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Title: Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Published: 1st of November 2018 – HQ Young Adult
Format: Digital – 240 pages
“It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don’t do a great job of it.”from Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
A YA fantasy novel based on Japanese Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa. I mentioned Shadow of the Fox in my most recent “What Will I Be Reading” post, it was highly recommended by many reviewers such as Iasmina Edina. I finally finished it and I was pleasantly surprised, keep reading to find out more!
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.
This is the first book in Julie Kagawa’s Trilogy Shadow of The Fox. It is a fantasy series set in ancient Japan, we follow the two main characters Yumeko and Tatsumi on their journey across the land to the last safe haven.
After finishing Shadow of the Fox, I can say it deserves the praise it gets. The writing was excellent and the story was easy to follow with some impactful moments. I enjoyed Yumeko’s playful and optimistic personality and her interactions with the stoic but protective Tatsumi. Their dynamic was fun to read as Tatsumi slowly became more open.
Credit to the author for taking the time to develop their relationship. Instead of forcing a quick change in personality in Tatsumi for the sake of the plot. Tatsumi struggles to open up and even when you feel him getting better, he forces his emotions back down. This was a great decision hinged in reality as change does not happen overnight. It’s a constant struggle as we go back and forth between acceptance and reality. This back and forth is also presented with the struggle he had with the demon trapped within him. The duality of Tatsumi was a lot of fun to read.
Although Yumeko didn’t change much during this book, I can tell her character development is going to come as the trilogy continues. However, Yumeko has the gift for changing those around her. She is a strong female lead who helps those around her to grow and evolve. From the stray ronin Okame to the noble Taiyo Daisuke, each person that meets Yumeko goes through a slight change as they journey together.
The setting of the Shadow of The Fox was my favourite part. The world is littered with interesting lore and locations. It is clear Julie Kagawa put a lot of thought into the world-building of her trilogy. I can’t wait to explore the world more in the next books. The monsters are varied and creative providing a lot of tense moments as the reader is unsure if the protagonists will make it out alive. Each monster is given a compelling reason for why they are fighting which serves to elevate each encounter.
My one “critic” would be the main villain of the story, a very imposing and mysterious figure. I believe is the only antagonist not given a fleshed out reason for fighting our main cast but I think this is by design. Not being given proper motivation gives her an air of unpredictability. The build-up to reveal her motivation may take the whole trilogy but I’m here for it. She can command immense power that even in the world established, is extraordinary. Her backstory is sure to be a compelling one that I’m excited to see.
MY THOUGHTS AND OPINION
I picked up Shadow of The Fox to get back into reading some Fantasy novels and I was not disappointed. The story was engaging and the writing superb. With a diverse cast of characters that played well off each other and an intriguing world and premise, Shadow of the Fox is worth a read.
It was my first Japanese Fantasy novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reads like an anime with well-rounded characters and interesting settings. I adore Anime, Manga and Japanese mythology so this book was right up my alley. I would highly recommend @juliekagawaauthor‘s novel Shadow of The Fox for every Fantasy and anime enthusiast. Can’t wait to pick up the rest of the trilogy.
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