*Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
In this sequel to Kojiki, we follow the story of Baiyren and Juno, a pair of archaeologists/paleontologists who are at a new dig when giant mechs show up out of nowhere. Baiyren immediately knows that they are there for him, the runaway prince of Higo. Unfortunately, because he gave Juno the Heartstone, the amulet that connects Higo's royalty to their God, she gets taken in his place. Baiyren must go back to Higo and face his destructive past.
I really enjoyed this book. Yes, some of the scenes between Baiyren and Juno were a bit cheesy, but it was just such a good read. A lot of the book was kinda predictable, but the characters were completely worth reading. I really appreciated Keiko's commentary on the goings-on of the books.
At the same time, there were some important plot points that I actually didn't see coming! The best part was, while they were surprising, they didn't feel completely out of left field. Yatsuhashi did a really great job of laying down the groundwork for the twists without making them obvious. As stated before, the final ending, Bayiren and Juno's fates, is predictable, but I still loved it. It was just the right kind of cheesy and sentimental.
While I don't think you NEED to have read Kojiki to get into this book, it would be really helpful. At the same time, if you're expecting Kokoro to read exactly like Kojiki, you're in for a surprise. The books are so very different in just about every single way. Yes, Kokoro has some elements from Kojiki, namely the Kami, but so little of this book even takes place on Earth.
I really had a lot of fun reading Kokoro and learning about this new world. I was completely invested in the characters. I'll admit, being a fan of giant robots kinda helped my enjoyment of this book, but the focus was more on the characters and their trials than on the giant robot battles. If you're interested in fantasy, giant mechs, or even love stories with strong characters, I highly recommend Kokoro. 5 hoots!