Japanese culture, especially the mythology, has always been intriguing to me. I read Inuyasha as a kid and other manga, as well as still being a Naruto fan. So, when I came across the new book by Julie Kagawa, I was thrilled. I have enjoyed her past series, including the Iron Fey and Talon series. Now she’s taken on the magical world of Iwagoto, a fantasy world like the Japanese feudal era.
Yumeka, a half-kitsune girl, was raised in a temple but a demon attack forces her to undertake a perilous journey to deliver a powerful scroll to the safety of hidden temple. Meanwhile, Tatsumi a demon slayer from the deadly Shadow Clan has been assigned to acquire the scroll. Inadvertently, the two run into each other and, with a few well-placed lies from Yumeko, the pair agree to travel together to the secret temple.
She knows she must keep her heritage hidden from Tatsumi and fights her natural instincts to use her magic when under threat. Luckily for her, Tatsumi is an excellent fighter, especially when paired with his cursed sword. Yet that power comes at a cost. Tatsumi must continuously monitor his emotions, forcing himself to feel nothing for fear the demon trapped within the sword will use it as a foothold to take over.
Tatsumi may have been your typical cold and distant, deadly warrior love interest, but he stood a mile above other similar characters. Unlike others, he had a reason for being cold and emotionless, with a grave threat if he felt even the slightest emotion, good or bad. Obviously, Yumeko weaselled her way in, but it was gradual. He didn’t suddenly decide he was in love with her like in other YA books. He had to protect her for his mission, then found her slightly amusing until he had a natural protectiveness of her. Tatsumi’s life has been so much harder due to the brutal ways of his clan, and it doesn’t look like it’s easing up any time soon.
Yumeko held true to her kitsune nature, clever, mischievous and fun-loving while being raised in an isolated temple made her naïve with curiosity about every little detail in the world around her. She’s a lot of fun to read. My favourite was when she repeatedly made the cat look like a teapot. Her illusion magic was intriguing and fascinating to watch her employ it during battle.
Over their journey, the pair makes a variety of friends, resulting in an entertaining cast of characters. From a dishonoured ronin to a faithful shrine maiden. They were a great support to the duo, and I’m interested to read more adventures with them.
Satomi, an evil woman we meet early on, was one of the worst characters I’ve read. She was written well and portrayed the evil, power-hungry woman determined to get what she believes she deserves. The way she treated her maids was genuinely horrible, and I hope, I really hope, she gets what she deserves!
While reading it, Shadow Of The Fox reminded me of Inuyasha, with fearsome yokai and ninjas, priestess and concubines. I am desperate to read the next instalment, especially after the truly painful cliff-hanger, it’s driving me mad! I give it 5/5 and is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Firmly placing Julie Kagawa as one of my two favourite authors.