Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1) – Julie Kagawa

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Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

I received Shadow of the Fox in my Owl Crate October 2018 box. When I heard the premise of this book I knew I had to read it. I was thrilled to see it in my Owl Crate box. And can we talk about that cover!? It’s gorgeous!! The cover of Shadow of the Fox is one of my favorite 2018 covers. 

I really enjoyed Shadow of the Fox! It was unlike anything I have read before. The story follows Yumeko, a half-kitsune (fox magic) girl who is tasked with protecting a piece of the dragon scroll. During her journey she meets a lot of different people, but most important is Kage Tatsumi. Tatsumi is the Kage Demonslayer and possessor of the demon sword. He agrees to help Yumeko so that he can get the scroll. I am so happy with the way the author handled the relationship between Yumeko and Tatsumi. As they grew closer I was worried that there would be insta love and the story would veer away from the plot and action and towards their romance. Luckily, the author did not do that at all. Their relationship was not the main focus of the story, and it develops slowly. They do feel comfortable with one another and the love is definitely developing, but it doesn’t happen overnight. I really liked this about Shadow of the Fox

Shadow of the Fox was full of magic, action, demons, samurai, and Japanese culture. It was exciting! The action and suspense was so well done. The first chapter pulled me in immediately. It was perfect! I had no idea what to expect, but the first chapter hooked me in from the first sentence. It was a super fun book with lots of twists and turns. I am very curious to see what happens next!  

A few stray thoughts . . .

  • Lady Satomi is one scary villain! She was terrifying and so truly evil!
  • The god damned blood magic giant centipede. I COULD NOT HANDLE THIS. It’s no secret that I do not do well with bugs and this was so hard to read! The author definitely did a great job in scaring me and giving me the creeps!
  • Speaking of blood magic . . . I thought the use and imagery of blood magic was incredibly well done. It was just so evil!
  • The Kodama (aka tree spirit minor gods) were adorable! They actually reminded me of the Bowtruckle (Pickett) in Fantastic Beasts! 
  • The whole graveyard village curse subplot seemed kind of out of nowhere and really didn’t add much to the overall plot.
  • I loved that there is a glossary at the end of the book. I am very unfamiliar with Japanese culture and folklore, so this was extremely helpful. Whenever I couldn’t remember what a word or name meant I would just flip to the back of the book. I loved it!
  • The last few chapters are full of twists, turns, and reveals. I was hoping that Shadow of the Fox was going to be a stand alone, but it is going to be a trilogy. After reading the last few chapters I knew I wanted more and I can’t wait to see what happens next! 
  • Favorite quotes:
    • “May the Kami bless you, and may you never lose that fire that burns within your soul.”
    • “One step at a time, little fox. The spider does not spin its web in a heartbeat, nor does the albatross fly across oceans with a few flaps of its wings. Many would consider what they do impossible, and yet, they still complete their tasks without fail, because they simply . . . start.”

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