I’ve read some short stories by Kagawa, but this first in her YA Shadow of the Fox series was a new experience. Please read on for my review of
Shadow of the Fox
I’d heard great things about this author’s world building and legends, and I have to say that both were seriously on point here, with the inclusions of Japanese folklore, legends and descriptions were wonderful. As this is a quest story – we all know that there isn’t much new that one can bring to the overarching story – there is a challenge that is faced by finding and protecting (or destroying) an integral link that could change the course of the world, for better or worse. We have the heroine, a half-kitsume girl (Yumiko) raised in a temple by a monk who has set her quest: take a piece of the scroll from her home temple, find the other pieces, and bring those to yet another temple that has the final bit. Not long in she encounters Tatsumi, a shadow clan samurai also determined to find the scroll – are their reasons the same, and just how will they join forces in their quest?
Told in the perspectives of both Yumiko and Tatsumi, the story has everything that one has come to expect from an ‘epic quest’ and perhaps that is where things went a bit off the rails for me. Firstly, I don’t understand why Yumiko, with her heritage, skills and determination needed to be tossed into yet another formulaic romantic connection. It frustrated me to think that even with the unique and wholly new (to my eyes) inclusions of the multiple ghosties, demons, fairies and things that go ‘bump’ in the night, with their feet firmly planted in Japanese lore, which in itself brings a whole other level of otherworldliness that we should get yet another trope-heavy, girl meets boy and is distracted (not entirely but enough) from her purpose because oh when he takes his shirt off everything must stop to admire him. Let’s let a girl be a solid, boys are secondary to the ultimate quest, thoughtful, daring and intelligent heroine, and let the boy be the supporting member: even to the detriment of a romance that felt added as plot device, and not really important to the progress of the story.
And the story does drag, some of this is perseveration over the romance, while the story does require a pile of information (and heavy google searches for those unfamiliar with Japanese legends) that requires attention be paid to the tidbits dropped that will become more important when things do pick up and start to move. And move it does with several action-packed moments to a confrontation that added some surprise, plenty of action and an ending that leads straight into the next book. I was intrigued with all of the ‘newness’ and disappointed with the feeling that an over-used plot device (the romance) took the story in directions that could have (in my opinion) been stronger without. A mixed bag for me, and while I’ve gotten a recommendation for another series from Kagawa that I’m sure to enjoy – I think I’m done with this series. There just isn’t enough development that was new or different for the character of Yumiko to make me need to know how it all ends.
Title: Shadow of The Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Shadow of the Fox #1
Genre: Action / Adventure, Contemporary YA Fantasy, Fairies, Folk Tales, Japanese, Magic, Romantic Elements, Young Adult
Published on: 2 October, 2018
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 14 Hours: 45 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.