Sep 24, 2018

ARC Review--Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

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.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Ever since I read The Iron King, I have been a fan of Julie Kagawa! She has taken me on so many different kinds of adventures and put me through a variety of heartache and laughter and now the journey continues with her newest series and it's first installment, Shadow of the Fox! This time around we're dealing with the mystical creatures known as kitsune...which thanks to a very elective fantasy and paranormal reading, I was already familiar with!

What's great about new series is getting to see how the author will make the magic her own! I only had the vaguest knowledge of what a kitsune is and Julie is quick to give us a little kitsune 101. Our heroine, Yumeko is half kitsune. She never knew her parents and was raised by monks where she was taught, in some sense, how to control her abilities and basically keep them a secret. This book is filled with secrets, such as the one the monks have been protecting for centuries. 

There is a series of prayers that one can recite in a certain place that will call forth a dragon, and this dragon will grant you one wish, and as we know wishes are powerful. The prayers have been divided into three pieces and the monks protect one of them. Yumeko was told to take it to a safe place known as the Steel Feather temple, but she can't get there alone. 

The mysterious Tatsumi comes along, he is a member of a secret group that has been trying to find the pieces of the prayer to call forth the dragon. These prayer pieces are a hot commodity and nearly everyone is looking for them. Tatsumi is not your ordinary guy either, he's like a specially trained samurai with an edge, his sword is possessed by a demon called Hakaimono. He's basically the ultimate samurai. When he meets Yumeko he's sort of puzzled by her, as interacting with people outside of killing them is pretty new to him. He agrees to take her to the the Steel Feather temple for she says that's where she needs to go to be safe and she told him that's also where the monks sent the scroll of prayers that the monks had. 

The two start off on their journey and naturally, encounter many perils along the way. They also pick up new friends along the way as well. 

This was a fun read for the setting was different from what I've read in previous fantasy stories. It had an air of realism to it as well as a heavy dose of fantasy what with all the demons and monster-like creatures that Yumeko and Tatsumi encounter. It seems there is someone else who is very powerful and has powerful connections that is after the scroll with the prayers as well and she will stop at nothing to get it and gain the wish that will come with raising the dragon.

The pacing to this one was done remarkably well. The beginning kind of threw me off for we meet a character that wasn't our heroine. Though it wasn't long at all before things get back on course to meeting the characters the description mentioned. The other bit that was a slight stumble in the reading was the introduction of a few Japanese words. I mean, sometimes there was a translation that followed it, but I kept wanting to flip to a nonexistent glossary, I'm hoping the final copy will have one, it makes it easier to flip back just to get a direct translation, especially when you're just in the moment.

We're not completely without some budding romance either! Though it truly is more of a budding romance than anything. Naturally, there just seems to be some chemistry brewing between the innocent Yumeko and the dangerous Tatsumi. What's nice is they have a a very slow buildup going on, first partners, then moving into friendship and it's really not until the near end where there might be the possibility of more. 

I truly love how innocent Yumeko is! She grew up sheltered in the temple with the monks and doesn't quite understand everything about the world, such as sarcasm. But she's not incompetent. She knows how to do some things, especially mastering the trade of her powers, which is trickery.

Shadow of the Fox is the start of what's going to be an amazing trilogy! It's filled with such rich culture and mythology. Julie Kagawa is truly a master of writing! Her characters are always so incredible! I feel like I can see a little bit of the Iron Fey gang within some of the characters we meet here, and if you've read that series, I think you might notice it too. It's just the littlest of things, probably the way they make me laugh or just all of my reactions from them! 

The ending to this one was nothing short of basically, true Julie fashion! I am already dying for the next book and it's not even October at the time of my reading this! I am in deep trouble! But I never regret reading a Julie Kagawa book as soon as possible! Shadow of the Fox will keep you at the edge of your seat with it's fast paced action and incredibly rich storytelling rife with mythological creatures! I am already dying for the sequel! This will be a read you do not want to pass up!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

Shadow of the Fox releases October 2, 2018

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