I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Series: Shadow of the Fox #1
Published by HQ on 1st November 2018
Genres: YA Fantasy
A single wish will spark a new dawn. Every millennium, one age ends and another age dawns...and whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers holds the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for any one wish. The time is near and the missing pieces of the scroll will be sought throughout the land of Iwagoto. The holder of the first piece is a humble, unknown peasant girl with a dangerous secret. Demons have burned the temple Yumeko was raised in to the ground, killing everyone within, including the master who trained her to both use and hide her kitsune powers. Yumeko escapes with the temple's greatest treasure - one part of the ancient scroll. Fate thrusts her into the path of a mysterious samurai, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan. Yumeko knows he seeks what she has and is under orders to kill anything and anyone who stands between him and the scroll.
I’m delighted to be one of today’s stops on the Shadow of the Fox blog tour. Be sure to check out all of the other blogs involved!
About Shadow of the Fox
Yumeko is half-kitsune and lives with the monks in the Silent Winds Temple. It’s all she has ever known. While the monks have educated her, the rest of Iwagoto is untrodden territory to her – the furthest she’s been is the woods outside the temple.
The monks of the Silent Winds Temple guard part of the ancient Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, or the Dragon’s Scroll. Every millennium the pieces of the scroll are hunted – together the scroll contains the words needed to summon the great Kami Dragon. So the scroll has been broken apart and hidden – even the Master of the Silent Winds Temple doesn’t know exactly where the others lie.
When the temple is attacked, Yumeko is trusted to get the scroll to safety. It’s a task that will take her away from everyone and everything she has ever known.
Kage Tatsumi is the Kage Demonslayer. The sword he wields for the Shadow Clan holds a demon which feeds on emotion – so Tatsumi must keep his in check at all times. Tatsumi is a shinobi, and has spent his whole life training for his cursed role. When the daimyo of the Shadow Clan requests the Kage Demonslayer for a mission, one that’s different from those he usually undertakes, Tatsumi is sent off in search of the Dragon Scroll.
As Yumeko and Tatsumi’s paths cross, they realise that they need the other’s help to complete their missions. So starts a journey across Iwagoto, facing bears, ronin, hungry ghosts, and legendary Samurai along the way.
I really enjoyed Shadow of the Fox. I love the world, the Japanese-inspired setting and all of the elements of Japanese mythology and folklore weaved into the tale.
Julie Kagawa is an author whose work I’ve been meaning to read for a while, but just never got around to. A few months ago, I read a short story by her in the anthology A Thousand Beginnings and Endings (see my review here) and I really enjoyed it. The story centred around kitsune, and left me craving more of Kagawa’s writing. So when I heard that Shadow of the Fox had a half-kitsune characters at its centre, I knew this would be the first Julie Kagawa novel that I’d read.
While it was originally the kitsune that drew my attention to this book, it is packed full of fascinating folklore. I admit that I spent quite a lot of time consulting the glossary at the back to keep up with all of the various terms, but I’ve come away with so much knowledge!
The story is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Yumeko and Tatsumi. I really liked both of these characters and the interesting balance between them – one having never left the Temple, the other rarely afforded company other than the demons he slays.
I do love a story with a mission and adventure, so I was thoroughly swept up in this story. With unseen obstacles, hazards and secrets, as well as new companions (love Okame), this book is action packed and I didn’t want to put it down.
Kagawa’s writing is enthralling, painting beautiful scenes with her words. I loved her world-building, and really felt I was there with the characters.
My only gripe is that the end felt a little rushed to me. I know we will get more in book 2, but I was left feeling a bit stunned it was over. It also took me a wee while to piece the final scenes together, but I’ve no doubt that’s just me and my foggy brain!
All in all, this is a wonderful novel packed full of action, interesting characters, mythology and legend. I can’t wait for book two!