Title Shadow of the Fox
Author Julie Kagawa
Description from Amazon
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.
One night, after work, I was walking to Port Authority and I decided to stop in the big Barnes and Noble on 5th Ave. On a total impulse, I decided to pick up Shadow of the Fox and check out the description. It seemed interesting enough and I like Julie Kagawa’s writing style so I decided to give it a chance. Basically, this was a random, whim kind of purchase, so I didn’t really have any expectations when I started reading.
I love the colors. Black, deep red, and silver. Simple and yet very fitting. The silver mask on the cover is ambiguous enough that it could be a dragon or it actually could be a fox. I liked the dual meaning behind that and I like that no other images compete with it.
Okame! He was by far the best secondary character (an possibly character overall) in the story. He wanted everyone to believe that he was a dangerous villanous ronin but as you get to know him more, you realize he is easily the most misunderstood and misjudged character in the group.
I want him to find all the happiness in the next installment of the series because he was my favorite (and he deserves it).
I loved the strong Japanese influences throughout this book. Julie Kagawa captured both history and fantasy (which I think is a difficult balance) in a way that feels natural.
Normally, I don’t like supernatural stories (I am very easily spooked), but I liked the use of Oni (demons), Yurei (ghosts), and Yokai (supernatural creatures). I found the descriptions were vivid, but I wasn’t scared. Again, please note, I am very easily scared so I try to avoid anything that will cause me to lose sleep.
Overall, I loved this book. It was a completely random purchase and the subject matter was not my normal cup of tea but, I was blown away with surprise when I read it. I can’t wait for the next installment, Soul of the Sword, coming out in June 2019.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean – this is another Japanese inspired story of romance, oni, and yokai. If you like one, you will defintely like the other.
- Talon, Rogue, Soldier, Legion, and Inferno by Julie Kagawa – I love Julie Kagawa’s writing style (and dragons) so if you do too, check out the 5 book Talon Series.
- Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton – this one is not dragons or Asian inspired, but it captures themes of supernatural elements and ghosts and has been one of my favorite reads of 2019 so far so give this one a chance if you like supernatural books.