Title: Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: October 2, 2018
My Rating: ★★★★
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.
ARC provided by the publisher, Harlequin Teen, via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Absolute power can corrupt even the purest of hearts. Such is the folly of men.
I went in pretty much blind for Shadow of the Fox and I was not disappointed! This year is the first time I’ve really delved into Japanese fantasy/mythology stories, and I am now obsessed (check out my Empress of All Seasons review as well) after this ownvoices novel. Shadow of the Fox follows two main characters (with a third character that pops in every now and then) as they journey to track down an ancient scroll – although their motives are very very different.
THINGS I LOVED:
The main characters! First and foremost I loved these three with my whole heart.
Suki: Suki gets the opening chapter in the book, and I can honestly say that when I reached the end of that chapter my mouth was hanging open. This book gets points for the most punch in the first chapter so far this year – I promise you’ll be hooked. Suki was sent by her father to work in the palace, and her new employer plays a very large role in the carnage to come. I wish I had gotten more chapters from Suki, because she was one of my favorites.
It was raining the day Suki came to the Palace of the Sun, and it was raining the night that she died.
Yumeko: Yumeko is half human, half kitsune (MY LOVE) and has grown up with monks at the Silent Temple. She has been taught to surpress her power and natural inclination to mischief and live as mortal as possible. She rails against the restraints put upon her but cannot imagine her life elsewhere – until she has to. The Temple comes under attack, and Yumeko (along with her powers) is the only choice. The monks send Yumeko, along with the scroll, on a journey to try and protect it.
Her name is Yumeko, child of dreams, for she is our hope against the coming darkness.
Kage: Kage is a Samurai of the Shadow Clan, and the chosen demonslayer. He carries a sword that houses a demon, Hakaimono. Kage is constantly fighting the risk that the demon will overpower him. To do this, he has trained his entire life to feel as little emotion as possible. He has been sent to retrieve the scroll at all costs, and cares for little except the success of his mission. Yumeko ropes him in to helping her on her journey, all the while keeping the scroll hidden.
I was a weapon to the clan, nothing more. Kindness had no place in my life.
I also loved the journey. I’m not always the BIGGEST fan of books that contain so much journey-ing, but in this one, each stop they made along the way had some small little task they had to complete to move on AND I LIVED FOR THAT. This was such a neat and unique concept and held my attention the entire time. I loved the Japanese myths and stories that were included, and I loved all the different demons, yokai, and humans we met along the way.
This book also brought to light how much the world tends to treat those different from you as less than you. The hierarchy of mortals, yokai, and demons was clearly established. Yokai were treated as less than people, even if they had no malicious or evil intent, and that hurt my heart. I loved that the heroine of the book was half yokai, and that she was able to use her powers and truly, finally, be herself to complete her tasks.
It was an unspoken rule among yokai; one did not call attention to their…yokai-ness if one did not want to be hunted, harassed, or cursed with extremely bad luck.
I had a few minor complaints: there were a few plot holes that I wish had been filled in, and honestly the first four or five chapters were a little confusing for me as I figured out who was speaking and who was who. But honestly, these are so minor and so brief that they hardly bothered me at all.
Ultimately, this book is about friendship, bravery, and doing what is right instead of what is easy. It’s about being true to yourself and using what you have to get what you need. It’s about working together with all different kinds of people, and learning that accepting them can bring joy and wonder and new friends. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from this book, and then I urge you to go preorder it immediately. You will not regret it.
Master Isao had a saying. 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.
Shadow of the Fox releases on October 2, 2018.
Buddy read with Melanie @ Meltotheany! Check out her page – she is the kindest soul and I’m so grateful for her friendship.
All quotes are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.