Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Shadow of the Fox #1

Shadow of the Fox

Rate this book
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.

454 pages, ebook

First published October 2, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Julie Kagawa

79 books24.6k followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
6,240 (33%)
4 stars
7,589 (40%)
3 stars
3,619 (19%)
2 stars
867 (4%)
1 star
250 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,816 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
October 9, 2018
The monks at the temple would often train or meditate bare-chested, so I was used to seeing male upper bodies, but they'd all been so familiar I'd never given any of them a second thought. Kage Tatsumi was a different story.

I feel sad writing this review. I absolutely loved Kagawa's The Immortal Rules trilogy and also enjoyed her The Iron King series, but after Talon and Shadow of The Fox, I think I have to admit that we're growing apart.

I'm not sure if Kagawa's style changed or if I did, but I do know that this book is a long, boring journey, fuelled by a weak plot that doesn't mask the fact everything is about the inevitable developing romance between Yumeko and Tatsumi. Though the setting and supernatural creatures are atypical of YA, the story and characters are formulaic.

We move between the two perspectives of Yumeko and Tatsumi. The beginning sees the destruction of the temple where half-kitsune Yumeko has lived her whole life. The dying request of the monk who raised her is that she deliver part of an important scroll to another temple, which also holds a part of the scroll.

Meanwhile, shadow clan samurai Kage Tatsumi receives a mission to retrieve the scroll himself. He and Yumeko make a pact-- he will offer her protection in exchange for her leading him to the other temple.

This all happens in the first few chapters and it will be almost 300 pages before the book gets back to the main plot of finding the scroll. In between, the two characters travel to the temple, having what feel like various mini adventures along the way. The characters from Japanese mythology are fascinating, but the story meanders, name-dropping creature after creature - such as oni or gaki - in order to prolong the weak plot.

And though the romance is left pretty tame in this book, the journey feels like nothing but a set-up for love angst. Because, of course, Tatsumi is injured and must remove his shirt so Yumeko can admire his muscles. I feel like I've read versions of the two of them hundreds of times: aloof warrior dude and a beautiful naive girl who requires protecting-- what could possibly happen?
Protecting the girl was becoming more and more difficult; not that I cared what she did, but she was beautiful and naive and, by his own admission, the ronin had no honor left to his name.

The ending does pick up and an explosion of action awaits (with some surprises added too), but I still felt like I read maybe 100 pages of plot progression and 300 pages of filler. And it seems like the big bad at the end leaves the main characters alive for no other reason than to necessitate a sequel.

I was so excited for this book, especially after enjoying the author's short story in A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, but it was a really disappointing start to the series. I will check out reviews of the sequel before continuing.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,153 reviews97.7k followers
January 18, 2019

(My amazing friend Courtney, at Curly Book Owl, gave this to me as a birthday gift!) 💖

“…The tiniest pebble, when dropped into a pond, will leave ripples that will grow and spread in ways we cannot comprehend.”

Shadow of the Fox is a bright, shining light in 2018 fantasy! Friends, I loved this from the very first chapter, and was more captivated than I have been reading any other book this year. Like, go into any bookstore, read the first chapters of this book, and I dare you not to want to immediately buy it. Goosebumps. Tears. Perfection. Those are the three words that come to mind, and I just continued to fall even more in love with this story as it progressed.

This is an ownvoices Japanese inspired fantasy about three people who come from very different backgrounds, but their stories get interwoven regardless of what they wanted. And they are forced to work together, while a demon army is set to destroy everything.

Suki - Her chapters are sprinkled throughout the book, even though I completely believe she is going to play a much bigger role in the upcoming books. Her father is a flute maker who sent her away to become a royal maid so that she could live a good life. Sadly, she now works for one of the cruelest women in all of literature.

“It was raining the day Suki came to the Palace of the Sun, and it was raining the night that she died.”

Yumeko - Half kitsune who is very good at illusions! She has lived her entire life with monks in the Silent Winds temple. But her home soon comes under attack by demons, and she is the only hope to save the world, by safely bringing part of an ancient scroll to another hidden temple.

“In this vision, I have seen blood and flames and death, demons shrieking and rivers of bones, and the world grows dark with fear. But a single fox stands above it all, untouched, a great dragon cast in her shadow. Her name is Yumeko, child of dreams, for she is our hope against the coming darkness.”

Kage - Samurai of the Shadow Clan, and one of the deadliest warriors and demon slayers ever, even though he is very young. He wields a blade, Hakaimono, that gives him even more power but is constantly testing his willpower. He has been sent on a mission to retrieve that ancient scroll, but instead finds Yumeko and promises to get her to the hidden temple. Little does he know, this little kitsune is holding what he’s after the entire time.

“I am a weapon in the hands of the Kage. My life exists only to be the bearer of Kamigoroshi and to obey the orders of the Shadow Clan.”

And when the scroll is combined together to be whole again, a dragon will rise and the person that summons it will be have any wish they desire granted, as long as their heart and soul are pure and good. If not, well, things are going to get real messy. But needless to say, many people are after these pieces of the scroll so that they can combine them to have their wish granted. And remember, a demon army is trying to end the world, so some people really need their wishes to come true. You know, for the sake of humanity.

One of my favorite things in all of literature is reading about a group of people traveling from place to place, performing smaller quests, while trying to get to their final destination. And friends, that is what Shadow of the Fox is. I fell in love with every new town and every new adventure that Yumeko and Kage experienced together. I loved seeing so much Japanese folklore and mythology celebrated and woven into each town and adventure, too! Seriously, Julie Kagawa blessed us so much with this book! And I loved the few friends and companions that Kage and Yumeko unexpectedly met along the way.

At the heart of this book, is always friendship. And how kindness and unconditional love are two of the most powerful forces in any world. Yumeko and Kage's dynamic is one so beautiful that I don’t even have words for it. And this is the start of an extremely slow burn romance, but I’m so here for it, you all! They completely stole my heart and captivated me for all 400 pages of this story.

This book also holds a very heavy message about how we always have a choice to do right. No matter what we’ve done in our past, and no matter the sins of our family, we have our own choice to do good or to start doing good. And how sometimes a little kindness can completely change everything. And how it’s never too late to right your wrongs, apologize, and forgive. Hate is a very heavy thing to carry, but so is revenge.

“It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don't do a great job of it.”

Overall, Julie Kagawa gave me the (ownvoices) Japanese fantasy I’ve been searching my entire life for. I fell so deeply in love with this story, with Julie’s beautiful prose, with these characters, and with all the important messages that were so seamlessly woven in. This will for sure be on my best of 2018 list come December, and the next book for sure is now one of my most anticipated releases for 2019.

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for graphic violence, graphic murder, graphic death, loss of a loved one, physical abuse, threat of rape, talk of suicide, war themes, and a scene that might be hard for people with arachnophobia (I am sorry, Julie)!

Buddy read with May at Forever and Everly & Jen at Pinot and Pages! ❤
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,427 reviews9,025 followers
December 10, 2022
Shadow of the Fox was my favorite YA-book of 2019!!!



This book stole my heart. My whole damn heart!

I went into this wanting one thing, a lush Japanese-inspired Fantasy, and Kagawa delivered. I was hooked from the very first chapter.



The tone of the writing, the incredible world and the highly entertaining characters; all of it!



This is Anime brought to the page in the best way imaginable.



In the land of Iwagoto, the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, has the power to bring forth the Kami Dragon.

The dragon is capable of granting the summoner a single wish. If they are pure of heart, theoretically, all is well, if they are not, all hell will break loose.



In order to protect the land, the scroll was divided and the separate parts hidden away to prevent such disastrous consequences from happening, as it had in the past.

People are always searching for the parts, however, as combining them again could grant the summoner unrivaled power.



Yumeko, has been raised in the Silent Winds Temple where one piece of the scroll has been hidden. When the Temple is attacked by demons, Yumeko is forced to flee, with the scroll.

She promises the monks she will transport it to another hidden temple where she will receive further directions.



Trained her whole life to hide her Yokai nature, Yumeko, half kitsune, half human is a master of illusion and mischief.

She is also one of the sweetest and most pure characters I have ever read. I love her so much!



On the run, Yumeko meets up with Kage Tatsumi, a samurai of the mysterious Shadow Clan.

Tatsumi has been sent out in search of the scroll. He finds Yumeko close by the now destroyed temple and promises to get her to her destination safely. Of course, he has no idea, she actually carries what he seeks.



They meet up with another character along the way, Okame, a ronin, basically a traveling samurai without a master. He begins to travel with them and quickly became my favorite character.

A source of almost constant humor, I just cannot imagine this story without him.



One of my most loved tropes in literature is a quest. I heart a quest all day long.

A ragtag group of characters trying to get from Point A to Point B, overcoming obstacles along the way, nothing keeps me turning pages faster.

This was a great set-up for a fantastic quest. The stakes, the secrets, the magic, the world, I fell head-over-heels for it all. And don't even get me started on the hella SLOW-BURNING romance!



I am actually happy I didn't read this right when it released because I would have been in agony waiting for the next book. Now I only have to wait two months...

Wait a minute, two months!!?!!?



That still feels like an extraordinarily long time. Maybe I will have time to read this one again. It's that good.

Profile Image for jessica.
2,481 reviews29.8k followers
July 10, 2019
just reread this to prep myself for the sequel (i finally got my hands on it!!!) and decided this is a good time for a little PSA - if you havent read this yet, what are you waiting for?! your life will be so much better because of it, i promise you.
_____________________________

fantasy is a genre that i have really gotten into over the past year or so and i have come to realise that i enjoy it so much more when the story is rooted in cultural folklore. and japanese tales and traditions are among some of my favourite!

but honestly, everything about this is so just so fascinating. i dont think the story would be half as interesting if it wasnt for the writing - its magical in its own right. and there is a really smart array of characters, each one so unique and different and adds something of value to the story in their own way. and the world building is simply stunning. i just got so caught up in the sight and sounds of the different cities and villages, which is amazing considering its all just words on paper.

but that makes me really appreciate how visual the storytelling in this is. its been awhile since i have come across a book that has created such vivid imagery in my head. it honestly felt like i was reading an anime and even gave some 'avatar: the last airbender' vibes in a couple of places (brooding tatsumi is basically zuko and no one can convince me otherwise). it definitely added that extra element of fun to my reading experience and i love that.

this is such a promising beginning to what i can only imagine will be a terrific series! i cant wait for sequel!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,551 followers
May 21, 2021
(4.5 ★’s)

An ownvoices Japanese traditional epic fantasy that is exactly as it sounds: slow, light, and rich; food for hardcore fantasy fans.

“The spider does not spin its web in a heartbeat, nor does the albatross fly across oceans with a few flaps of its wings.”

You know me: a girl of dark tastes with an aloof, wicked heart whose favourite genre is grimdark, who rolls her eyes at talk of honour and righteous fools, who sneers at naive, trusting little humans prattling on and on about the power of kindness and whatnot.

Naturally, I should hate this book, but...
I B L O O D Y love this book.
So let it be written, let it be known: Yumeko turned me into helpless mush with her sincere, clever mind.


“The tiniest pebble, when dropped into a pond, will leave ripples that will grow and spread in ways we cannot comprehend.”

If you want your fantasy to craft an intricate, dainty, and dazzling world of blood mages, demons, samurai, and spirits that wears the adjectives “unique” and “ethereal” as if they were sewn for its curves, marching on with the utmost leisurely stroll...pick this up.

If you want adventure after adventure, a book which nimbly dives back into the traditional style of writing fantasy—honour-bound and glory-seeking and feverish-for-mastership—with a plot revolving around elfin, little tales and trials on the road, each driving home a lesson of kindness, morality, and generosity, each picking up stray after stray, all in the path of an ultimate quest that shall have our wild hearted kitsune on the road for pages and pages and books upon books...pick this up.

“Trust no one. Believe nothing but what your senses tell you. Humans manipulate. Yokai deceive. Everything has ulterior motives, and the second you let your guard down, they will slit your throat from behind.”

If you want a trope turned on its head, a “warrior boy protecting naive girl” made “a lonely boy that can wield blades and a kind girl that can wield hearts and actually save their lives,” a romance so slow and in the background that it becomes something else—a celebration of humanity and imaginary-but-real souls with their pains and loves, vulnerabilities and strengths, failings and victories...pick this up.

“Life is suffering. Fun is a fleeting waste of time. You must stop these foolish games, and strive to work hard without fail. Only in suffering, dullness and boredom can you find true happiness.”

If you seek a tale of tales that takes the clichés of the fantasy genre and—stepping unapologetically into those shoes—fills them with life, of tropes turned into tangible people that jump out of the page, of characters and their journeys, hopes and beliefs and dreams, brimming with heart and magic...pick this up. What do you know? Maybe it will melt your icy heart, too, because god knows it did mine.

May I also recommend you pepper your reading experience with the tasteful sound of music? Check out my playlist at the end of this review.


CW: graphic violence, threat of rape (briefly), self harm (intended for blood magic), physical abuse (mentioned), and arachnophobia (a scene at the start).


Storyline

“Absolute power can corrupt even the purest of hearts. Such is the folly of men.”

Yumeko, a wild and mischievous half-kitsune, has spent all her life at the temple, raised by the monks after she was left at their doorstep with naught but a letter and a heritage of deceit. Outside those walls, the land is in chaos. Men fight each other for power, unnatural things stir and rise, drawn by blood and violence, and the world grows dark with fear. And Yumeko stares, wistful and craving, at the horizon. That is, until she is forced to flee to protect the object the temple was built to guard.

Tatsumi is a weapon. Well, no, he’s a boy, but he was raised to be a weapon, his only purpose that of wielding the cursed blade of the Kage, resisting its claws and temptations. And he is doing just fine, alone and unfeeling, thank you very much for asking. Of course, only until he is sent to retrieve an object hidden in a temple in the woods.

“The Dragon is rising. The Harbinger of Change approaches. Another thousand years have passed in this realm of horrible light and sun, and the night of the wish is nearly upon us.”

A secret object. A forgotten prayer. A world-changing scroll to summon the Dragon to grant a human's wish. Well, a piece of it anyways. Yumeko’s purpose? Keep the scroll safe and out of the hands of greedy men and women. Tatsumi’s order? Find the scroll, at any cost, and bring it to the immortal, old woman with the greediest of hands.

It is by the girl’s wit and lies that they end up traveling through rough terrain together, demons and witches and monsters dogging their steps at every bend in the road—sent by the generals, the major players, the ones with perfect knowledge...and these two are but the pieces on the board; pawns in a shogi match, being moved by unseen forces, going where they were directed without any knowledge as to why.

“And now we’re talking about oni,” said Okame. “Oni, blood mages and demons. Should I start screaming now, or should I wait till you get to the part with the eighty-foot skeleton?”


Storytelling

This was my very first book by Julie Kagawa, and I will admit that I am impressed; by the deft hand that delivered the info in the most “showing” way possible and shaped the world expertly, bringing the atmosphere, the creatures, the sounds and sights into such sharp focus—I could see the magic ripple and hear the kami whisper, I was there, with them, every step of the (literal) road.

And such is the power of Julie’s immersive story-telling that had me feeling and falling, shamelessly and proudly in love. The perfect banter definitely didn’t hurt either.

“When it comes to food among thieves, Yumeko-chan, it is every man, woman and dog for themselves.”

My only complaint would probably be that, perhaps, some descriptive paragraphs could’ve been cut shorter, as I did find my eyes glazed on occasion, having to go back and reread the paragraph I hadn’t been present while reading. Don’t get me wrong, I love long descriptive paragraphs (I mean, my fave author is George R.R. Martin, master of writing heavy grim poetry instead of descriptions) but that’s also the very reason for this point. The descriptions were simply descriptions—well written, but not exceptional and thus not capable of keeping my attention.


Characters

Yumeko: I should say this upfront, I hate naive, clueless, and soft-hearted characters, no kidding. I simply can’t stand them. I might have fantasised about throttling a few of them on certain occasions. But this strong and inspiring girl? This wild-eyed clever fox? She is so much more than that, and I adore her.

True to old-school epic fantasy genre, our main character possess the telltale traits of the heroes: an orphan and a peasant, she starts as a childlike figure, and matures throughout the series. But more than that, she is not just a brave and immature little girl; yes, she is trusting and unassuming, but she is also smart, wicked, playfully deceitful, and possessing of glorious wits that turn her into the precious gem of this book.

Not to forget hilarious! Yumeko is absurd and thus straightforward, which makes sense since she was raised away from the rest of the world; for example, you would find her excited by dangerous, fascinating creatures, while honest enough to note that this ruthless killers don’t act “pleasant.” She deserved the heart she stole from me.

“Well, I learned that you really shouldn’t climb onto the temple roof at midnight during a rainstorm. And that if you’re going to pop out of a closet to scare a martial arts master, be ready to duck. And if you have to flee an angry bear in the forest by climbing a tree, you should first check that there aren’t any hornets’ nests hiding under the branches.”

Tatsumi: Kage Tatsumi, the demonslayer of the Shadow Clan. A boy who hadn’t been taught the first thing about kindness, compassion or mercy. Who is ruthless, dangerous and would kill anyone—human, demon or yokai—that got in the way of enacting the order he’d been given. But again, he is more than that; a trope turned flesh and blood, life breathed into its creases, the arc of understanding emotions managed so expertly.

With the help of small details and personal experiences, thoughts and triggers, Julie builds a person who might have had fear and emotions purged from him to be able to defeat the demon that has him half-possessed, might be the antisocial, don’t-bother-me-or-I’ll-kill-you weapon with the “do not touch me” look in his cold purple eyes...in the end, if he lets himself feel, he’s just a sad, lonely boy.

But there is a reason he doesn’t, and it’s not the usual “I’m hurt and bitter and refuse to feel warmth bc I hate y’all” path that Tatsumi walks—his makes much more sense and consequently fits better. He doesn’t let himself feel because there is literally a demon watching his every breath, waiting for any glimpse of emotion, to latch on to and take over. And that makes his character even more fascinating. Just think about it. It’s no longer just a person’s struggle with, say, not giving in to anger and turning into a metaphorical monster! If Tatsumi gives into anger, he will literally turn into a monster. A demon. So control comes first, always. I relate to that more than I’ll probably ever admit.

“Who are you?”
Nothing. Nobody. A shadow on the wall, empty and unimportant.

Okame: My obnoxious, uncouth, dishonoured barbarian of a ronin who I simply cannot not love (excuse the double negative) because I’m weak for the sarcastic, annoying ones. And oh is he a master of sarcasm and witty comebacks; his sense of humour is seriously wasted on these two *shaking my head*

One might say the “arrogant, sarcastic guy who doesn’t care for honour” is another cliché. I’d say that person doesn’t know why clichés become clichés; it’s because they. keep. happening. Yes, there‘s a point when it’s not happening naturally and is as fake as paper thin as can be, but that’s not the case here. So you can call it a cliché, while I’d calk it a cliché turned flesh turned human turned unforgettable companion. He is genuine, and that makes all the difference.

“There is no honor in the world, especially among samurai. It just took my becoming a ronin to realize it.”


Relationships

I won’t divide this section into romance and friendship because the romance of this book is also a friendship at its core. And there is much friendship woven in this tale of trust and forgiveness. Yumeko, Okame and Tatsumi’s shared dynamic is hilarious, how the former two exasperate the latter with their absurd exchanges. But most important among the relationships is that of Yumeko and Tatsumi. And I have much to say about it.

“We were raised very differently, I think.”
He tilted his head, regarding me with appraising violet eyes. “You weren’t punished for showing weakness while injured?”

This isn’t a mere warrior-protecting-helpless-girl dynamic, because Yumeko is not helpless, and neither is Tatsumi a warrior. He is a quiet shadow following her footsteps, rather than a warrior taking up space and air, if you know what I mean. She is a sharp flame whose softness and unassuming and trusting approach to life takes nothing away from her sharpness. She isn’t dumb, only inexperienced.

Yumeko isn’t the naive protected flower, what she is is a different type of strong female character—a quieter kind, and she’s saved his life as many times as he’s saved hers. She orders him around to act kinder and more merciful, just as he reprimands her for being so trusting. Their relationship is resoundingly profound and simply exquisite. It takes a long time to be built, brick by brick, and it’s only at the end of the book that glimpses of the romance are caught. And I like it best this way.


Worldbuilding

I won’t be expanding much on this topic, because nothing can capture its magnificence quite like the book itself.

To put it briefly, the world is based on Japanese folklore, featuring four classes of supernatural creatures: demons, hailing from Jigoku, the realm of evil (e.g. the oni and amanjaku), and yokai, with mostly animal forms (e.g. kamaitachi and kitsune), kami spirits of nature of elements as well as deities (e.g. Jinkei, God of Mercy, and Doroshin, God of Roads), and yurei, formerly humans now turned restless ghosts that can be vengeful or not (e.g. gaki aka zombies), the latter three classes being residents of Ningen-kai, the mortal realm.

On top of that, there exist various types of using and accessing magic; one could be yokai, kami-touched, a ki practitioner, or using ofuta or (more morbidly) blood magic, with each manifestation of magic having its own differing feel to it.

The world of Shadow of the Fox is absolutely mythical, rich in mythology and culture. From the trickster kitsune to swords of power and demons, from (sometimes ridiculously) honourable samurai to the kami-touched shinobi who dwell in the shadows... every syllable stands out of the page. Thank you, Julie Kagawa, for blessing my shelves with this jewel of lore.

“May your journey to the other side be swift and clear, and may Jinkei light your way so that you will never stumble.”


Companions

Book series playlist: Spotify URL
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,575 followers
May 23, 2020


This book has restored my faith in fantasy. You see whenever people asked me what my favorite genre was I always said fantasy. But slowly, after reading a ton of other genres, I realized how challenging it is to read fantasy. On top of character arcs and plot types, you have to shove through the world building. All in all, reading fantasy books are no easy task.

With this knowledge, I took it upon myself to get the audiobook. And I am so glad I did because 1) The audiobook was amazing as it was cast with three narrators and they all did an amazing job and 2) I probably never would have gotten through this book without it.

The Characters:
Yumeko
She is a kitsune which means that she is half magical fox and half human. I think she was my favorite character because I could relate to her so much. She was rather awkward and uncultured because she never leaves her home... Just like me.

Kage Tatsumi
I thought I hated Tatsumi (I'm referring to his last name because that how he is reffered to in the book.) but then I realized that I didn't hate him. I hated the people who raised him. I can't go into much because I don't want to give anything away but he was basically a male rapunzel. He was taught that he was a weapon and nothing else. He is basically a slave. And it broke my heart. Though it breaks my heart even more to know that stuff like that still happens.

The Plot:
I considered copy and pasting the synopsis but no! I am turning over a knew leaf.
Basically, Yumeko lives at a palace with a bunch of monks and they get attacked by demons who are trying to steal the scroll. Now, Yumeko has to find other monks to protect the scroll.
As I mentioned, it's a tad bit well... as my grandmother would say "Slow as molasses in January. Not to say it isn't good (the plot. Not molasses. Molasses is NASTY) it's just slow so I recomend the audiobook. My one complaint is that all the name sound relatively the same to my really dumb ears soo. I kept getting super confused. Oh, and that cliffhanger. JUST EVIL!

Bottom Line:
4.5 Stars: Fantasy novel of legends
Age Recommendation: 13+ (Creepy themes, and creatures)


| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews884 followers
July 24, 2019
This was surprisingly entertaining!

Tbh, there were a few cliches but they were written in a relatively good way (Some parts were a little cringy though.. especially towards the end).

For example the characters themselves all had pretty cliche rolls (The guy with no feelings, the naive and way too trusting/friendly girl, the comic relief with his sarcastic comments and an I don't give a shit about anything attitude, etc.) but they were written with enough depth and personality to make them feel real and believable.

The basics of the plot itself were nothing special either. It's your typical YA fantasy "we need to save the world" story. But the Japanese influenced world building made it interesting and Kagawas descriptions added a lot of creativity.

I didn't really like the ending that much though. As I said before, it started to get cringy and some stuff that happened felt a little forced and rushed.

Nonetheless, I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel.
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,575 followers
April 27, 2018
There was so much to love about this book. The vast detailed world building, the Japanese legends and lore, the moral dilemmas that were faced...it was so fully fleshed out and enjoyable. The characters were what truly sold me though. I loved each of them so much for so many different reasons. I can’t wait to read the next book because I need to know what happens to them!
Profile Image for Camile Souza (This Chamber of Books).
160 reviews872 followers
November 17, 2019
"Once every thousand years… a wish will be granted and a new age will dawn."

4.5 stars

*I received this arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion*

Shadow of the Fox is an #ownvoices YA fantasy that was inspired by Japanese mythology, and essentially revolves around the search for The Scroll of a Thousand Prayers which has the power to call upon the great Kami Dragon who will grant its summoner a wish. A lot of folks are after this thing, and they’ll do anything to get it.

This is my second Julie Kagawa book. I reread The Iron King this year and even reviewed it here a couple months ago, so it was inevitable to draw a comparison between these two books to see how the author’s style and skill have progressed. I’ve said it in my other review that her book gave me a feeling of going through phases of a video game, and I felt the same way with this newest release. One event follows the next like mini contained arcs of story that go towards a bigger one. I feel like this could throw some people off and make the pacing seem a bit chunky or episodic at times, but personally that wasn’t something that bothered me because, like in a video game, I always knew something with high stakes would be coming up next.

Both books made me feel like they were much more about the journey and how it changed the characters, than actually getting to the end goal.

Shadow of the Fox is a multi-perspective book, and because of that it took me a few chapters to get going, since I had to meet the main characters first, but once I did I was into it. The first 3 chapters are from different povs, but for the majority of the story we follow only two, which are told in first person. I know a lot of people are not fans of multi-perspective, but I feel like for this story that was the right way to go. Since characters have different goals concerning the scroll and come from such opposite backgrounds, this helped paint a bigger picture for the situation and made the stakes go higher. We even get glimpses at what the bad guys are doing, and I think that was for the book’s benefit. There’s also the plus that you get to know the characters better, and the world view and impressions on newcomers was not limited to only one perspective.

I came to really like these people and appreciate the development of their risky relationships, because thank goodness the author took its time to build them properly. That was a complaint I had about The Iron King, the need for more character moments, but I’m happy to say that Julie gave much more attention to that aspect this time around. I loved the main characters, and the fact that there’s no love triangle to be seen in this book.

"It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don’t do a great job of it."


Yumeko is a kitsune – half-girl, half-demon fox – who was raised in a temple by monks. She could be naive at times, but she was also clever and a badass in her own way. She’s not a fighter, but she’s also not the kind of girl who sits around and hopes people will solve things for her. If she sees a tough situation that needs fixing, she will try to do something about it. Even if it’s a small thing, she always makes an effort to help out in any way she can, and I absolutely love that. Yumeko makes a few mistakes, but she mostly gets it right, and for all her effort she’s earned my respect.

Tatsumi is a shinobi (literally ninja in japanese) of the Shadow Clan, but he lets most people think he’s just a samurai warrior – which makes sense, if you’re a ninja people shouldn’t know that about you. He’s quiet and kind of broody, but he’s hella good with a sword and actually quite interesting as an individual (that’s funny since individuality is highly discouraged by his masters, to say the least). As the demonslayer of the Kage family and bearer of the cursed sword, Kamigoroshi – whose demon that is sealed in it frequently tries to take over his mind if he loses control of his emotions -, is no wonder that this dude keeps it to himself. Due to his super strict and brainwashy upbringing, it’s very interesting to see him being forced to interact with other people and work with them in order to complete his mission. I particularly loved the fact that Tatsumi had a big reputation and he lived up to it. If he thought you were a threat or if he was ordered by his clan to kill you, I really felt he could, and that he would do it, even if he didn’t want to.

About the world, I think it was atmospheric and interesting. The country of Iwagoto really felt like a fantasy Japan from the samurai period. There was a lot of japanese words interwoven in the narrative, and because of that I feel like the author tried her best to 'show' things for the most part, but there was a lot for people to understand, so she also used a certain amount of 'tell' to quickly explain things. Nothing that really bothered me, though. I do recognize that the frequent use of japanese could get confusing for people who, unlike me, aren’t really familiar with the language, but honestly, I don’t think that goes as far as hurting the comprehention of the story. If you’re a fantasy reader, you should already be used to getting acquainted with a bunch of new words anyway, but perhaps there’s a glossary in the finalized edition.

If there’s not, just know that essentially family names come before first names like in Kage Tatsumi, and not "Tatsumi Kage", also that honorific suffixes are often used after people’s names when adressing them (so you’ll see a lot of –san, –chan, and –sama here), gomen (nasai) means sorry, ohayou (gozaimasu) is good morning, baka is idiot, kami means god, arigatou (gozaimasu) is thank you, mahou is magic, mahou-tsukai is mage, and you should be mostly good to go.

About the plot , this is a journey, so don’t expect everything to be resolved here. This is part one of a triology, after all. The general idea is simple, get from point A to point B, then get to point C, but with a lot of deviation and trouble along the way. Here we only go as far as point B, though.

I’m very excited for the sequel, Soul of the Sword, and I can’t wait to get a finished copy of Shadow of the Fox as soon as possible. This book became a new favorite of mine, which was kind of unexpected to be honest. It’s great being surprised sometimes. Oh also I love watching anime, and this book had elements that reminded me of a few ones like Yona of the Dawn (Akatsuki no Yona), Hiiro no Kakera, and even Dragon Ball (hello collecting artifacts to summon a dragon who can grant you a wish), which I really appreciated.


Blog Review | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
588 reviews3,483 followers
October 14, 2018
“He might be young, with the face of an angel, but there was no mistaking the truth in his eyes. He was a killer.”




Guess what happens next. Go on, guess!

Yes, my dear stranger on the Internet. They fall in love.

It's a hardly a spoiler. You know it's going to happen the instant Yumeko notices Tatsumui's chiselled abs.

Honestly, Kagawa's work of late is extremely predictable and derivative. Which makes me equally disappointed and annoyed because I love, love, love her Iron Fey series. I want Puck to show up at my window, make flowers bloom from my bedpost, and carry me off to a quiet meadow somewhere. Blood of Eden, though rather unmemorable, was a good read and most importantly, different from her previous novels.

The Talon Saga is where is all starts to go downhill and Shadow of the Fox, unfortunately, is a sad continuation. It also reaffirms my belief that most authors who hit it big during the Paranormal Romance craze are slowly becoming obsolete. We're seeing it with Lauren Kate, Alexandra Adornetto, Becca Fitzpatrick... The ones who continue to thrive, like Kiersten White, do so because they're willing to evolve with the times. No longer is YA willing to put up with rapey love interests and Mean Girls. It's become bolder, more diverse, more mature, more willing to push the envelope.

Shadow of the Fox is basically a mashup of familiar Kagawa tropes. Tatsumui is broody and emotionally closed off, so essentially a clone of the soldier guy whose name I can't remember from Talon and to a lesser extent, Ash from the Iron Fey. Yumeko is Meghan and Talon's heroine mushed together. Kind-hearted, sweet, naive with a mild independent streak. The ronin Okame is a sarcastic rogue and a comic relief caricature along the lines of Puck, the vampire guy from Blood of Eden, and the snarky dragon from Talon. And then there's a fourth miscellaneous character whose personality varies, but is always male.



Seriously, what is with the lack of important female characters? There's the heroine, but that's it. Kagawa always insists on surrounding her with prominent male characters. And the villain is usually female. Make of that what you will.

Did I like anything? The Japanese mythology elements are interesting. Though it did get increasingly annoying when words like "hai" or "ano" are casually slipped in. Yes, yes, authenticity, but it's cheapened by so many anime fanfiction that do the same.

If you're going to read a Kagawa book, go for The Iron King. At least there's Puck and killer world-building in it.

ARC provided by Edelweiss
January 25, 2021
”It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don’t do a great job of it”.

¡Amé este libro! No se imaginan lo que me divertí leyéndolo, en serio. Toda la historia se sintió como un episodio súper épico de Inuyasha y, si me conocen, saben que ese es uno de mis animes favoritos.

En Shadow of the Fox nos encontramos con Yumeko, una chica mitad humana y mitad kitsune que ha vivido toda su vida en el templo de los Vientos Silenciosos y ha sido criada por monjes. Sin embargo, un día, los monjes presienten un ataque que acabará con el robo de un fragmento de un pergamino que siempre han salvaguardado. Para proteger el pedazo del Pergamino de las Mil Oraciones y evitar que quien lo robe tenga la posibilidad de invocar al Dios Dragón y volver a hundir a Iwagoto en la oscuridad que la consumió hace mil años, los monjes le encargan a Yumeko la protección de la reliquia y, así, por primera vez tendrá que enfrentarse al mundo, dejando el templo atrás. Sin embargo, su camino no va a ser fácil, pues se va a cruzar con Kage Tatsumi, el legendario samurái del Clan de las Sombras cuya misión es, precisamente, robar el pergamino sagrado. Pero una alianza inesperada y construida sobre mentiras y su astucia de zorro la va a ayudar a atravesar un continente lleno de demonios y seres tremendamente peligrosos que la persiguen.

Creo que, honestamente, este es quizá el mejor libro basado en la cultura y la mitología japonesa que he leído. Desde la ambientación, las descripciones y el uso de términos nipones, hasta los personajes y sus diferentes roles… todo es espectacular. Me fascinó que en la historia convergieran demonios, medio demonios, samuráis, ninjas, ronin, monjes e incluso miembros de la familia imperial. Julie Kagawa hizo un gran trabajo tejiendo una historia en la que todos y cada uno de ellos tienen un papel vital y relevante. Amé que no sencillamente metiera todo lo que pudiera encontrar sobre cultura japonesa en un mismo lugar, sino que les dio un propósito y una razón de ser.

Ahora, con respecto a Yumeko… la amo. Es una protagonista ingenua, pero que a la vez sabe usar su astucia de kitsune en los momentos más indicados. Me fascinó acompañarla en un camino tremendamente peligroso, pero que, a la vez, la llevaba a conocer todo ese mundo exterior que le había sido vedado por criarse dentro de un templo. Lo mejor de ella, además de su lealtad y lo centrada que estaba en su misión, era ver sus interacciones con las personas con las que se iba encontrando. A pesar de que Yumeko ve que el mundo real está lleno de demonios y de personas con malas intenciones, ella siempre intenta ver lo mejor de cada uno y procura tratarlos con amabilidad. Y precisamente por eso siento que su relación con Kage Tatsumi es tan interesante.

Este samurái del Clan de las Sombras es un hombre al que han entrenado para soportar el dolor y para siempre tener bajo control sus emociones, pues, de lo contrario, la espada demoníaca que tiene podrá poseerlo y acabar con su alma y todos los que lo rodean. Pero luego Kage Tatsumi se cruza con Yumeko y esa coraza empieza a resquebrajarse y, por primera vez en mucho tiempo, siente cosas. No necesariamente románticas, pero siente que alguien se preocupa por él, que es amable y que despierta una consciencia que él creía perdida hace mucho. En serio me encantan las interacciones de estos dos y ojalá en los siguientes libros se explore mucho más.

Y los demás personajes que van a apareciendo a lo largo del libro tampoco se quedan atrás, el ronin y el guerrero de los caminos son lo máximo.

Otra cosa que me encantó de Shadow of the Fox es que no tiene ni un solo momento aburrido, todo el tiempo están pasando cosas. Hay demonios persiguiéndolos, descubren traiciones, suceden giros inesperados y, en general, no hay ni un solo respiro. Y, honestamente, creo que los siguientes libros de la trilogía van a seguir con este ritmo, sobre todo si tomamos el final de este tomo como referencia.

Así que nada, si son amantes de la cultura japonesa, si quieren un libro lleno de aventuras en la época feudal de Japón y una historia que los atrape desde la primera página, Shadow of the Fox es para ustedes.
Profile Image for Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin).
212 reviews3,654 followers
December 19, 2018
Thank you so much to everyone who told me I would love this book- you couldn't have been more right! Shadow of the Fox is a pleasure to read- I would go so far as to say that it's one of the top books I've read this year. I saw everything playing out so clearly in my mind in anime form and I just couldn't possibly love it more than I did. The story is well crafted, the characters are new favorites of mine, the fantastical setting is a dream and I'm most certainly dying for book two. I am definitely going to be re-reading this one, and very soon! I still can't get over how obsessed I am with it. READ THIS BOOK IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY. This is honestly everything I ever wanted in a story!
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,208 followers
Want to read
October 17, 2018
This is going to be so so good. I am calling it.
Profile Image for Vibur (hiatus).
42 reviews226 followers
May 30, 2020
I won't lie—a part of me did love Shadow of the Fox. I loved the world that Kagawa created, from its fierce samurai and enigmatic shinobi, to its playful kitsune and ferocious oni. There were rustic teahouses and moss-furred shrines, whispering bamboo forests and verdant rice paddies.

Ah, the plot. Honestly? There was more padding stuffed into it than a feather pillow. But hey, I was kept entertained, at least! And I admit Shadow of the Fox serves up a much-too-bountiful buffet of tropes—and guess what?
I. Ate. Them. Up.
To me, tropes are the literary equivalent of comfort food, and I hope I never get sick of them. After all, tropes are tropes for a reason: because people like them (most of the time). And the good thing is that Kagawa does, in fact, pull them off.
Shadow of the Fox was undeniably cliché, but it was not flawed because of it.

Because the real flaw was the writing itself.
I adore anime, but the random interjections of "ano", "hai", "baka", "sugoi" and countless others in the dialogue left me feeling like a tetsubo was hitting me on the head because nani did I read? Sure, authenticity and whatnot, but the way they were written in was plain awkward.
And all those filter words cropping up like weeds! Strangling the life out of the writing!

… I spotted a single crow perched on a lantern string over the street. I wondered if our mysterious observer and the attack on Yumeko were related, and if they were, I wondered when and where the person behind them would try again.

Gosh, so lifeless.


My point is, the prose is blander than plain rice (ignoring the fact that I actually like rice), which is such a shame, because the descriptions are, or could have been, beautiful. In the end, I could not connect with the writing at all.

2.5/5
Profile Image for Hamad.
974 reviews1,284 followers
September 28, 2018
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

Actual Rating 3.5/3.75 stars

“ I was simply a weapon. A weapon did not question the intent of those who wielded it. ”

🌟 Reading Shadow of the fox was like watching an anime movie/ series and I always liked those.

description

🌟 I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this or not but I really wanted to read something by the author and I am glad I did request it! The opening line was great and I knew it would be good at that moment.

🌟 I love anything and everything Japanese and there are not many books with Japanese settings that are written in English. I was immediately in love with the world and the mythology and I wanted more.

🌟 Sadly my enjoyment of the book decreased a bit, it started really good but then there were clichés and tropes and I felt like I have read (watched) this before. I can’t say that it was predictable given that most of the story was not for moving the original and main plot. It was like a large adventure with mini obstacles that our “heroes” face along the way. Once again, something that reminds me of anime. And in terms of anime, I can say that this was a great show but with many fillers that all we all know how to feel about.

description

🌟 I like that it started with two main characters with changing POVs and other side characters were added to the crew as we move on. It was better than starting with a whole team of characters. The characters were unique and I could tell whose POV was I reading as they had distinct voices! The only problem that I had was the trope of the tough, muscular cold guy falling into the clumsy, cute and kind girl and that happened fast!!

description

🌟 Despite that, I think it was cool, fresh and it was not short of action which left me curious and attached to the book.

description

🌟 Summary: A typical YA book with an Atypical Japanese settings, it had a good cast of characters that you are sure to love. And despite the tropes it had, it was very enjoyable and I don’t regret reading it.

🌟 Prescription: For fans of Anime and Japanese culture!
Profile Image for monica kim.
202 reviews6,071 followers
March 23, 2020
omg this was good. like GOOD good. like wow can’t believe i waited THIS LONG to read this good. if you like anime, you HAVE to read this book. honestly, if you like fun adventures and wonderful characters, you should read this book.
Profile Image for Samantha.
401 reviews16.6k followers
Read
March 13, 2019
DNF’d at page 102:

- I hate that this book is told in two POVs, that aren’t labeled, both in first person. The narrative voices aren’t very different either.

- There’s a lot of tell instead of show.

- A lot of the setup already doesn’t make sense.

- I wasn’t overly invested in this book to begin with and assumed it would be a 3 star read or less, but hoped to be surprised. I can already tell where this book is going to go, so I have no motivation to continue. I thought the world may be enough to motivate me, but sadly it was not.
492 reviews2,426 followers
July 19, 2019
TYPICAL YA PLOT AND CHARACTERS, SPRINKLED WITH JAPANESE MYTHOLOGY
actual rating: 2.5

You could shorten this book to half its length and probably wouldn't notice the difference. I mean, honestly, you could probably already guess how this book would go just by reading the synopsis... and majority of your guess would probably be right.

🐺 Shadow of the Fox is told from two perspectives--from an innocent, childlike half-fox-half-human hybrid, and from a brooding, murderous samurai. Neither really has any quality that you haven't seen in YA before.Although they're not entirely unlikable, they're a far cry from becoming your next favorite MCs.

🐺 Plot... What plot!? You know how with anime, 70% of the 200 episodes are actually just mini-stories that add zero substance to the actual story? Shadow of the Fox is the same. There were definitely a lot of interesting scenes, but the story would be the same if they were taken out.

🐺 The vibe is great. It feels anime-like, which is I think what the author was going for. I enjoyed learning more about Japanese mythology, although not a lot was memorable since everything felt very filler-y.

If you're looking for a great Julie Kagawa read, I'd direct you to The Immortal Rules, or even The Iron King. This just wasn't Kagawa's best work, and while the Japanese mythology involved was brilliant and fascinating, there isn't enough plot or character development to push it forward. I probably won't read the sequel unless there are some pretty rave reviews for it.

[ BLOG | TWITTER | BOOKSTAGRAM | PINTEREST ]
Profile Image for Kelly Brigid ♡.
200 reviews282 followers
January 23, 2020
2) Soul of the Sword ★★✰✰✰
“It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don't do a great job of it.”

Shadow of the Fox is the perfect fantasy novel that my little Asian heart has been craving! It reminded me of Avatar: the Last Airbender and Beyond the Boundary - two of my favorite cartoons/animes in existence! The flow of this story felt like a living, breathing anime, and I couldn't have been happier! Of course I devoured it in a few days! An absolutely wonderful Japanese inspired fantasy with magic, adventure, friendship, and love! I adore novels that set their characters on quests, where they are forced to overcome smaller obstacles before reaching their final destination. The tone that Kagawa constructs is simultaneously light hearted and urgent, luring the reader into Yumeko's journey, itching to see what unfolds.

Half Kitsune (Fox) nature is depicted beautifully. Yumeko is the sweetest, most innocent and kind little bean of them all. Having grown up in an environment where her Kitsune half is constantly being reprimanded, Yumeko is unsure about who she wishes to identify more as - human or kistune. These two sides of the same coin flip interchangeably, and I love how it's displayed on the surface. She doesn't wish to harm anyone, but her illusive essence could have more repercussions than she ever realized. Kage Tatsumi, on the other hand, is a mysterious member of the Shadow Clan, and the bearer of a cursed sword, in which a demon resides. I truly enjoyed reading through his perspective, and witnessing the emotional journey he reluctantly finds himself embarking on. Despite how he falls under the dark, brooding, male stereotype, I loved him, and am intrigued to see how he shifts the story in the following installments.

Japan inspired fantasy? I'm sold! The world Julie Kagawa weaves is absolutely stunning. I'm a fairly large fan of anime and Japanese culture, and this gorgeous setting met my every expectation. What I love about the story and atmosphere, is how it felt as if they were plucked straight out of an anime. It's a remarkably complex world, bubbling over with Japanese folklore and mythology, and I never once doubted its authenticity. The writing is charming, and not overdone, surprisingly. I also appreciate how distinct Yumeko and Tatsumi's points-of-views are. It's a shame when two main characters' perspectives are so similar that you can't tell them apart, but thankfully, this issue never arises.

Wonderful themes of we are who we choose to be. A recurring theme throughout this novel, is how we're free to forge our own paths ahead, and deviate from the expectations and limitations others bestow on us. Yumeko is frightened to reveal her Kitsune half, and keeps this side of herself hidden for the most part. As the story progresses, it's wonderful to see how she grows as a character and begins to feel more comfortable as both human and Kitsune, in spite of the mockery and scorn others direct at her. Rather than be bound by her deceptive nature, she embraces it, and utilizes it to protect others. To prevent the demon sword from possessing him, Tatsumi has detained his emotions since he was a child. So, it arrives as quite a shock, when he begins to exhibit feelings for Yumeko. I love this internal struggle of his between succumbing to or denying his developing feelings. It's beautiful to see how he, along with Yumeko, steadily realize the truth of human nature, and decide to create their own destinies.

If I love this story so much, why didn't I rate it five stars, you may be wondering? For the entirety of the story, Yumeko travels with Tatsumi, who is a lethal Shinobi. I find it awfully hard to believe that he never noticed the fact that our dear little fox possessed the scroll. Not only are they in close proximity of one another quite often, but Tatsumi cleans her wounds, and pulls her away from danger on numerous occasions. Why hadn't Yumeko simply attempted to place an illusion on the scroll? Nonetheless, I still cherish Shadow of the Fox with all my heart, and can't wait to see what happens to my precious babies in the sequel.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,088 reviews6,589 followers
June 21, 2020
1.) Shadow Of The Fox ★★★★
2.) Soul Of The Sword ★★★
3.) Night of the Dragon ★★★.5

-----------------------------------------------

"One step at a time, little fox. The spider does not spin its web in a heartbeat, nor does the albatross fly across oceans with a few flaps of its wings. Many would consider what they do impossible, and yet, they still complete their tasks without fail, because they simply...start."

This book would make an INCREDIBLE anime or animated series along the lines of Avatar The Last Airbender or something, because it seriously played out like a tv show in my head! It was so awesome! I loved all of the characters and how, one by one, we were introduced to amazing additions to this badass group trying to slay demons and save the world! I did find it a little slow at times with all of the travelling to different towns and stuff, but other than that I really enjoyed it!

This book is in stores now and I highly recommend you check it out, it was super fun!
Thank you so much to Harlequin Teen for sending me a review copy!
Profile Image for Lena.
360 reviews261 followers
May 30, 2020
Update: 05/30/20
reading the final book right now and dreading how the story will eventually wrap up. i have a slight feeling that not all of these precious characters will receive a happy end and it scares me -__-
.............................................

“The spider does not spin its web in a heartbeat, nor does the albatross fly across oceans with a few flaps of its wings. Many would consider what they do impossible, and yet, they still complete their tasks without fail, because they simply...start.”




My little anime heart can die in peace now.
This book has E V E R Y T H I N G I look for in Fantasy: Fast pacing, sympathetic, relatable characters, badassery, action, royalty and a natural flow to the storytelling. No kidding, the storytelling here is superb. Usually when an author writes a first book in a new series, there's always the issue of it being pretty slow-paced and boring in the beginning that seems to be putting off plenty of readers. Most of those books will become better over time, but a lot still get ditched on the way. I never had said issue with this book.
From the beginning I was absolutely engrossed in both the plot and its characters and found myself turning the pages faster and faster because I wanted to know more. I'd suggest going into this with little to no knowledge about the plot. It has samurai in it, what more could you want!!??
That being said, I get why lots of people wouldn't give this book a full five stars.


This book should be turned into an anime or anime movie. Everything, from the dialogues to the sword fighting to ancient gods and demons, it screamed "Anime" to me. Being a big anime lover myself, I was absolutely delighted upon realizing what a rare gem this story actually is. I get why some people would be put off by certain aspects of the story though, especially since the pacing and story are clearly reminiscent of anime I am watching/ have watched in the past. But despite all that, the book still manages to stay original entertaining, with its great cast being the thing that stands above all else.

The main character is very naive.

Some might see this as a big weakness of the book, but it opens the door for so many possibilities in future installments.The main character Yumeko is by no means innocent or helpless. She's simply a naive, young girl who grew up being protected by monks, not knowing a thing about the world outside of the familiar surroundings of her temple. There's gonna be some major character development happening with her in the next book and I can't wait to find out how that will come about!

But even people that don't watch anime will enjoy this book, I'm sure! It's unique in its own way in terms of how the plot slowly unfolds. I've underlined slowly because even though a lot is happening, the actual plot takes its time to progress and it's great because the book doesn't just offer facts on a silver platter and you often find yourself in conflict between the POV's of the two main characters.
Speaking of facts, the book does have its tricky parts because 1), Japanese culture has LOTS of mythology and therefore we get lots of different kinds of gods and dark creatures in this book, each with a more or less "complicated" name. (it gets easier the more you get into the story) And 2) the author sneaks in Japanese words and terms which I personally loved :D

That cliffhanger though...*eternal freak out*

I may add more to this review tomorrow, but for now I'm too tired to keep typing...
Peace out, folks!
Profile Image for may ➹.
463 reviews1,852 followers
Shelved as 'need-to-finish'
October 6, 2018
sometimes I think I’m getting faster at reading and then I realize that I’ve been trying to read this book for a month and only gotten 23% through
Profile Image for ♛ may.
802 reviews3,763 followers
November 13, 2018
ayyyyy, this is my 150th book of the year, completing my reading challenge feel honoured @ book

my feelings on this book really fluctuated throughout the course of reading it. at first, i found the main character, yumeko, to be very trusting and juvenile. it irked me that she literally played into the hands of her enemy while knowing like sis???

but i have to admit, she did grow on me. as the chapters progressed and we got to see the characters more, i found myself growing a little soft for her and her silly antics.

tatsumi was probably my favourite character, yes, he's a little heavy on dishing out the 'hot-brooding-warrior' vibe but how am I SUPPOSED TO RESIST A CUTE ENEMIES-TO-LOVERS(?) ARC
also his character was the most level headed, he like,,,,,thought about his actions before doing them bc #logic

i REALLY disliked okame initially. i found him obnoxious and irritating and yeah you guessed it, eventually he also grew on me (still a work in progress, but at least i dont detest him)

the plot was alright. i wasn't too hooked on it. there was a lot of japanese mythology sprung on the reader and as someone who knows next to nothing about mythology (literally every type of mythology) it took a little time to get used to

i do appreciate the author freely using japanese text and culture, i think its so awesome to see such casual, unapologetic integration of different cultures and norms and language 👌

the slow beginning did lead to a really action-packed ending. i am so glad i pushed through, bc i was thoroughly captivated by the last few chapters and 😭😭😭😭😭😭

anyways, definitely a series im going to be continuing, interested to see how it plays out

buddy read with the sweetest, kat
Profile Image for Ashley.
760 reviews405 followers
October 7, 2022
Star Rating: 5+ STARS!
Wait, no, ONE MILLION STARS (Is that possible? 😉)!

I want to scream from the rooftops just how much I loved this novel... but my neighbors aren’t so interested in reading. If they are, definitely not YA. *sigh* it would be pretty useless.
So that’s probably not the best idea that I’ve ever had though, for multiple reasons... so hopefully this will suffice! Here goes:

So, what originally drew me in was simply the magnificent cover, and the mention of a half girl/ half kitsune.
This novel is above and beyond so much more than these things.

Oh my goodness I can’t stop expressing my love for this book! The heart warming characters take on a life of their own; They will keep you guessing, entertain you endlessly, and have you slowly falling in love before you even knew you were. An incredible story I will always remember, and wrapped in a BEAUTIFUL cover to boot! Who could ask for anything more?

Reading this novel, for me, stirred up something so special that I can’t even put a finger on what it is. Kagawa blows my mind; she is just a MASTER storyteller! I could go on and on about the awesomeness that is her storytelling, but I’ll spare you of that 😉.

The story took me places I’ve always wanted to go, but never knew how until now, even though I have learned a good amount about Japanese folklore and history. Even some of my favorite anime that I’ve watched, or manga I’ve read just couldn’t compare to this book in my mind— while I was reading it, that is bc (i mean I can’t TRULY discount anime & manga—honestly formatting makes a huge diff—enough that they cannot even honestly be compared, but i’m talking in circles now so just go w it haha!) I suppose i’ll say though the experiences are so vastly different—I actually enjoyed this novel MORE than your average manga(I know- 😱), because in terms of reading— while reading a novel, only you, the printed text, and the pages that are home to the magic that the words provide us with, exist. This gives you the chance to imagine visuals for yourself, letting your mind take the reigns, & letting your own creativity run wild, your only confine is the story that you are reading, obviously. When reading manga, you are confined to what the pictures have provided FOR you, for the most part.

This book is just fantastic. The text just flows so, so beautifully, invoking visuals that read like a live action film would run through the projector at the theatre.

Kagawa writes with pure prowess, spinning a completely original tale, with world building and character building alike that rival some of my favorite novels of all time!

I will cherish this book for freakin eternity. I need to check if there’s a preorder available for Soul of the Sword already available because- whhyyyyyy? Whyyyyy must I wait so very longgg? Half a year seems like a lifetime right now. My soul aches at the thought (yes, this novel is that good)! I want an ARC so baaaaddd. Listening? Reading? Anyone? Please? Please, Lord, Please? Just give me this and I’ll be happy forever, haha.

In love. 💜
Profile Image for Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura).
479 reviews692 followers
September 2, 2018
description

Thank you Harlequin Teen for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

“You are a weapon; attachments will only slow you down and make you question your objective. Remember, your loyalty is to the Kage, nothing else.”


My first ever read by Julie Kagawa, and let me tell you that I was not disappointed. I was so intrigued when I read the synopsis, and as I predicted I truly loved this book! The setting, characters and story line reminded me so much of an anime. The book has many references to Japanese mythology, including: Kitsune, Oni, Yoki and much more. There were also some Japanese words here and there, and being familiar with what they meant really made the read 100% more enjoyable.

The story is told from alternate points of view. The first being from the point of view of Yumeko, a half-human half-kitsune girl. The other being Tatsumi a Shadow Clan Samurai. Yumeko is a bit of a naive character. Since she was raised in a temple and has no knowledge of the outside world. I didn’t feel set back by this since her naive moments were often funny. While Yumeko is sweet and open (aside from the secrets that she must keep) Tatsumi is dark and mysterious. I quite liked his character. He grappled with his emotions a bit in this book. Always trying to shove down his emotions in order to stay on track. I really wished we had gotten to know more of his backstory, but I assume we’ll be getting that in the next book. Loved Okame! always making jokes even in times of danger. I liked all the characters in a different way because I felt like they all added a little something special.

I found the pacing a little slow at first. A hundred pages into the book is when I felt like the story picked up. It didn’t bother me though. More action scenes and a few things to deal with on the way. The story line seemed promising, and I’m really intrigued to find out what happens in the next book!

Overall, I have a feeling this wont be my last read by the brilliant Julie Kagawa!

|| Blog || Instagram ||
Profile Image for Alaina.
5,945 reviews215 followers
April 29, 2020
Third time read & review.

I am loving my reread of the Shadow of the Fox series. If you ever read it, or wanted to, I highly recommend the audiobooks! I feel like I've never been so focused on what was happening until this time around. So weird but it's like everything was better or made me open my eyes. I blame the quarantine for sure.

In it, you will meet a ton of wonderful characters that you will either fall in like or dislike with. For me, personally, I fell in love with them all and their entire adventure. I don't know what it is about the third time around with reading this but I'm enjoying it so much. Probably more than I was supposed to but I'm still loving it all.

Whether it was the coffee or the wine, I definitely found more answers than questions this time around. I loved seeing all my wonderful babies again and I don't know if I'm mentally prepared for the emotional roller coaster that I'm about to go on. Just know that I'm super excited for the third book!

________________________________________________________

Second time read and review.

Okay, so my rating went up and down throughout this reread. Well, re-listen, since this time around I listened to the audio instead of reading my physical book. I was also at work at the time and it's a bit frowned upon to read actual books while "working" - so yeah, audio books for the win!

Shadow of the Foxes is still freaking interesting. In it, you will meet Yumi - who is part human and part kitsune, which means she is half fox. So, she's foxy. One day everything kind of gets all flipped upside down and she's thrown into the world that she has been dreaming about for all her life. Enter Tatsumi, he is a dangerous guy because he's a samurai and a demonslayer. So yeah.. he has a super awesome and cool job.

When these two meet, I was expecting something different to go on in my mind. Yet, nothing. I don't know why I was expecting a different reaction when I've already read this.. but yeah I guess work was just messing with my mind beforehand.

Well, spoiler alert: they don't tell each other the whole truth. Each person has their own secrets and they don't want them to come out one bit. Of course, that doesn't always happen because towards the end of this book we do find out something interesting about them. Between the two, I love Tatsumi a bit more than Yumi. I just think his character gave so much more for some reason? Of maybe he was like an onion and each layer that came out was more interesting than the next?

Low-key, I have no idea. I just wanted to say that I still enjoyed this book - just like I did beforehand. However, I will say that it did still have it's boring parts here and there. Still pumped to dive into the next book!
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,038 followers
Want to read
May 5, 2018
PLEASE don't disappoint me again like you did with Talon, Julie. My heart won't be able to handle it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,816 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.