Title: Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Type: Series – Book 1
Genre: High Fantasy, Magical World, YA fantasy, Japanese Folklore
Primary Characters: Yumeko, Tatsumi, Daisuke, Okame
Narration: Limited third party POV
This was my first Juile Kagawa book. I had no clue about the book when I picked it up. I loved this from the very first chapter, and was more captivated than I have been in a while. I wasn’t even aware it had several references to Japanese folk lore. I adored this book and went along the journey with Yumeko and Tatsumi. It’s a story about people who come from different background and how their life’s get intertwined regardless of their own goals.
Plot occurs in the land of Iwagoto. There, once a thousand years, a Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, has the power to bring forth the Kami Dragon and grant one wish to mortal. In order to protect the land, the scroll was divided into 3 parts and hidden away to prevent disastrous consequences.
Yumeko, a wild and young half-kitsune has been raised by the monks from very young age in Silent Winds temple. This temple protects one part of Dragon scroll. When temple is under attack, Yumeko is forced to flee. Her Master’s has given Yumeko a duty to hand over the scroll to other protectors (Monks of another temple). Meanwhile, shadow clan samurai Kage Tatsumi is the deadliest warriors and demon slayers ever, even though he is very young. He receives a mission to retrieve the scroll himself. When he reaches Silent Winds temple, its already under attack. He and Yumeko make an uneasy alliance. He will offer her protection in exchange for her leading him to the other temple to retrieve the scroll. Tasumi isn’t aware that Yumeko carries what he seeks.
This book is a journey from point A to Point B. During this Journey Young Yumeko and Tatsumi (16 and 17 years old) find a lot of deviation and trouble and various mini adventures along the way. The characters from Japanese mythology are fascinating. We meet Oni, Yokai, Yokai, Amanjaku, Jorogumo, Onikuma, huge centipede and several others.
Yumeko is the sweet, naïve, young and kind little bean of them all. Her half human and Half kitsune(fox) sides were adorable. They were two sides of the same coin flipping interchangeably. Tatsumi, a boy who hadn’t been taught the first thing about kindness, compassion or mercy. He is been weapon to carry the cursed blade and become the bearer of “Hakaimono” (Demon of jigoku). The friendship woven in this tale of trust and forgiveness is just amazing. Their relationship is resoundingly profound and simply exquisite.
The tone of the writing, the incredible world and the highly alluring characters; Though the setting and supernatural creatures are atypical of YA, I enjoyed every part of it. The world of Shadow of the Fox is absolutely mythical, rich in mythology and culture.
I adored those secondary characters/friends and companions that Kage and Yumeko unexpectedly met along the way, especially Okame and Daisuke. Okame is obnoxious, uncouth and dishonored ronin with beautiful sarcasm and wit.
If you want to know a Japanese mythology inspired YA fantasy with lot of mini adventure then I would recommend this to you. But, be warned it’s a typical YA, to some extent it might even feel like kids’ story of young teens. However, it was very entertaining to me. I’m going to be continuing with next book in series as I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Source – My Purchased copy
Blurb as per Amazon
One of my all time favourite fantasy novels!’
Ellen Oh, author of the Prophecy and Spirit Hunters series
The first book in a brand-new series set in ancient Japan from New York Times bestselling author 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, whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers has the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for one wish. The time is near…and the missing pieces of the scroll will be sought throughout the land of Iwagoto.
When demons kill half-kitsune Yumeko’s adoptive family, she’s forced to flee her home with one part of the ancient scroll. Fate thrusts her into the path of mysterious samurai Kage Tatsumi, who is Yumeko’s best hope for survival. But he’s under orders to retrieve the scroll. An uneasy alliance forms, and Yumeko begins the deception of a lifetime, knowing her secrets are more than a matter of life or death—they’re the key to the fate of the world.