Shadow Of The Fox by Julie Kagawa – Review

So I finally took the plunge and joined NetGalley, which has plunged me further into the black abyss that is my TBR pile. But hey, there’s no such thing as too many books, right? This is my first read from NetGalley, so big thanks to them & the publisher for providing the ebook for review!

Blurb:
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?

Fox

This book ticks so many boxes for me right off the bat; it’s Fantasy, it’s YA, it’s based in Japan (A favourite country and mild obsession of mine!) and it pulls references from Japanese mythology. There’s action, adventure, demons and witches, what more could I possibly want from a book?

The story kicks off introducing us to Yumeko, a young Kitsune (Half human, half fox) raised in a temple and living amongst the monks. As the temple is ravaged and burned to the ground by a hoard of demons, the monks all left for dead, Yumeko escapes with the precious piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. She has only one instruction – Deliver the scroll safely to another temple. Faced with the outside world for the first time, Yumeko is out of her depth and in desperate need of help.

Enter Tatsumi; the Kage demon-slayer from the Shadow Clan, tasked with his own mission to retrieve the sacred scroll. In what becomes the start of a long trail of deceit, Yumeko convinces the demon-slayer she knows the true location of the scroll, if only he could assist her in reaching her destination safely.

Though I found the first few chapters to be a bit of a slow start, I was soon hooked into the story, desperate to unravel the many threads in it’s tangled web. There are a few switches of POV throughout the book which seem unrelated at first, until the story gradually narrows down and reveals the true nature of some of the narrators. There was a slight issue in that the POV changes were never announced or noted at the beginning of the chapters, so it sometimes took a paragraph or two to figure out if the POV had changed and if so, to whom. That being said, it didn’t knock my flow too much as I was reading, so I was able to stay immersed in what was happening.
Alongside Yumeko and Tatsumi, various other characters join in on their ragtag pilgrimage, leading to them getting into all sorts of scrapes along the way. A lot of creatures, demons and other enemies are introduced, also, but I found they were well paced in their introductions, avoiding throwing too many new things at the reader at once, so it was easy to keep track of who was who and what was going on. The Japanese names of various types of demon are used without much reference or explanation to their hierarchy or what they were, but there is a glossary at the back of the book to check as you read if you felt the need.

This has been a great starting book to the trilogy, packed with action and mystery, and I can’t wait to crack open book two! Be warned if you pick this up, it ends on a serious cliff-hanger so moving straight onto book two is an absolute must!

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