Review: NIGHT OF THE DRAGON by Julie Kagawa (Blog Tour)

Publisher: Inkyard Press
Page Count: 368
Release Date: March 31st, 2020
Series: SHADOW OF THE FOX, Book 3
Rating: 5/5 Stars – Loved It!

Note: I was provided a free ARC of the book by the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Warning: Light spoilers ahead for earlier books in the series.  Haven’t read them yet?  Read the reviews for SHADOW OF THE FOX and SOUL OF THE SWORD!

44786182._sy475_After a thousand years, the Night of the Dragon is here.  Whosoever goes to the sacred mount and summons the Great Dragon with the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers will be granted any single wish they choose.  And right now, the scroll is held by the Master of Demons, who intends to open the gates of the underworld and flood the lands with his army.  Yumeko, the half-kitsune, half-human girl, and Tatsumi, whose human soul is now intertwined with a demon’s, have one last chance to stop the ritual from happening.  Together with Okame the ronin, Daisuke the warrior prince, and Reika the shrine maiden, they’ll have to fight through every ally the Master of Demons has if they have any hope of saving the world.

NIGHT OF THE DRAGON is a roaring success of a finale, a climactic last battle where the stakes couldn’t be higher.  Picking up just hours after Yumeko and Tatsumi failed to protect the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, the group journeys to the island where the Great Dragon must be summoned.  After a few bumps in the travel, the mood of the book takes a beat to lean into the bittersweet “eve of the final battle” somberness.  Final confessions are made, and it marks very clearly that we’ve entered the point of no return, that the chance that no one makes it out alive is very real.  After spending two books previously with this party of heroes, it’s poignant to see these moments play out.  And while Yumeko and Tatsumi are traditionally the two POV characters, Kagawa makes use of a third POV character to show us some private moments our two heroes aren’t privy too.

From the next morning onwards, the breaks are fully taken off the pacing.  The last 2/3 of the book is dedicated to this final race that takes place in a single day.  There are deadly battles, surprising reveals, and a constant escalation of stakes.  Once again, Kagawa leans into fantastical monster battles that pull from Japanese mythology, larger-than-life encounters that feel straight out of an anime.  The action sequences are breath-taking, whether they take place on the ground in a city, or in the sky in the middle of a storm. It never feels exhausting, but very much like you’ve reached the final act of a movie and it’s do or die.

I also want to give a shout-out to the way the book overall feels like an anime captured on page, and not just in the action as I mentioned previously.  There’s a cadence to the dialogue that makes me feel like I’m reading subtitles while spoken Japanese washes over me, and I mean that in the best possible way.   Somehow I can hear the familiar anime tones and exclamations, even though the story is written almost entirely in English.  The dialogue can occasionally come off overly formal, but not enough to truly detract from the book overall.

NIGHT OF THE DRAGON pays off so much that has been set up over the course of the first two books.  Characters that have been manipulating things from the shadows finally make their plans known, questions that have been lingering are finally answered.   And most importantly, that final battle has weight.  This is a book that left me in tears, both from tragedy and from the beauty of the final pages. I had no idea when I started this series that I would fall head over heels in love, but I can now say definitively that this trilogy easily has a place in my favorites of all time list!

13 thoughts on “Review: NIGHT OF THE DRAGON by Julie Kagawa (Blog Tour)

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  1. OOooooohhhhhh! I’m even more excited for this now! I just finished Jade City so this is my very next audiobook, hopefully will have time to start this weekend, if not Monday. So glad you loved this one, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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