Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count: 409
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Series: SHADOW OF THE FOX, Book 1
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It!
Yumeko’s life has just been shattered. After spending the whole sixteen years of her life at a secluded monastery, she’s on the run after demons attack the sanctuary, searching for a sacred artifact. The monks were guarding part of a magical scroll, one that can be used once every thousand years to summon a dragon who will grant a single wish. Yumeko managed to escape with the scroll fragment, and now must travel to another temple across the country to warn them of the impending danger. Knowing she can’t possibly survive the journey on her own, she enlists the aid of a young samurai she encounters on the road named Tatsumi. Even this is a gambit, for Yumeko knows that Tatsumi is from the Shadow Clan, and is searching on their behalf for the scroll as well. What’s more, Tatsumi is a demon slayer, and Yumeko has one more secret: she’s half-kitsune, a supernatural creature capable of illusion magic. If Tatsumi discovers she holds a fragment of the scroll, or her true nature, Yumeko’s life may be forfeit.
SHADOW OF THE FOX is a delightful anime monster-slaying fest captured in prose. The initial premise as I’ve laid out above may sound a bit grim, but this is a road trip book of two very different people forced to travel together, and it can be both charming and thrilling in equal turns. Yumeko, having spent her entire life hidden from the world, is naive, open, and kind, always wanting to hold out a hand in friendship before anything. Tatsumi, on the other hand, is jaded, suspicious, and closed-off (in short, your brooding anime hero) due to his own upbringing. Tatsumi, you see, wields a sword that possesses the soul of a demon. He’s been taught to suppress all emotions, for emotion is a crack in his mental armor that could allow the demon to take over his body, and then Tatsumi would be an agent of bloodthirsty chaos. And so, these two complete opposites set to travel the world together – what could possibly go wrong?
One of the things I loved most about SHADOW OF THE FOX is the sheer amount of Japanese mythology Kagawa incorporated into the plot. You’ll meet forest spirits, cursed ghosts, monsters of all shapes and sizes, witches, and more. It’s never over-whelming, it simply feels like a world absolutely infused with myth and legend. On top of this, Yumeko and Tatsumi gradually pick up additional traveling companions, creating a little adventuring party ready to take on a horde of demons in order to stop the bad guys. Although occasionally certain characters operated in extremes that could be a bit annoying at times, overall they won me over, and I’m looking forward to seeing the fully assembled group moving forward in book two.
SHADOW OF THE FOX is a great adventure in a world I was delighted to explore. Yumeko’s mission is far from over at the conclusion of book one of this trilogy, and she and Tatsumi will have new complications to deal with heading into SOUL OF THE SWORD. If you’re a fan of monster slayers, mythology, and a dash of romance, SHADOW OF THE FOX is the read for you.