Review: Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (Shadow of the Fox #1)


Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa // VBC ReviewShadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1)
Julie Kagawa
Published: Oct. 2, 2018 (Harlequin Teen)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Yumeko is a kitsune, a fox with magical powers. Well…sort of. She’s half-human as well, and has lived her entire life in a monastery with monks, getting into trouble and talking to other forest spirits in the surrounding forest. One day that comes to an end when the monastery is burned to the ground by a giant oni—an evil demon summoned from another plane. The monks are all killed, and Yumeko manages to escape with a piece of scroll and a task. And the only way she might have a chance of succeeding at that task is by tricking the samurai she ran into in the forest during her flight from the monastery. However, this is no ordinary samurai—he may be more danger to her than the oni chasing her for the scroll.

Shadow of the Fox is set in an older Japan, complete with legends, folklore, and magic. Samurai are commonplace, and each of the clans has their own territory, their own talents, and their own loyalties. The descriptions of the land, as well as of the people, buildings, and temples within, truly give the reader a sense of understanding a place they may never have seen.

Yumeko is just one of several characters that get added to the story as it progresses, though she remains the main focal point. I do appreciate the characterization that develops for each of the characters—even those who are supporting rather than part of the main cast. Honestly, this may have been my favorite part of the book—Kagawa has a talent for helping the reader learn the numerous personalities and feel connected to each one.

Here is where I struggled a bit: the story itself. Don’t get me wrong. Japanese folklore and mythology?! Really, it would be hard to go wrong. And Kagawa’s writing is quite good; this is the first of her books I have read, and I would certainly be interested in others. (Note from VBC’s Chelsea: OMG you need to read her Blood of Eden books!) The problem I had is that it started to seem repetitive. Now, I’m a spoiler-free reviewer—always—because I know how frustrating it can be when things are revealed before one has the pleasure of reading it for themselves. So what I will say is this: There are new people that end up traveling with Yumeko, and while circumstances were different, the end result was the same. After this had happened a couple of times, there was no longer any doubt when it started to happen again. That did take some of the pleasure out of the book, so that by the last couple of chapters, I was getting somewhat frustrated. Having said THAT…the ending introduced an unexpected twist.

Overall, I really did enjoy the book, I just wish that some of the redundancy I wrote about above had not been there. Even with that, I really liked the Japanese emphasis, the characters, and the story as a whole in Shadow of the Fox. I will certainly want to read book two when it comes out. There is a great tale to be told here. Hopefully now that things are set up, the story will continue to excel and the repetition will no longer be necessary.

Sexual content: none

4 Responses to “Review: Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (Shadow of the Fox #1)”

  1. Shannon says:

    I second the OMG you have to read the Blood of Eden books! My favorite series by Kagawa by far, by way far.

  2. Monique D says:

    You definitely need to read the Blood of Eden series. It has possibly my favourite heroine ever.

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