Shadow of the Fox by Julia Kagawa Review

“Once Every Thousand Years…

Every millennium, one age ends and another age dawns…and whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers holds the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for any one wish. The time is near…and the missing pieces of the scroll will be sought throughout the land of Iwagoto. The holder of the first piece is a humble, unknown peasant girl with a dangerous secret.

Demons have burned the temple Yumeko was raised in to the ground, killing everyone within, including the master who trained her to both use and hide her kitsune shapeshifting powers. Yumeko escapes with the temple’s greatest treasure – one part of the ancient scroll. Fate thrusts her into the path of a mysterious samurai, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan. Yumeko knows he seeks what she has…and is under orders to kill anything and anyone who stands between him and the scroll.

A wish will be granted and a new age will dawn.”

Synopsis and featured image from HarperCollins Publishers Australia

 

Samurais, blood magic, and a powerful dragon who grants wishes?! What’s not to love about Shadow of the Fox? I was excited from the moment I heard the premise of this book. By the time I started actually reading, I was instantly addicted. The world of Shadow of the Fox (based on Feudal Japan) is one I found easy to immerse myself in. Kagawa has drawn on elements of Japanese folklore and infused them with her own imaginative storytelling. Though the book is certainly unique, at times it reminded me of an anime series (something with action and adventure, like Dragon Ball Z, but with a cutesy Fruits Basket element thrown it). She’s created a detailed and elegant fantasy world, and I’m desperate to learn more about it. I can’t wait until the Shaow of the Fox is officially released and fans begin to create art based on Kagawa’s creatures and characters. There’s a very visual, sensory quality to Kagawa’s writing that I think will inspire readers and fuel their imaginations.

Shadow of the Fox features three main characters, and I adore them all. Our heroine is half human / half kitsune Yumeko. She’s an innocent and playful character, and her naivety leads to many humorous moments. Tatsumi, Yumeko’s reluctant protector is the character I like least of the main trio, but that’s mainly because we don’t get to know him as well as the other two. He’s a brooding and mysterious sort; your typical tough guy. We do see glimpses of his softer side when he’s alone with Yumeko though, and for me, their sweet friendship is one of the highlights of novel. I wouldn’t say their relationship is necessarily romantic, but there are plenty of cute moments that have me shipping the pair! A disgraced samurai named Okame rounds out our group of main characters. He’s an adventure seeking rogue who joins Yumeko and Tatsumi after being charmed by Yumeko’s kindness. Though it’s hinted that Okame may have a dark past, his carefree attitude and sense of humour bring a lot of fun to the story. Ultimately, the three make up quite the lovable little band of misfits.

Overall, I absolutely adore Shadow of the Fox! It’s sweet, funny and vividly imaginative. Something about the magical folklore mixed with Kagawa’s gorgeous writing just really works for me, and I can’t wait for the series to continue.

Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an advanced readers copy of Shadow and the Fox in exchange for an honest review!

My rating:

 

five stars

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