stars


I have no idea how to do this book justice but I will try by just gushing over it.

When night approached, the birdsong gently shifted from cheerful to forlorn. The uguisu went to sleep in its pot-shaped nest, and the brown-feathered night thrush—recently returned from wintering in Tenjiku—took its place and claimed the night. Now and then, a deer would call and a fawn would answer back.


Gaaah! This book came at the right time. I have been craving some paranormal, fantasy, shifter
Xia Xia
Feb 12, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
BOOK TRAILER| First 22chapters free on my site|

Update: "Shinigami" was the winner of both Best Gay Fantasy and Best Gay Debut in the 2018-2019 Rainbow awards.


This book is dedicated to my otaku family, my fujoshi sisters, my fudanshi brothers, and my non-binary siblings from the otaku world.

#loveislove #yaoiislife

Also I highly recommend you read Kogitsune first. Kogitsune is a 40 minutes short story and can be downlo
Reading this book for the second time is such a different experience, and every bit as good as the first one, if not better. Can't wait for the next book! Or the next reread, whichever comes first. :D

At the end of my review of Kogitsune, I wrote “4 stars because I need more.”
As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. I got more. I got so much more that, ten days after finishing this book, I’m still trying to get my fried brain cells to write something resembling a review.

Let’s be realist
h o l l i s
I'm going to be honest. I have very different feelings for the first half of this book vs the latter half. The first half details the life and experiences of Hirotsugu as he grows up as the heir to one of the wealthiest, and respected, families. In contrast to those around him, particularly his family, he's very aware, and almost ashamed, of the divide that separates him from the poor, and this is reinforced by a chance encounter with a young beggar. A chance encounter that happens not just a se ...more
Re-read 04/11/2019: Welp. I thought I was past the weeping phase when it comes to this book. Guess not.

Shinigami is a special and unique book. Not just the characters, but the storytelling itself. And the author's prose is exceptional.

The story takes place in Japan, it's culture and mythology is heavily embedded in the story, and surrounded by historical events. Meaning, some things in this book happened in real life, though most of it is fiction.

This is a love story. But also
After giving us the beautifully quiet and atmospheric Kogitsune - that must be read before moving on to this second instalment in her Takamagahara Monogatari - Xia Xia Lake raises the bar with Shinigami, an astonishing combination of coming-of-age story, Japanese folklore, BL/yaoi, history and legends.

Constructed on and around four main characters, and with some surprising changes in the POV, Shinigami follows the life of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu and his relationship with his powerful fami
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't know where to start, so let's start at the beggining...
When I read Kogitsune last year it came as a great surprise. I picked it up because I needed some cheering up, and Japan and its culture never fails to me. I read that short story and was fascinated with the vivid world it contained and its characters. Since then I've become friends with Xia Xia Lake, and when she asked me to beta read the second book in the Takamagahara Monogatari, I was delighted.

Shinigami is a complex and fascina
Love Is All Around

Le leggende giapponesi mi hanno sempre affascinato, ve l’avevo già detto dopo la lettura del primo breve capitolo di questa serie, che serviva da introduzione ai lettori al mondo magico, ricco di spiriti della natura e degli Idei figli del folklore e religione giapponese.
I giapponesi oggi sono nella maggioranza buddisti, ma nell’epoca in cui è ambientato questo romanzo è lo shintoismo la religione che viene seguita dalla popolazione, anzi si fa riferimento anch
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story? It ripped me to shreds.
It would have been a hundred times worse if I didn't first read Kogitsune, but having done so it only made me cry for about 5 minutes. Now I'm gonna go and read Kogitsune again, because I have to.

Xia Xia Lake, you are a glorious storyteller. Thank you.
Claudie ☾
WHY isn’t this series more popular? How is that possible??

First things first, my compliments to the author for the sheer amount of research that went into this book. I could feel her love for Japanese folklore even in the super-short prequel/sequel ‘Kogitsune,’ but here it was more pronounced. Her wonderfully thorough and accurate representation of the Shinto pantheon was an integral part of this story - its heart. Nothing was half-assed, and all the little details just about brought tears to my
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As someone who has studied the Japanese language for a while and who has been looking for queer historical fictional placed in medieval Japan- and also as an avid reader of BL, albeit a very critical one, I am, in a sense very much the ideal reader for this particular novel. On the other hand, for these same reasons, I ended up finding issue with it in ways that will surely not bother most readers.

This places me in somewhat unc
Shirley Manus
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing

One of the most magical books I've read. There were quite a few times at the end when I went back into certain parts of the book to make sure I got all the pleasure out of it. Never have I had my heart broken so much in a book only to have it put back together so quickly. Now I'm going to check out the Japanese culture in a way I never have before. Really looking forward to the next book. Thank you for a wonderful book.
Suki Fleet
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gah, my heart <3
Can't wait for the next in this series!
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, historical, fantasy
I’m truly impressed with this story, everything about it was fascinating. The history and mythology of Japan with all it’s characters, the humans, Gods, and spirits. It was well researched and told in a very lovely way. It took a lot longer to read the whole book, because there were so many Japanese names of people, places and such mentioned, that I wasn’t familiar with. There are explanations provided on the site of the author and in the book’s glossaries page. But I still found myself googling ...more
12/23/19 "Shinigami" will be on sale for 99c for 24 hrs as an Amazon countdown deal: ...more
Karolina Cebula
Hirotsugu's birth was an event that affected the world of mortals in a natural way, but also unexpectedly moved the one hidden from human sight, the supernatural one. The boy has been growing up like any other son of a wealthy family, but at some point the supernatural world begins to play an increasingly important role in his life. At the same time, Hiro crosses paths with a poor young boy, whom he decides to help. From now on, nothing is the same, because Hirotsugu is becoming more and more at ...more
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m going to cry myself to sleep now... if my heart can take it, I’ll write a review tomorrow.

12 hours later, my tears have dried... almost... maybe... or maybe not... *sobs*

This story is sweet and gentle but dark and brutal as well. The characters are complex and flawed and messy, at times too naive, too impulsive, too trusting, too easily misled, but always compelling and heartbreakingly lovely. These elements come together to create a beautiful, poignant, immersive journey.

There’s no good wa
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“we will carry that burden for the rest of our lives. But know this. I would have done it even for the weight of ten million more.”

This books reminds me of The Song of Achilles. pain 💔

Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review

“Shinigami” is part two of the series, even though it’s set before the events of “Kogitsune”. You should read “Kogitsune” before you pick up this book. It’s a free short story, so there’s nothing to lose and it will definitely help you understand this book.

I’m not sure if the blurb quite does this amazing book justice. It sounds a little trivial, when this story is anything but. I probably wouldn’t call it a “coming-of-age love story” either, more like
Shari Sakurai
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 5 stars

Shinigami is the second novel in the Takamagahara Monogatari series. As with the first book in the series, Shinigami draws Japanese religion and folklore into its stories as well as the life of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu. I don’t want to say too much about the historical Fujiwara no Hirotsugu as it would spoil some plot elements, but he was a real person and I liked how the author incorporated this into their work.

Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
An awesome story that takes place in japan and brings us in a world of japans culture and mythology. The author has an awesome way with words which already makes the book special, but the story and the japanese elements more than pull their weight as well. I believe that especially japan fans like me will love this. If you are not really a japan fan yet, but wish to be, im sure youll love the story but you might want to take a look at the lil glossar at the end which explains the used japanese t ...more
Marie Anne
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely awesome reading! Kept my breath throughout the story. So emotional and touching, and the ending....didn't see this coming! Broke my heart...First story in a long while to keep me up all night. Loved it! ...more
Blog Coccole tra i Libri
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Seguiteci sul nostro blog
Recensione a cura di Saluinadia

I nobili mari e le nobili montagne Che sono mari; che sono montagne. Che esistono entrambi, che sono reali. Mentre le vite degli uomini sono fragili come fiori, Fantasmi passeggeri di questo mondo.
Ho avuto modo di conoscere lo stile dell’autrice grazie al suo primo libro letto, Kogitsune, la piccola volpe; lo stile fantasy è magico in queste suoi romanzi, tutto ciò che rappresenta il Giappone è descritto in
Manal        منال
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Told in a 'faerie-tale/folklore' style, this historical fantasy took me away on a thoroughly enjoyable ride for several hours. In many ways, this reminds me of Edward C. Patterson's Southern Swallow series (which also has supernatural/spiritual elements blended with historical figures/events from 12th century ancient China) but Patterson's books do skew more toward historical events/earthly realm (with the exception of the final book in that series).

I was immersed into a David Eddings-esque dei
Joyfully Jay
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: veronica
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.5 stars

The story mainly follows Hiro growing up in the protective shelter of his wealthy and powerful family. Hiro is an anomaly within his hypermasculine family in that he is compassionate of the poor and loves nature. At age nine, Hiro discovers an urchin in their garden stealing rice to feed his sickly father, and he gives the boy, Ryu, food, medicine and clothing that will keep them both alive. Hiro discovers his god-power later, when one of his half-brothers kills a
Luisa Diana
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I nobili mari e le nobili montagne Che sono mari; che sono montagne. Che esistono entrambi, che sono reali. Mentre le vite degli uomini sono fragili come fiori, Fantasmi passeggeri di questo mondo."
Ho avuto modo di conoscere lo stile dell’autrice grazie al suo primo libro letto, Kogitsune, la piccola volpe; lo stile fantasy è magico in queste suoi romanzi, tutto ciò che rappresenta il Giappone è descritto in maniera dettagliata, precisa e appassionata. I protagonisti coinvolgono e trascinano il
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
First half was a bit slow going and it took me a second to adjust to the historical storytelling and folklore, but the second half just blew me away. Really looking forward to the rest of the series!
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shinigami was a great mixture of japanese mythology, history and yaoi.
I loved the prose, which kept the balance between these three very well.
Since I have been to some of the places and cities in Japan, I felt nostalgic about the scenery and could imagine everything well. I give extra points for the historical and mythological facts, which made me learn something new about Japan and that's always something to cherish.
And the yokai. Don't forget the yokai.
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Weeb. LGBTQ+ Reader. She/her. Ace.
Author of Takamagahara Monogatari series. Used to cosplay until a kid asked if he could take a picture with the "old lady".

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"Shinigami" was the winner of both Best Gay Fantasy and Best Gay Debut in the 2018-2019 Rainbow awards.

2021 Reading Challenge


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Other books in the series

Takamagahara Monogatari (2 books)
  • Kogitsune (Takamagahara Monogatari, #1)

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293 likes · 43 comments
“Upon Hirotsugu’s birth, the Fujiwara clan made great plans for his future, and I watched from my throne of skulls behind the kagerō veil and laughed and laughed and laughed.” 4 likes
“Oy! Wait!” Hiro called after him.

“Yes, my lord?” “What’s your name?”

“Takahashi Ryū. Like the dragon.”

“Ryū…” Hiro rolled the name in his mouth, tasting honey. The traitorous sun briefly escaped from the clouds.

“Sayōnara, my lord.”

“No,” Hiro said. “Not sayōnara. Until we meet again, Ryū.”

Ryū flashed him another gap-toothed grin. “Until we meet again, my lord.”
More quotes…