Sunday, August 19, 2018

ARC Review: Shadow of the Fox By Julie Kagawa

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Format: Egalley,
Source: Netgalley*
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

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.
Okay full disclosure, I LOVE Julie Kagawa. I read all of her Iron Fey series during the summer in between my college years, and I adored them so much! I read Talon from her a few years ago, so I was so excited when Netgalley* gave me the opportunity to read an advanced reader copy of the first book in her newest series, Shadow of the Fox! 

This fantasy series was so cool, because it really dug deep into Japanese feudal society and folklore of the Yokai. Which I knew next to nothing about going into this book, but I feel like I have learned a lot about Japanese mythology, while also being really entertained! I saw a lot of reviews saying it gave them Inuyasha feels, and I would say that is pretty accurate. She paints a clear picture with her words of the setting of this novel, and I also felt like I got a really good sense of the culture. 

At first I was really unsure about this novel because we are introduced to a character whom I thought was the protagonist, and then we kind of forget about her and focus on our main characters Yumeko & Tatsumi. I was so very confused, but that character you first meet does play a part later on in the novel, I just didn't know it yet. I was really glad that Kagawa brought that around, because I was thinking, "okay, why have that intro??" I also got over it, because I really loved the characters Yumeko and Tatsumi that were brought to life later in the book.

Yumeko is a super interesting character to me, she's a half-Yokai -- a Kitsune (fox), but she has to hide her true form when she ends up traveling with humans. I found her delightful, even though she is super naive and trusts anyone she comes across. I think it makes sense since she grew up in a temple raised by Monks and knows pretty much nothing about the outside world. I also think she is so trusting because she likes to see the good in everyone and she really tries to do the right thing. Even though at the same time she is deceiving everyone around her. I think her personality really painted the conflict she feels inside of trying to balance her human and Yokai sides. 

Tatsumi is such a stoic, crotchety character, so of course I loved him! He has a lot on his plate, and is dealing with his own demons (literally) so it's really hard for him to trust anyone or even be around other people. My heart really broke for him and his situation. I'm not sure if it's clear about his background in the Shadow Clan. I was curious if he was born into it, or if he's like a slave and can never leave it. Can he chose to leave the life of Shinobi, or is he stuck in his predicament? I'm hoping to get more answers on this as this series progresses. I also feel there might be a slow burn romance between Tatsumi and Yumeko? He definitely learns to care for her, and I liked seeing that struggle in Tatsumi. 

This book was so action-packed! It also is a "quest" novel, which is my favorite type of fantasy novels to read. I loved all the trials and Yokai they come across in their journey to the Steel Feather Temple. They collect a group to travel there and come across some real binds to get out of. Like a cursed town, a demon bear and a blood mage! This book was so exciting! Although, fair warning if you have read Kagawa before, you know she likes to leave you itching for the next book in the series. This one was no different. The book doesn't end with Yumeko getting to the Temple. She has just started her journey, and it ends with some crazy things that will need to get resolved in the next books. I am very excited to continue reading this series and see where it goes. 

This book is written in different perspectives, sometimes it was in third person, and sometimes we would get the first person switching back between Tatsumi and Yumeko. I found this slightly distracting, and I think maybe this book would be slightly better written in third person altogether. I also had some issues distinguishing between the two first person voices. It wasn't a deal breaker for me, because the plot and action in this novel was amazing, but it did make me rate this a little lower than I normally would. I still think this is a really awesome start to a series, and I highly recommend it.

Are you excited for this new series? 

*I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reads Everyone!