Title: Shadow of the Fox
By: Julie Kagawa
Series: Shadow of the Fox #1
Published: October 2nd, 2018
By: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA | Fantasy
Buy it: Book Depository
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.
| Goodreads |
“He told me that the tiniest pebble, when dropped into a pond, will leave ripples that will grow and spread in ways we cannot comprehend.”
I loved this book it was a lot of fun, but also a lot of adventure and action and the characters promise a lot. Julie Kagawa isn’t a new author for me, she is, in fact, the writer of one of my favorite trilogies: Blood of Eden and again she has shown me how brilliant her style is, I love reading her stories because not only do they transport me to other very realities easily with its graphic and wonderful style, but I love that I learn a lot about Japanese culture which I really appreciate. On the other hand, it was a bit difficult for me to get into this at first, due to the terminology and words that I had no knowledge of, but after you move forward into it becomes more bearable and you begin to understand more about the culture and its terms. Still, I really enjoyed it and adored this story!
In Shadow of the Fox, we follow two main characters, Yumeko, a young girl raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, where she has been trained to hide her yokai skills, being half-kitsune, half-human. One day the temple is brutally attacked by fierce demons who are looking for a piece of a legendary scroll, which, joining all its parts, promises to awaken to Kami Dragon to fulfill whatever is desired. These demons murder the monks and Yumeko must fulfill her last promise to bring the scroll to a temple so it won’t fall into the wrong hands. On the other hand, we have Kage Tatsumi, a powerful and mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, who has been sent in search of that piece of scroll. When their paths cross, they create an alliance where Yumeko promises Tatsumi that she can guide him to the scroll if he protects her along the way. From here they must face obstacles and terrifying demons while creating unexpected alliances in a more than uncertain path.
I want to start by saying that I’ll try to express my thoughts with my own words because I know that there are many unique and very specific terms, but I don’t know if I can remember them all, anyway I’ve written down several of them just in case.
I loved the story, I think it has a lot of action and a great sense of adventure, as Julie Kagawa always does, but it also has a very easy paced since the conflicts and obstacles in this book are very frequent. Because of this, you never get bored and always keep you wanting to know what will happen. It’s based entirely on Japanese culture and mythology, and I think I hadn’t read anything like this before. At first was difficult to get into the plot, due to the unknown terms for me, but I’ve learned a lot and that makes me very happy, I think that once I begin the sequel this will be a much easier factor to bear, as I will feel more familiar with it. I’d heard before going into the book that this one reads itself like an anime and I 100% agree, if you imagine everything as an anime is just perfect and makes even more sense and life, I recommend that you do so. So if you like anime, you’ll surely love this book, and if on the contrary, you’re less familiar with it, like me, then it’s still a great book to visualize and live a unique adventure.
I’d say that it’s a powerfully graphic book, and although I really liked it, it can be intense for some people, it has scenes that are mostly pretty gore, murder, and mutilation kind. On the other hand, and really contrasting this last point, it has super fun scenes with a humor that only the author can give us on intense and dark moments, it’s a great sign that characterizes it and is very well achieved. I love her writing style, but it can be dense and descriptive at times, but I still think it’s well done and gives the right information to make the story come alive. Also, it has many dialogues that I LOVE, because, in addition to are well thought out, they’re well placed in the book, so it doesn’t feel like too much and also makes the story feel a little lighter, they personally made me feel all the feelings.
“It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don’t do a great job of it.”
The characters are wonderful, I really liked them, I think they all need a little more power and growth, but I understand that this is just the beginning, so I’ll not judge that too much. Yumeko is wonderful, one of my favorites, she’s sweet, innocent and naive, but I say this in the best possible way. In general, I don’t like when characters are so naive or behave childishly, you know? But this time with Yumeko I fully understood her way of being because of the way she was raised and her humble and compassionate nature completely conquered me, she’s a very warm and fun character to follow. She’s also a kitsune which means she’s half-human and half-fox, and this is something that she must hide most of the story, but still is super entertaining getting to know her abilities, powers and “animal spirit”. On the other side, we have Tatsumi or Kage Tatsumi, who works for one of the most powerful clans, the Shadow Clan, and is used as a weapon to complete missions. He’s the wielder of the Kamigoroshi broadsword, who within it has the spirit of a very fearsome and cruel demon named Hakaimono (I hope I’m writing it correctly lol). I think his chapters are interesting and I like him, but above all, I enjoyed his interaction with Yumeko and the other characters more. He has been trained to be a weapon so he doesn’t have feelings only he knows that he must obey the Kage, but being together with Yumeko in this trip awakens many things on him difficult to understand and I loved to see that small evolution in his perspective and thoughts. I LOVE what’s being created between them. Then we have Okame-san whom I adore, another one of my faves, he had “studied” to be a samurai, but then he stopped believing in it and became a thief. He puts all the humor into this plot that can be quite dramatic at times, and he’s a character that I loved, at first I wasn’t sure he was a little suspicious, but as you advance his intentions are more clear and his friendship with Yumeko is everything I needed, their interactions always make me smile. Last but not least, I want to mention Daisuke, a quite complex character, he’s the son of the emperor, but he has an unexpected secret. I liked this character but it’s one of those that I would like to read more to have an appropriate opinion because I like him and I feel that it has potential, also his voice is very unique and gives a touch of elegance to the story.
There are many more characters, of course, many monks and gods mentioned that I loved, Suki who’s a secondary character but still with a great impact on the story, I really felt in my heart everything that happened to her. We have Satomi, who’s one of the emperor’s wives and has a lot of influence in high society. She’s an absolutely evil and cruel woman, but a very well developed character fully apathetic. And many other characters that appear as the plot progresses, all with potential and a lot of personalities.
The “supernatural” aspects, about demons, seemed very interesting to me, knowing so many stories and legends, it’s always wonderful, but when they’re told as in this book, it’s a real pleasure. We meet terrifying monsters, forest creatures, avenging ghosts and even terrifying demons, it’s an intense journey that has a lot to give.
The ending was quite hard and I feel so bad, it made me feel quite sentimental, but at the same time it lacked a bit of impact, I wanted a bit more. On the other hand, I understand why the author has gone in that direction to build and develop more conflicts for the sequel and I respect that, in the end, it is a solid ending and it makes a lot of sense and has cool revelations. I can’t wait to read the sequel, I think it will be even better and that’s really exciting. I want to know what will happen from now on with each character and how their individual stories will unfold, but also and above all, I want to know what will happen with the scroll and that legendary dragon’s wish. I’m hooked on the idea of the plot, so I definitely want to continue reading.
“No one has ever shown you any kindness before, have they?”
I recommend it? OF COURSE!! and a lot, Julie Kagawa is a fabulous author with an enormous knowledge of what she wrote and a unique complexity in her plots, she always gives a lot of conflicts that give many revelations and plot twists that will surprise you and leave you wanting more. In addition, her stories always have the best action scenes and some descriptions, which although somewhat dense, beautiful and atmospheric. Read it, you’ll not regret it.