by Julie Kagawa
Narrator: Joy Osmanski, Brian Nishii, Emily Woo Zeller
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 2, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy
Length: 14 hours and 45 minutes
Format: Ebook, Audiobook
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble
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.
5 Stars for Shadow of the Fox!
Shadow of the Fox is an exciting adventure and I enjoyed every moment. Set during Japan’s samurai era, author Julie Kagawa amazed me with her writing and storytelling.
The story has adventure, mystery and a great cast of characters. In Shadow of the Fox we meet Yumeko, a teenage girl raised by monks in the Silent Winds temple. Yumeko is half kitsune (a mythical fox creature with magical powers), half human, and with the help of the monks training she has tried to balance a normal human life and her magic. Kitsune are masters of illusions and mischief, which I found was a funny pairing with the seriousness of a monk’s life. Yumeko’s tricks on the monks had me laughing, but behind the pranks was a girl trying to fit in. Living in seclusion left her unprepared for a demon attack on their temple. Yumeko must flee her home to protect an ancient scroll and is thrust into a world she knows nothing about. As she escapes, she meets Kage Tatsumi, a samurai of the Shadow Clan. Tatsumi has orders to retrieve the scroll at any cost. Yumeko is desperate to protect the scroll, so she and Tatsumi form an unlikely alliance: he escorts and protects her on her mission, she promises to lead him to the scroll (keeping the truth she has the scroll from him). Thus, begins their journey across Japan, dodging demons and meeting interesting characters. I loved this story! The author created a vivid story and I clearly imagined their adventures. My family loves anime and Shadow of the Fox has the elements that we love – action, comedy and inspirational theme.
The inspirational theme comes from the characters and how they interact. I loved the balance between Yumeko and Tatsumi. She is clever (as a fox) and naïve due to her seclusion in the temple. Tatsumi is a trained samurai and has closed all his emotions so he can complete his orders. The more they spend time together, the more Tatsumi begins to feel again. Because of her upbringing with the monks, Yumeko is compassionate towards everyone she meets. It warmed my heart to see her character grow from an insecure, naïve girl to a courageous girl, jumping into battles. She may not be a trained samurai, but her cleverness gets them through some difficult challenges. I see the beginnings of their romance, but I love that this is a very slow build. Since Tatsumi has trained to close off his emotions so it makes sense that Yumeko’s presence is slowly chipping that wall down. The adventures they have are enough to keep anyone entertained and the hints of a romance aren’t distracting.
I received an ARC from Netgalley but switched to an audiobook, because I was having technical problems with my ereader. I loved the audiobook version. The character voices matched what I was imagining while I was reading the book. This is my first audiobook narrated by Joy Osmanski, Brian Nishii, and Emily Woo Zeller and they did an incredible performance. I will definitely get the next book in audiobook.
Shadow of the Fox is a great start to a new series and I can’t wait for the next book. I highly recommend this book to fans of fantasy, sword fights, folk lore and characters you will enjoy cheering for.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2019 Audiobook Challenge
- COYER Winter 2018-2019