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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts by Charles Kowalski is the first Simon Grey adventure. Simon is willing to do anything he can if it means he gets a break from seeing ghosts everywhere he goes. Even if this means leaving his loving parents and older brothers behind and setting out on a voyage at sea. Instead of finding solace at sea, Simon finds a whole new set of problems but he also finds answers. One shipwreck later and he finds himself in deeper with ghosts than ever before. In Japan, he discovers monsters and spirits called the yokai and an evil sorcerer that has set his sights on Simon. He meets Oyuki who quickly becomes his ally and his guide in this world. He turns to his new friend - who has her own agenda about the sorcerer - for help in standing against the sorcerer and to understand the yokai. Both characters are brilliantly written and the spark they share helps drive the story forward.
The year is 1620 so Charles Kowalski delves into the significant historical backdrop for various customs, attitudes, and events. As Simon discovers Japan, his world opens up to the yokai who help him understand his own gift. He struggles to perceive his ability to see ghosts as a real gift instead of feeling as if it's more of a curse. However, as he gains a deeper understanding of the yokai and what he can do, it helps him find a new respect for seeing ghosts. Kowalski weaves in a mythology not typically seen which makes the story both unique and exciting as it is filled with kappas, Baku, and several yokai who roam Japan. The story is layered and rich in details that bring this world to life and immerse you in the adventure as you discover everything along with Simon. Kowalski breathes life into this unique story of Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts by weaving history, samurai, Asian mythology, and magic into this addictive adventure.