Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox Series #1)

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox Series #1)

by Julie Kagawa


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781335145161
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 10/02/2018
Series: Shadow of the Fox Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 10,405
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Born in Sacramento, CA, Julie Kagawa moved to Hawaii at the age of nine. There she learned many things; how to bodyboard, that teachers scream when you put centipedes in their desks, and that writing stories in math class is a great way to kill time. Her teachers were glad to see her graduate.

Julie now lives is Louisville, KY with her husband and furkids. She is the international and NYT bestselling author of The Iron Fey series. Visit her at

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Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
gaele 6 months ago
I’d heard great things about this author’s world building and legends, and I have to say that both were seriously on point here, with the inclusions of Japanese folklore, legends and descriptions were wonderful. As this is a quest story – we all know that there isn’t much new that one can bring to the overarching story – there is a challenge that is faced by finding and protecting (or destroying) an integral link that could change the course of the world, for better or worse. We have the heroine, a half-kitsume girl (Yumiko) raised in a temple by a monk who has set her quest: take a piece of the scroll from her home temple, find the other pieces, and bring those to yet another temple that has the final bit. Not long in she encounters Tatsumi, a shadow clan samurai also determined to find the scroll – are their reasons the same, and just how will they join forces in their quest? Told in the perspectives of both Yumiko and Tatsumi, the story has everything that one has come to expect from an ‘epic quest’ and perhaps that is where things went a bit off the rails for me. Firstly, I don’t understand why Yumiko, with her heritage, skills and determination needed to be tossed into yet another formulaic romantic connection. It frustrated me to think that even with the unique and wholly new (to my eyes) inclusions of the multiple ghosties, demons, fairies and things that go ‘bump’ in the night, with their feet firmly planted in Japanese lore, which in itself brings a whole other level of otherworldliness that we should get yet another trope-heavy, girl meets boy and is distracted (not entirely but enough) from her purpose because oh when he takes his shirt off everything must stop to admire him. Let’s let a girl be a solid, boys are secondary to the ultimate quest, thoughtful, daring and intelligent heroine, and let the boy be the supporting member: even to the detriment of a romance that felt added as plot device, and not really important to the progress of the story. And the story does drag, some of this is perseveration over the romance, while the story does require a pile of information (and heavy google searches for those unfamiliar with Japanese legends) that requires attention be paid to the tidbits dropped that will become more important when things do pick up and start to move. And move it does with several action-packed moments to a confrontation that added some surprise, plenty of action and an ending that leads straight into the next book. I was intrigued with all of the ‘newness’ and disappointed with the feeling that an over-used plot device (the romance) took the story in directions that could have (in my opinion) been stronger without. A mixed bag for me, and while I’ve gotten a recommendation for another series from Kagawa that I’m sure to enjoy – I think I’m done with this series. There just isn’t enough development that was new or different for the character of Yumiko to make me need to know how it all ends. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous 24 days ago
Wow, I enjoyed this. I wasn't expecting it to be as a good as it was. This book was a page-turner. We get three POV's: Suki, a ghost, Yumeko, a half-kitsune who was raised by monks in an isolated temple, and Tatsumi, a samurai of the Shadow Clan, wielder of a mystical sword, and infamous Demon Slayer. The story follows Yumeko and Tatsumi the most with occasional chapters from Suki's POV. Yumeko is tasked by the monks who raised her to protect an ancient scroll and bring it to a hidden temple. Tatsumi is tasked by his clan to find the scroll and bring it back with him to the Shadow Clan Territory. He is unaware that Yumeko is in possession of the scroll. Yumeko uses half-truths to convince Tatsumi to help her find the monk. Throughout the story, we meet several more characters that each of distinct personalities. None of the characters are thrown in for no reason. Every single character serves a greater purpose. The plot is intriguing, and the Japanese folklore is complex and fun to learn slowly. The glossary in the back of the books is extremely helpful if you are not familiar with Japanese folklore. I look forward to the sequel.
JBronder 27 days ago
Whomever hold the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers can summon the Kami Dragon to grant a single wish. To keep it safe, the scroll was broken up into several pieces and scattered across the land. But now there are those that are gathering the scroll by any means necessary to get their wish. Yumeko is half kitsune and half human. She has some simple magical abilities and was raised by the monks at the Silent Winds temple. But one day she returns home to find demons slaughtering the monks. She is given the task of taking the scroll to another temple. Although she doesn’t know how to begin to fulfill this request she finds a samurai warrior and has him promise to help her get to the temple. Kage Tatsumi is a samurai with the Shadow Clan and the bearer of a cursed sword that kills demons. His main purpose in life is to kill demons. But he is sent to the Silent Winds temple to find a scroll. He runs into Yumeko and agrees to help her. Together they are going to face demons, witches, people, and so many other challenges on their way to the temple. I liked this story and all the Japanese mythology although the creatures seemed to just keep coming and I was having to look them up all the time. This drew me away from the story. You also have the starts of a relationship between Yumeko and Tatsumi. It seems to be doomed since Tatsumi has been trained to be a weapon and has to control whatever emotions he has or the demon of the sword takes control. Over all I think this is a good start to a new series. It has potential and I’m curious to see where it goes from here. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Aphill 28 days ago
This book was one of my first introductions to Japanese folklore and I was fascinated the entire time. I love Kagawa's books and this one was no exception! I learned about new and terrifying creatures of nightmares, clever foxes and brave (albeit dangerous) warriors. This book, took me to the mystical world of Japan's past. Although I stumbled some over the new terminology, I found myself hooked and hanging on every word. I enjoyed the relationships and the message that kindness and helpfulness can turn the tides more in one's favor than isolation, vengeance and single mindedness. Overall, this book took me to a world I had yet to experience and left me desperate to find out what happens next in this world of demons and dragons. *** Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin TEEN (US & Canada) for gifting me with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review ***
CrazyCat_Alex 3 months ago
I loved the idea of a story set in Japan, with some mystic, some romance and a lot of amazing settings. While I got most of it, I had a hard time getting in to the story and also, liking the characters. Even so, it was a good read and I would encourage everyone to give it a try.
sanshliangirl 3 months ago
*I received this book via Netgalley. My opinions are my own.* I really enjoyed this book! I found the main character, Yumego, to be hilarious, well-written, and having great character development. I also really like Kage as he struggles between his mission, possibly making a friend, and the demon sword trying to take his soul. There were many twists and turns in this book that I didn't see coming. I really enjoyed the mythology, the use of Japanese words, and the fantasy world that was created. I think this book is very well written and I can't wait for book two (of which I have already preordered!). If you like anime, manga, or Japanese fantasy, this story is definitely for you! I give this book a 5/5!
etoile1996 4 months ago
lush japanese mythology lays the foundation for shadow of the fox, a new fantasy series from julie kawaga. i honestly loved the serting, and the lush descriptions. i loved the japanese terminology because it made it feel more authentic even though at times there were so many characters with so many honorifics i was maybe a little confused. but this book started out slow for me, because the first chapter relates an event that's so disconnected to a huge part of the narrative that i had a hard time connecting to the first person switch from suki to yumeko and then later again to tatsumi. sometimes narrative frames like this don't work for me, because when i pull up these books on my e-reader i have no idea what they're going to be about. i don't usually remember back cover copy. so when i start reading something that's one thing, only for it to become another, i am challenged to stick with it. but eventually you get caught up in the fantasy and story, and you want to know where this journey will lead yumeko and tatsumi. **shadow of the fox will publish on october 2, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/harlequin teen in exchange for my honest review.
BookLoverGirl39 4 months ago
3.75 I had a hard time getting into this story. Part of it was probably because I am not too familiar with Japanese folklore and culture. The other problem I had was that the main portion of the narrative was more of a travelogue, similar to Lord of the Rings. There was a lot of wandering the countryside, encountering enemies they had to fight and then more wandering. However, the characters were all quite interesting. There were mainly two POV’s that I read from, Yumeko and Tatsumi. They were each unique and had very different upbringings and world views. I favorite character was actually the Ronin, Okame, as he brought some fun comic relief to the story. Once they actually got to the final battle of this story it did finally start to pick-up and near the end we meet some new characters that will continue on in the journey during book two. I would say, overall, for me personally, this is not something I will need to own. I am slightly more interested now to see how this story will continue so I will likely get the sequel from the library when it comes out. If you like Japanese folklore and travel adventures (like LotR) than you will likely enjoy this story. I received an eARC from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Sailon 5 months ago
Kagawa has this amazing talent of creating imagery with words. Worlds burst to life within the pages of each and every one of her books. Shadow of the Fox is a world of magic, demons and political mechaniations. A cast of unlikely characters find themselves thrust into a hair raising quest. Not all are looking to accomplish the same goal, actually some of their goals are out and out opposing, but in the end they band together. The cast is introduced slowly with each one joining as the journey progresses. I am a fan of all Julie Kagawa books and in the end I am a fan of Shadow of the Fox... and here comes the but ... But, I struggled getting into this story. I liked it but it was a pretty slow building read until about 45% in and then I LOVED IT. Would I recommend Shadow of the Fox? ABSOLUTELY! Will I read on? I wouldn't miss it! My recommendation, push on because once you break through you will not want this novel to end. I received this ARC copy of Shadow of the Fox from Harlequin TEEN. This is my honest and voluntary review.
LibaryInTheCountry 5 months ago
Review copy generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Shadow of the Fox was a fun ride through a lush Japanese inspired landscape and not at all what I was expecting! I loved so much of this story and found it completely entrancing. If you're looking for a thoroughly developed fantasy world, enchanting mythology and lore, morally grey characters, and a centuries old mystery to unravel ... THIS is the book for you. Yumi is part human, part kitsune (fox) in a world that both revers and fears her kind. Raised amongst monks, she has little experience with the outside world but dreams of experiencing everything. After a massacre upends her whole world, Yumi is thrust into the world she has so dearly mused over. Tatsumi is a samurai and demonslayer, tasked with retrieving an ancient artifact for his clan. Raised to be cold and unquestioning of his orders, Tatsumi is the perfect warrior, provided he keeps control over his darkness. Fate brings Yumi and Tatsumi together and with similar goals in mind, they choose to travel together. However, neither has been honest with the other and its only a matter of time before their ruses begin to unravel. From the very first chapter of this story I was absolutely captivated by the world Kagawa has created! So much happens right from the start, I was totally invested in Suki's story (and feeling SO upset for her!) and was absolutely shocked when the first chapter took the turn it did! Way to reel your readers in! If you can read it and NOT want to devour the rest of the book, you must be in the worst of all book slumps. I LOVED Yumi's true nature and every subtle nod at her wiliness and tricks throughout the story. Her naivety about the outside world and desire to help everyone is so sweet! That said, her curiosity and disregard for danger was a little taxing at times. Tatsumi is by-far the most complex and fascinating character in this story. He's my favorite (are we surprised? we are not.) and the moral dilemmas he faces through this story played a huge role on the plot and his character development. Tatsumi harbors some very Shadowsinger-esque abilities and I was like: YAAASSSS. I thoroughly enjoyed how he came to grow fond of Yumi, began to question his own life's path and tried perilously to keep hold of his humanity. This book also has a great group of supporting characters - such as Suki, Daisuke and Okami! Every character has an important role to play in this story and not one felt like they didn't belong. My heart STILL hurts over Suki's situation. I was totally NOT explecting Daisuke to return to the story the way he did and came to adore his chivalry and "deal" with Tatsumi. Okami's humor and aloofness was exactly what this story needed and he came at the perfect time. I cannot get over how rag-tag, yet PERFECT Yumi and Tatsumi's fellowship becomes. Also, the smattering of romance in this never felt forced or unnatural. This is slow burn and NOT insta-love. There was a natural progression of the primary relationship: from allies, to feeling fond of each other to feeling more. If you are looking for a book with a LOT of romance, this is not the book for you. BUT - if you are looking for a book in which the romance plays a large role on the progression of the story, here you have it! The only things I really didn't like about this was Yumi's character at times and the sometimes confusing name dropping of Japanese mythology and lore. Don't get
Anonymous 5 months ago
I love Julie Kagawa and this book did not disappoint! I had trouble putting this book down and I am already excited to see what happens to Kira and the rest of the group in book 2.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I received this ebook in return for an honest review. This is the story of a half human, half kitsune girl who was raised in a monastery. She was abandoned there when very young with a prophecy. She finds out about the prophecy the night the monastery is attacked my demons and an oni. She escapes with a scroll. While fleeing, she runs into a mysterious man that was on his way to the monastery to steal the scroll. She doesn't know this, but thinks he is samurai and he can protect her on her quest to the capital and the Steal Feather monastery. What she doesn't know about is that he is an assassin of the Shadow Clan and carries a cursed sword that contains an extremely powerful demon that he has to struggle to contain. They come across many interesting people and creatures in their travels as each tries to fulfill their oaths. The characters are well thought out, the story is well written, and the atmosphere comes to life. Julie Kagawa is an author I have always enjoyed, and she does not disappoint this time. This book would appeal to readers of any of Julie Kagawa's other books, and readers of dark fantasy.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Julie Kagawa is an author who I have always been meaning to read. I think I even have the Iron Fey books but just never got around to them. If Shadow of the Fox is an indication of what I've been missing....I know what my next binge series is going to be! I loved everything about this book. It was a quick read, the characters were relatable and entertaining and it was so, so easy to get pulled in. I absolutely loved all the Japanese lore and mythology laced through this book. It was the perfect extra touch. Also...that cover! It definitely draws you in. The next in this series can not come fast enough! Until then, on to read more Julie Kagawa books! I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book to read and provide my honest opinions.
Eloise_In_Paris 6 months ago
I am a fan of the Iron Fey series, so going into this book I had high hopes and I was not disappointed. Yumeko was the perfect combination of naive and cunning. Kage wasn’t brooding, he was introspective and because of the way the book was written we got to see what he was feeling and why. They were both well rounded characters, there was so much more than surface appearances both physically and mentally. Their companions were also well fleshed out characters. The world building was extremely well done, and I enjoyed the lead characters journey. The only criticism that I have is that the villains could’ve been a bit more fleshed out. Because everyone is after the scroll and therefore the ultimate wish the villain’s motivations aside from the obvious were left out, and we got bad guys who were bad because they are bad. But there was a twist at the end that may not justify their lack of development, but it excuses it. The ending wasn’t a cliffhanger, because the first part of the journey is over. However there is so much mystery left for both the characters and the readers. I can not wait for the next book.
courtofbingereading 6 months ago
Ever since I joined bookstagram and started reviewing books more regularly, I have noticed that a fair amount of hyped books & I don’t get along. At all. Which honestly, devastates me. I go into these books with the highest expectations; I want to love them so incredibly much. But, *sigh* I don’t. Then, I start to question what is wrong with me since EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the world seems to adore the book except me. Well, folks, I am here to tell you that another hyped book and I have had a falling out. This time it’s Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. I was surprised that I didn’t enjoy this book. I have read other books by Kagawa in the past which is why I wanted to read an ARC of this one. I expected to love it with my whole heart and soul. In the end, this book just wasn’t for me. Quite frankly, it did absolutely nothing for me. I hate writing reviews like this because I understand how much time, work, blood, sweat, and tears go into creating a novel. Alas, I can only tell my truth which is that I was kind of bored while reading this book. There. I said it. Let the pitchforks and rioting begin. I could not for the life of me connect with these characters. I kept waiting and waiting for it to magically happen. I hoped that randomly I would begin to care about the characters and their respective journeys...I never did. My hope finally died out once I reached the 50% mark. That is when I realized that things were not going to start looking up for me. Plot Every 100 years, the Dragon rises for the mortal who summons him. If their soul is pure, intentions just, and heart deemed honorable the Dragon will grant him his heart’s desire. However, if the soul isn’t pure, the Dragon will rip the soul from its body. In order to summon the Dragon, you must utter the 1000 prayers the Lord did all of those years ago--verbatim. Not even a single word can be different. These prayers are kept in three different scrolls, one of which lives at the Silent Winds Temple under the protection of the monks. Yumeko, our main character, also lives at the Silent Winds Temple. Yumeko is a 16-year-old half kitsune. She is half human and half fox. The monks have raised her whole entire life at the temple; Yumeko has never wandered or strayed far from the temple. Therefore, she has lived a very sheltered life. The monks have also tried to help her control her kitsune side and her fox magic. However, at the end of the day, she is only 16 years old...and fox magic is all about trickery and illusion. Of course, she uses her magic to play tricks. Honestly, who wouldn’t? Yumeko’s life is soon turned upside down when a horde of demons attack the temple in search of the scroll. The monks instruct Yumeko to protect the scroll at all costs. They also tell her to travel to another temple where another scroll is kept hidden. Enter Kage Tatsumi, our other main character. Tatsumi is a shinobi, a shadow warrior, for his clan. In other words, he is an utter badass. He’s been raised to be a soldier his entire life. He operates differently than the rest of the world. He feels nothing, shows no emotion, and is no stranger to pain. His purpose is to follow orders, nothing else. On the night of the attack at the temple, Yumeko stumbles upon Kage Tatsumi. She coerces him into taking her to the next temple--where she leads him to believe the scroll will be. And this my dear friends, is where the adventure and journey begins.
Bookschief_Managed 6 months ago
“…Follow me if you dare, little ducklings. Into the dark we go.” This book was so different from anything I could have imagined. It was such a lovely surprise. There’s a ton of Japanese lore and mythology throughout this book that just made me fall even more in love with this book overall. I’m a sucker for any sort of mythology, so that was a big selling point for me. Yumeko was amazing. I love my little kitsune heroine. She’s naïve and helpless at times, but she grows a lot and really starts learning the extent of her abilities. Okay. So, the overall storyline reminded me a lot of the movie Tangled. We have our totally naïve, young heroine who’s got a huge secret attached to her, who’s been essentially locked away for years and has no knowledge of the outside world. Enter warrior/ borderline criminal hero. The two agree to make a journey together. Shenanigans ensue. Another character enters, one they’re really not sure they can trust, but who is along for the journey nonetheless. More shenanigans ensue. Fight with the big, bad villain when everything looks like it can’t possibly work out. The end. This book definitely had its tropes, but I didn’t really mind it. The “love interest” wasn’t overdone, and while it did play some part in the storyline, it definitely wasn’t a focus, which I enjoyed. Two things that really did bother me though, and they’re the main reason this book doesn’t have the full 5 stars. One is that it switches POV’s between Yumeko and Tatsumi, and sometimes I didn’t know who was talking until it mentioned the other or the way they talked about certain characters that varied, but it bothered me that they weren’t more distinctive. The other thing was the ending. There was a pretty good shock at the end (what saved it from being 3 stars), but it BUGGED ME SO BADLY that the big villain just kinda… walked away. I know it was literally for nothing other than allowing that sequel, but I hate when that part is anticlimactic. More so because the villain actually said they were letting our MC go… for now. Overall, this was a fantastic book and I am so excited to see where this series goes.
ruthsic 6 months ago
Shadow of the Fox is a great adventure through Japanese myths. Told through two alternating first person perspectives of Yumeko and Tatsumi, and the occasional third person narrative of a minor character Suki, the story takes us from the mountainous lands of the Earth Clan to the capital city of the Iwagoto, encountering all manner of creatures of Japanese folklore. Yumeko, part-kitsune herself, is passing as a human peasant while trying to deliver the scroll of the Dragon’s prayer to another temple via the shrine in the capital. Protecting her on the journey in exchange for her directions is Tatsumi, a shinobi bound to the Kage clan who doesn’t know that the scroll he has been sent to retrieve is actually in her possession. On the way, they encounter forests spirits, while being watched by a malicious presence, and collect (no, really, it is like they are collecting people in their squad!) a ronin, a nobleman samurai, and a shrine maiden. Yumeko and Tatsumi are diametrically opposite sort of characters. Being part-yokai, she has a mischievous nature, and a naivete borne out of her secluded childhood in the temple. Meanwhile, Tatsumi has been brought up in strict discipline by his clan, to bear a possessed sword. Their upbringing was also different – while she wasn’t exactly adored by all the monks in the temple, they did bring her up in kindness, with the only stipulation that she not lean into her yokai nature much for fear of losing her human side; Tatsumi, though human, was treated more like a tool, and his value to the clan is only in how long he can survive being bound to the demon sword. Their initial relationship is rocky, because he sees her as too simple, too trusting, while she finds his cold nature a bit scary. The addition of Okame brings levity to their group, and the interactions between the trio gain a sense of camaraderie. But Yumeko has to increasingly lie as to what her mission is, while Tatsumi has to defend his decisions to his superiors, all the while starting to have feelings for her. The story is an adventure, and is an exciting one. They encounter forest spirits, legends, haunted villages, and though Tatsumi doesn’t want to get involved in anything, Yumeko’s kind nature does and her approach works to resolve the obstacles that come up. She wants to help out when she sees something wrong, and her openness to the world brings him out of his closed off existence. While she initially comes off as a carefree kitsune, soon she becomes a courageous girl who takes matters into her own hands and faces off against mages, and demons, despite being at a disadvantage. She uses her powers of illusions and trickery in innovative ways, whether to prank Okame with a discomforting bed, or gaining access to the Emperor’s party as an onmyoji. As for Tatsumi, you can’t help but want to cheer for him falling for her, but also know how dangerous that is for him. As for the action part, there are some pretty cool fight scenes with him, and for the most part the danger is not from whatever he is facing down (he is a trained demonslayer after all!) but from the demon in his sword. Okame, while a secondary character, delivers some wonderful snark throughout his presence in the book; mostly it is bitterness with the class system but some of it is to tease Yumeko, too. I first thought Daisuke might be a shady character, but he turned out to be a wonderful addition to their group.
TeresaReviews 6 months ago
Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin Teen, and Julie Kagawa for the opportunity of reading this book in exchange for an honest review. Love the book, but at first it was a bit hard to follow. The first three chapters each have a different narrator, and I didn't quite realize that until reading a bit further in. I think a more definite/obvious narrator change would be very helpful. Chapter one feels more like a prologue, and chapters two and three establish the two main perspective characters for the rest of the novel. Once I figured out the perspectives and got to know Yumeko (a fox [kitsune] half-demon) and Tatsumi (a samurai member of the Shadow [Kage] Clan), it really picked up and was enjoyable to see how the two story lines would intertwine. It's a good thing I have seen the anime Inu-Yasha in its entirety, because many of the things I learned about feudal Japanese culture come from watching that anime. This book has a number of references to different types of demons, historical terms (like daimyo), and a heavy use of the Japanese language in general. Having studied Japanese language and culture, this was pretty easy for me to pick up on and made the story interesting based on my own personal interest in Japan. For many readers, though, I find that this could get very confusing is not elaborated on. Some words are elaborated on once, such as Kamigoroshi, Godslayer. Some people might not remember that name on the first go, so a sprinkled reminder here or there for Japanese words would help the reading audience that is not so versed in anime and Japanese culture. The focus of this novel actually feels like the audience would be much more limited to those who do know some Japanese or invest themselves in learning about the culture, and it's not a book I would recommend to those who don't know much about Japan. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the quest feel to Yumeko's plot, and I enjoyed the characters that continued to be added to her party. While the end wasn't quite what I was hoping for, or what I expected, I feel like this trilogy has a lot of potential and I am definitely interested in investing myself further into the series. I also enjoyed some of the (extremely) subtle romantic aspects between Tatsumi and Yumeko, and I wasn't to see how that might develop. Nothing physical happened, but each has had at least brief, fleeting thoughts about the other. Definitely a series I would recommend to anime fans, lovers of Japanese culture, and a book I might just have for students to choose on my classroom bookshelf.  You can see this and other YA book reviews on my site: Review originally published October 2, 2018
Jennifer Holt 6 months ago
Shadow of the Fox is the first in a new series by Julie Kagawa and you will be immersed in gorgeous world building and Japanese mythology. Straight out of the gate you are dropped into a cruel and brutal character introduction that sets the tone through the rest of the book and you barely have enough time to catch your breath before the next thing hits the fan. Our MC is Yumeko who has lived with monks her entire life and is completely innocent to the ways of the outside world. She is a kitsune - half fox - and with that comes a fun, trickster personality. When evil hits too close to home, she is tasked with taking a piece of a sacred scroll - the Dragon's Prayer to a safe temple. She swears to protect the scroll at all costs. With the scroll hidden safely away, Yumeko sets out to find the temple, but immediately runs into Tatsumi - a demonslayer who wields a sword called the Kamigoroshi that is possessed by the nastiest of demons by the name of Hakaimono, who demands bloodlust and destruction. Tatsumi has to be on his toes at all times, keeping his emotions in check, because if he lets that curtain fall just once Hakaimono will be unleashed and will take over Tatsumi leaving those around him no choice but to kill him. Tatsumi's only mission set forth by the Shadow Clan is to retrieve the scroll - no matter what. Without knowing that Yumeko actually has the scroll on her person, he agrees to take her to the hidden Steel Feather Temple where Yumeko claims the scroll is and where Tatsumi plans his ultimate betrayal of taking the scroll and killing Yumeko and anyone who stands in his way. Unaware that Yumeko is a kitsune and believing she is a mere peasant, he agrees to be her protection on the road. So a tense journey begins, with neither showing their full hand, and Yumeko knowing that Tatsumi is as dangerous as the demons he kills himself. Along the way they "acquire" Okame who is a ronin (a once samurai that has lost their status and doing whatever he can to survive) and boy was he fun! Clearly the comic relief that forever wore Tatsumi's last nerve and introduced Yumeko to the finer things in life - like how to be sarcastic! Split between 3 different POVs - two being Yumeko and Tatsumi - you really get to see Yumeko's world open up with different experiences, emotions, and interactions that she never had before. With Tatsumi - watching Yumeko experience all these things for the first time with wide eyed wonder and innocence, as well as showing him kindness and trust while knowing full well what he is and what he is capable of - the wall Tatsumi built to keep out anything happy and beautiful starts to crumble which he knows will have dire consequences. The 3rd POV is from the evil in this story and it carries the title well - swift, vicious, and unapologetic. The monsters unleashed by this evil seriously had my skin crawling at times and I was pretty sure I would have nightmares. Eeesh! While the ending is not a punch-to-the-gut cliffhanger, it definitely sets up a delicious direction for Book 2. Sign me up and take my money! Do not miss out on this explosive introduction to your new favorite series!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Overall this was a fun and engaging fantasy story that felt very unique with using elements from Japanese mythology and the hero's journey with a few twists here and there. It hooked me from the first chapter! I was immediately invested in the rich, folklore-filled plot and the likeable and complex characters, especially the main character Yumeko. The world-building and magic system was one of the best parts of the story for me. Unique, wonderfully executed without being info-dumped on, I was sold onto this story. This was such a great book and I can't wait to continue reading this story in the sequel and find out what other adventures that awaits this ragtag group of misfits.
CaptainsQuarters 6 months ago
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this young adult fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . Many blue moons ago, I read book one of the author's Talon Saga.  I thought it was just okay and as it appeared a love triangle was on the horizon, I never read any further into that series.  But I liked the author's writing style enough that I wanted to give her work another chance.  So when this came along I gave it a shot and I am so very glad I did. I loved this Japanese ownvoices story.  This tale is told from the perspective of three characters whose stories eventually intertwine.: Yumeko - a half kitsune who loves to play pranks on the monks who raised her, she is open-hearted and kind and just a bit naive; only now she has been tasked with saving the world. Kage - an assassin who welds a demon-infused sword that is trying to take over his mind and spirit; because of his training, he is aloof and solitary and must obey his masters in the Shadow Clan no matter what the cost. Suki - the daughter of a flute-maker, she is sent to the imperial palace to make a new life for herself; with a love of music and an ache for the family left behind, she is determined to bring honor to her family but her new master has other plans. The chapters go back and forth between these point-of-views.  I thought this was particularly well done even when I didn't necessarily want to switch. I also loved the Japanese spirits and folklore elements - the kami, oni, samuri, and other beings are fantastically woven into the story.  I especially loved the ronin.  One of the best parts is how these creatures and people traditionally are assigned certain roles and the author has the characters embody those fundamentals.  Then she proceeds to play with the tropes due to the circumstances the characters find themselves in.  Lost honor can be regained.  Kindness can have a ripple effect.  Nobles can care about peasants. Fun stuff.  I don't want to get too much into the plot because this one is so wonderful to experience firsthand.  Just take me word on it and go get a copy.  That’s an order.  Arrr!
JackieBCentralTexasJB 6 months ago
Book Info Hardcover, 400 pages Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Harlequin Teen Original Title Shadow of the Fox ISBN 1335145168 (ISBN13: 9781335145161) Series Untitled #1 Other Editions (4) Source:Netgalley EARC Buy book from Amazon B&N BOOK BLURB 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. My Thoughts As the reader moves between the dual perspectives of Yumeko and Tatsumi they follow along in a world of evil, fantastical, magical, mythological wonders. A world that is both dangerous and exciting in turns with characters to match. This story is a road trip which takes it's main characters on a very dangerous, very long and ultimately very twisted path where the end goal becomes even more imperative to be achieved. What started out as a mission like every other for Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan instead becomes entwined with that of Yumeko. As readers journey along with the pair they are joined by others who were once enemies now turned allies. Allies who help the pair in battle time and again as the Demon hordes unleashed against them try their best to stop good from winning over evil. On this perilous path there are many deaths, both those our heroes are instrumental in as well as those perpetrated by the afore mentioned Demons. With many different types of creatures both for and against them what happens along the way for Yumeko and Tatsumi becomes hard to follow at times. However, as this reader knew all along, author Julie Kagawa had a plan in mind. A rather diabolical plan to draw one in, get them invested in how the final outcome played out and then leave one hanging with a shocking twist. Luckily, as a longtime fan/reader of the authors work, the cliffhanger was not totally unexpected but it is certainly not my favorite way to lead into the second book to come. Despite the many questions this ending left one with there were just as many answers. Answers which cleared up a few threads of the tale while leaving others still dangling in the wind. [EArc from Netgalley]
AFCTL 7 months ago
I can see what all the hype is about! I am generally very sceptical of hyped up books but this one I absolutely love! Julie Kagawa has once again put her NYT Bestseller writing skills into a book, making me scared and worrying for Yumeko, Tatsumi, Omachi and all of the other best characters! I love how the use of the Japanese language was easily blended into this amazing novel and how every character seemed to have something to help move their character along, with development. Influence: 3/5 Characters: 4/5 Plot: 4/5 Writing: 5/5 How much I enjoyed it: 5/5 Overall: 84% Read full review at: