**I received this book as a free arc in exchange for my honest review.**
Title: Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: September 24th 2018
Genre: Japanese, high fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, legend
Page count: 399
Goodreads 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.
My thoughts: Let me preface this review by saying I did not expect to love this. I didn’t even expect to like it! I know there are lots of people who obsess over Japanese folklore and mythology; I am not one. However, this may have been one of the best books (if not THE best book) I have read so far in 2018!
This is the first book I have read by author Julie Kagawa and I can confidently say it will not be the last. She is a master storyteller, not only with the overall main story of the novel but there were lots of little legends and myths told by the characters amongst either other that were just genius and enhanced the overall story.
I love the character of Yumeko. She is a half kitsune (which is a Japanese fox) and you can definitely see clever and cunning foxlike features come out in her human personality. But she is also innocent and naive (but not in an annoyingly so way) which just adds to her charm. She’s funny without knowing she’s funny and very brave even if she wouldn’t consider herself so.
Her counterpart and traveling companion, Tatsumi is mysterious and misunderstood like any great love interest is (except is he or isn’t he a love interest? The book never clearly defines their relationship which I actually liked because for once a YA novel wasn’t shoving a ship down the reader’s throat!) I liked that his storyline left on a cliffhanger (a brilliant one too!) and considering the next book in the series is called Soul of the Sword implies that we will be seeing a lot more of his back story and how he became the demon slayer.
This read very much like The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings or other great epic journey tales but that’s a big reason why I loved it so much (I am a huge Tolkien nerd!) It was fast paced but also detailed. I didn’t find any lulls or parts that seemed to drag. I really loved how detailed the plot was and like I said all the little myths and legends and side stories really helped the world building and helped me as the reader understand the setting more fully.
I do not have one bad thing to say about this book. It was the biggest surprise for me in 2018 and Soul of the Sword has now moved up to my number one most anticipated released of 2019! Trust me guys, you do NOT want to pass this book up!