SHADOW OF THE FOX
SERIES: Shadow of The Fox, #1
REPRESENTATION: Japanese-inspired world and characters
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA Fantasy
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.
I loved Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden trilogy when I read it last year, so when I heard she was writing a new series based on Japanese mythology and history I was really excited.
That element of the book — the world-building and mythology — was my favourite thing about The Shadow of the Fox. Tatsumi is a half-kitsune, a fox spirit, and it was wonderful to see how this affected her journey: her journey as she tried to resolve the conflict between her responsibilities, relationships and mischievous nature. I loved all the various yokai, demons and spirits. They were varied and unique but all seemed to fit into the same world Kagawa has created. The various aspects of Feudal Japan that were woven throughout complemented the fantastical elements perfectly.
I wasn’t such a fan of the plot itself. This is a quest-orientated journey, a road-trip of unlikely allies, but there were parts where it dragged too slowly for me. I thought the journey could have been shorter. As we approached the finale, the pacing tightened up and the tension built into something really exciting. I just wish the whole book had had the same action.
Although this was a rich world and the characters were intriguing, the pacing felt too slow for me, and the plot elements too familiar to make up for it. However, from the way the later chapters picked up, and the cliff-hanger ending, I’m sure the sequel is going to be great. The base is set for a wonderful series to play out and I’d be interested to see where Kagawa takes the story next.
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