Thursday, January 31, 2019

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa {audiobook review}

by Julie Kagawa
♦publisher: Inkyard Press/Harlequin Teen
♦release date: October 2nd, 2018
♦hardcover, 409 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Shadow of the Fox, book 1
♦source: received from publisher for honest review

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.

{My Thoughts}
Can you believe in all her years of writing YA books, and all my years of reviewing YA books---I'd never read a Julie Kagawa book before?? Where have I been on these?? Well, reading Shadow of the Fox has made me feel like I've missed out all these years! It was excellent---excellent writing, storytelling, character and world building. I'll definitely be seeking out more of her work.

As I like to do with most books that have Asian characters, setting, mythology, etc., I decided to listen to Shadow of the Fox on audiobook. The language and names are just too beautiful and I want to hear them exactly as they are meant to be. This rich story is chock full of Japanese legends, mythological creatures and customs and they are all enchantingly brought to life with Kagawa's vivid descriptions. I was familiar with the kitsune, so it was fascinating to read Yumiko's story. I loved that her character, having been raised in isolation within a temple, she was kind and innocent and a little naïve without coming across as ignorant or weak. She was kind and clever and understandably a little fearful, but also fierce when she needed to be.  Her story collides with that of Tatsumi's---a notorious samurai because of the sword he wields.  His character is plagued by demons, both actual and emotional as he struggles with his role in doing the deeds set upon him by his masters and with his role in retrieving the dragon scroll.  The two have such an interesting dynamic because of how different they are and how they see the world around them. They both clashed and worked together beautifully. 

I love how the story wove itself like a traditional fairy tale, as the two strike out on this adventure, meeting an array of challenges and characters along their chosen path, defeating some, inviting others to join their journey, some leaving them questioning their purpose and others strengthening their group as a whole. 

Such a well done adventure, I found myself riveted until the very end. I can't wait for book two! The audiobook was excellent (although, the voice characterizations are just a bit overdone at times)---anyway you'd prefer to take this story on, I highly recommend you do!

{About The Author}

Born in Sacramento, CA, Julie Kagawa moved to Hawaii at the age of nine. There she learned many things; how to bodyboard, that teachers scream when you put centipedes in their desks, and that writing stories in math class is a great way to kill time. Her teachers were glad to see her graduate. 

Julie now lives is Louisville, KY with her husband and furkids. She is the international and NYT bestselling author of The Iron Fey series. 

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon