Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Publish date: October 2, 2018
Yumeko is half kitsune and likes to play pranks on the monks at the temple where she lives. But when an oni and horde of demons attack the temple, she is the only survivor that must take a sacred piece of scroll to another temple for protection. On her journey she meets many different type of people and encounters relentless dangers from those who seek the scroll.
Having had studied Japanese and the culture, as well as having had grown up on anime, let’s just say I was incredibly excited for this book. I have a genuine love for kitsune and have even started writing a mg/ya book with a kitsune (I doubt I’ll ever finish). So I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this book.
It gave me an overall reminiscence of Inuyasha, and not only because of all that Japanese stuff. The structure of the story made me think, this could easily be broken up into short episodes. Something happens and is then resolved, all along the course of our long term journey. This made for excellent pacing for taking breaks as I progressed through the story.
One thing that sort of irked me was how much repetitiveness was written in. Some feelings/reactions/decisions were overly explained and brought up multiple times. This added unnecessary length to a decently long story.
The World Building
This book is flush with Japanese culture, setting, and even language. For the common reader this should help immerse the them into the story, as after each instance an explanation or definition is given, providing full understanding. For me, with my already researched knowledge it made the story feel like it dragged a little bit. I think it was just because it was all stuff I already knew about.
Another thing I found odd was how much the act of seppuku was thrown out into the conversation so casually. The characters made it seem like the smallest shame would enact the ritual, including the mentioning it for the Emperor, who wouldn’t necessarily follow bushido because he is in a different class than samurai.
I loved Yumeko. She was cute, naive, and hopeful. She was the type of endearing character that you want to root for. I really liked that Tatsumi was fighting with a literal inner demon and that he wasn’t a jerk because he was a tough samarai, but because of the emotions that connecting with people could produce and therefore giving the demon access to him.
There was one particular character that was the type to always have a comment, usually sarcastic. This character drove me nuuuuttts. His constant yammering really didn’t add anything to the story. I get developing himself as a sarcastic character. But whenever there was a conversation there was this added lightness that basically made a joke out of everything. It definitely took away from the solemnity of their situations.
YUI – Tomorrow’s Way