Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
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.
Shadow of the Fox was one of my most anticipated releases for this year and it did not disappoint. After reading Julie’s kitsune story in A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, I knew I needed this book.
There is so much to love about this book and yet I’m not sure that I’ll be able to review it well. And I apologize for that. I had a ton of notes, but I want to make sure I don’t ruin anything for you.
Most of the book alternates between Yumeko and Kage Tatusmi. But we also get a few chapters by another character, a young maid named Suki.
Yumeko is a young half kitsume that was raised by monks. She is a kind girl, but gets in trouble a lot. The monks are teaching her how to use her magic, but also trying to make sure she uses it the right way. An Oni shows up and attacks the monks looking for a scroll that can summon the Dragon. Yumeko is sent away with the piece of the scroll while the monks are all killed.
Yumeko runs into Kage Tatsumi who was sent to find the scroll. She doesn’t tell him that she has a piece, but that she was being sent to another temple that has the scroll. He agrees to accompany her there to find it. Yumeko does not tell him that she’s kitsune. Kage Tatsumi is a samurai of the Shadow Clan. He was taught to have no feelings about anyone or anything. His whole life is about completing his missions and nothing else. He wields a sword that has a demon inside it. Kage Tatsumi struggles to keep the demon from being freed. He uses the sword to kill demons, but also people who are no longer needed.
Along the way, they run into other characters that I loved. Somehow, it ends up with a group heading to the temple. No one is really honest with each other, but they seem to bond on the way. They battle a blood witch, demons, spirits, a demon bear, a giant centipede, and probably some other things I’m forgetting.
The book is pretty serious and there is a lot of fighting and blood. But there was some humor, too. Okame, the Ronin the picked up on the way, was so funny. I loved his personality and he was such a stand out side character for me.
I loved all the Japanese mythology and folklore throughout the book. The writing was descriptive , there was a lot of action, and some really creepy things. All things I love in a book. There is a little bit of romance in a way. The ending was intense and I cannot wait to read Demon of the Blade next year. I really hope I get a chance to read it early because I need to know what happens (like now).
Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Edelweiss for my copy for review. I gave this book 5 stars.
Have you read Shadow of the Fox yet? Are there any other kitsune books you would recommend? Are there any Asian folklore/mythology young adult books that you loved?