Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Enter a beautiful and perilous land of shapeshifters and samurai, kami and legends, humans and demons…a world in which Japanese mythology and imagination blend together

When destiny calls, legends rise.

Every millennium the missing pieces of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers are hunted, for they hold the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for any one wish.

As a temple burns to the ground Yumeko escapes with its greatest treasure the first piece of the scroll. And when fate thrusts her into the path of a mysterious samurai she knows he seeks what she has. Kage is under order to kill those who stand in his way but will he be able to complete his mission? Will this be the dawn that sees the dragon wake?

Release Date: Out Now ebook // Paperback 1st November UK // Harper Collins

Readers of the Young Adult genre back in 2010 will probably know of Julie Kagawa. Her Iron Fey series was a sensation of its time, followed by the Talon series, Kagawa is not afraid of infusing myths and fairy tales into her books.  Shadow of the Fox is revolved around Japanese mythology and legends, with Yumeko, the main character a Kitsune. Yumeko in Japanese means dream child, a notion which is touched on in the narrative. We meet Yumeko in the temple where she has been raised to be more human than monster (or Yokai) by the monks. 

I did enjoy reading this, although the story felt stringed out. It was if the story had to be padded out so much to exhibit the powers held by Yumeko and Kage (which means Shadow). The additional trials and tribulations felt forced however there was pay-off of what was hinted at throughout by the end of the book. Kage and Yumeko are unlikely travelling companions, and Yumeko’s naivety and big heart leads to additional strays joining their group which means by the end of the book there is quite the eclectic group.

I thought this was written much like Kagawa’s other works which left the writing and narrative choices feeling a little dated. The community has shifted since Kagawa released The Iron Fey, and some of the tropes used felt well used and wrung out. Much like her some of her other works, the “villain” is devious and female, contrasting somewhat with the naive heroine. This doesn’t mean the book isn’t good – oh no, it was plenty enjoyable and the Japanese inspired world was well built, I look forward to Kagawa developing this story and possibly her narrative style in time for the sequel. 

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