Review of Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review copy generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
Shadow of the Fox was a fun ride through a lush Japanese inspired landscape and not at all what I was expecting! I loved so much of this story and found it completely entrancing. If you’re looking for a thoroughly developed fantasy world, enchanting mythology and lore, morally grey characters, and a centuries old mystery to unravel … THIS is the book for you.
Yumi is part human, part kitsune (fox) in a world that both revers and fears her kind. Raised amongst monks, she has little experience with the outside world but dreams of experiencing everything. After a massacre upends her whole world, Yumi is thrust into the world she has so dearly mused over.
Tatsumi is a samurai and demonslayer, tasked with retrieving an ancient artifact for his clan. Raised to be cold and unquestioning of his orders, Tatsumi is the perfect warrior, provided he keeps control over his darkness. Fate brings Yumi and Tatsumi together and with similar goals in mind, they choose to travel together. However, neither has been honest with the other and its only a matter of time before their ruses begin to unravel.
From the very first chapter of this story I was absolutely captivated by the world Kagawa has created! So much happens right from the start, I was totally invested in Suki’s story (and feeling SO upset for her!) and was absolutely shocked when the first chapter took the turn it did! Way to reel your readers in! If you can read it and NOT want to devour the rest of the book, you must be in the worst of all book slumps.
I LOVED Yumi’s true nature and every subtle nod at her wiliness and tricks throughout the story. Her naivety about the outside world and desire to help everyone is so sweet! That said, her curiosity and disregard for danger was a little taxing at times.
Tatsumi is by-far the most complex and fascinating character in this story. He’s my favorite (are we surprised? we are not.) and the moral dilemmas he faces through this story played a huge role on the plot and his character development. Tatsumi harbors some very Shadowsinger-esque abilities and I was like: YAAASSSS. I thoroughly enjoyed how he came to grow fond of Yumi, began to question his own life’s path and tried perilously to keep hold of his humanity.
This book also has a great group of supporting characters – such as Suki, Daisuke and Okami! Every character has an important role to play in this story and not one felt like they didn’t belong. My heart STILL hurts over Suki’s situation. I was totally NOT explecting Daisuke to return to the story the way he did and came to adore his chivalry and “deal” with Tatsumi. Okami’s humor and aloofness was exactly what this story needed and he came at the perfect time. I cannot get over how rag-tag, yet PERFECT Yumi and Tatsumi’s fellowship becomes.
Also, the smattering of romance in this never felt forced or unnatural. This is slow burn and NOT insta-love. There was a natural progression of the primary relationship: from allies, to feeling fond of each other to feeling more. If you are looking for a book with a LOT of romance, this is not the book for you. BUT – if you are looking for a book in which the romance plays a large role on the progression of the story, here you have it!
The only things I really didn’t like about this was Yumi’s character at times and the sometimes confusing name dropping of Japanese mythology and lore. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVED the mythology in this, but there is a LOT of it and I constantly found myself Googling things so I could gain a better understanding of what I was reading about. You will encounter a bunch of Japanese creatures – especially those of the supernatural realm – and it can be a lot to keep up with at first!
Overall, this was a really fantastic novel! Despite having her Iron Fey series on my bookshelves, this was the first time I had read something by Julie Kagawa and she lived up to my expectations! I’ll certainly be reading more by her and will ABSOLUTELY be investing my time into this series as it progresses! I NEED to see where it goes after that ending! (OH MY GAWD)
Release Date: October 2, 2018
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