Review: Stone-Cold Fox by Hailey Edwards (Mai Hayashi #1)


Stone-Cold Fox by Hailey Edwards // VBC ReviewStone-Cold Fox (Mai Hayashi #1)
Hailey Edwards
Published: Oct. 31, 2015 (CrushStar)
Purchase: Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

The kitsune are one of my favorite underutilized supernaturals, so I was really excited to see Mai, best friend and roommate to Thierry—who stars in the first four Black Dog books—get her own story. Though, frankly, I’m a little confused about whether this is a spin off series or a tangent within the Black Dog series—something like the Night Huntress World books. I thought it was the former, but I’m now leaning toward the latter since there’s another book scheduled to release in January starring a different character.

In either case, Stone-Cold Fox puts a supernatural twist on the best-friend’s-older-brother romance, in an especially twisted way. There also seems to be a lot more politics than romance involved. I was happy to see a different side of Mai. I had never seen any indication that she was such a fan of sci-fi—she actually says “frack”—or cosplay. (Fans of Labyrinth are in for quite a treat! It’s not really my thing though. I actually get it confused with The Neverending Story.)

As Mai and Thierry are about to enter the costume contest, she runs into her childhood best friend Katsuo whose family abruptly moved away when Mai was twelve. After allowing Mai to admire his Inuyasha costume, Katsuo proceeds to help a mysterious stranger kidnap Mai. When that stranger turns out to be Katsuo’s older brother Ryuu, who claims to be Mai’s mate though she has no memory of him, she realizes that her parents have been lying to her for years.

The insight into the kitsune mating customs is interesting, but it was also somewhat depressing. The females initially seem to have the power in the process, devising tests for their prospective mates. But their matches are also fated, so presumably only the fated mate would pass the test. Once the mate has been accepted, the female becomes more or less the male’s property. Parts of the system resemble other versions of kitsune culture I’ve read, but others contradict the idea that they are strong, independent women, which Mai usually seems to be. I was just a little bit uncomfortable with the whole process.

Ryuu is also the reynard (alpha) of a renegade kitsune skulk (pack) who became outcasts when Mai’s father banished Ryuu’s family. I usually enjoy supernatural politics, but this refugee story was kind of a downer as well. However, I did enjoy the optimistic ending and I look forward to seeing more of Mai in later books. I just hope that she continues to be the sassy, opinionated woman that she is at the end of the story and not the damsel in distress that she became there for a while.

Sexual content: kissing

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