Tuesday, July 16, 2019

YA Book Review: Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Shadow of the Fox (Book 1)
Publication: Harlequin Teen; Original edition (October 2, 2018)

Description: 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: SHADOW OF THE FOX begins an exciting new fantasy series with its roots in Japanese mythology. Yumeko has been raised in the isolation of the Silent Winds temple. She is half-kitsune and half-human. She has powerful kitsune magic which gives her skill with illusions. She has also inherited the kitsune magic of mischief.

When a ferocious oni attacks the temple, she is sent by Master Isao to take the temple's most prized possession - one part of the dragon scroll - to another temple which will be able to protect it. A time of change is coming. Anyone who can put all the pieces of the dragon scroll together can have a wish. Everyone with a wish for power is after all the pieces of the dragon scroll.

Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan has been sent to get the piece from the Silent Winds temple. Tatsumi carries a cursed sword and had been raised and trained to be a weapon for his clan. He arrives at Silent Winds after the oni and meets Yumeko. She convinces him to help her find the next step on her journey to find the hidden temple. She neglects to mention that she is carrying a piece of the scroll and that she is half-kitsune.

Tatsumi and Yumeko have lots of adventures on their journey and face great dangers. But they also manage to gather a group of allies. I was especially fond of the ronin Hino Okame who has quite a gift for sarcasm.

The story was rich with all sorts of greater gods, lesser gods, and demons and other parts of Japanese mythology. I loved the magic and I loved Yumeko's innocent wonder at the new world she is seeing now that she is outside of the temple where she was raised. I love her kindness which is particularly surprising to Tatsumi who has never been shown any kindness in his life.

This first episode built the world and set up the quest. Further adventures will be needed, and are planned, to carry the quest through to its conclusion. I can't wait to read them.

Favorite Quote:
"It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don't do a great job of it. The mortal world is full of hatred, betrayal, sadness and death."
I bought this one as a Kindle Daily Deal. I also downloaded and listened to the SYNC audiobook. You can buy your copy here.

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