One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
I requested this book from Netgalley back in May, in exchange for an honest review. The summary of the book, and particularly, the title intrigued me. At the time I received the book, the cover art wasnt’ available, but when I went to write my review, I thought it was a unique cover as well. Overall, the book seemed so different from the other Young Adult books I’ve read this year. I was excited to see exactly what it was about.
The setting of this book was a complete treat. It seems to be set in a Japan-esque, fuedal world, although it’s not clear if we’re supposed to know that it’s actual set in fuedal Japan or not. The use of demons, clans, samurai, dragons and more help create a setting that is aggressively non-Western. It was so fun to explore the magic in this world and learn more about the religion and mythology it holds.
I loved how immediately the tension was built up in the first chapter of the book. I immediately knew what the threat to this world was and what the objective of the protagonist would be, even though I hadn’t met them yet. The story is fast paced, and while dark and sometimes a bit gory, still enjoyable for a squimish reader like me. I felt easily pulled along by the plot and could clearly see the author raising the stakes for the characters and the world with every chapter. This book will be a quick read for you, especially if you already love demon-based plot lines.
The first three chapters of the book are each from the perspective of different characters: a maid in the palace, the protagonist and half-demon Yumeko, and a mysterious demon-hunter. I enjoyed each character individually and appreciated the tension between Yumeko and the demon-hunter. Since the chapters alternate perspectives, though, and, at least, in the galley that I read, it didn’t have any clear indication at the beginning of each chapter whose Point of View I was in, I spent a lot of time wondering whose mind I was in and had to use context clues that often didn’t present themselves until a page or two later. While I like the characters and the unique plot elements an alternating perspective allows, I wish the author had just picked one for me to follow.
The Shadow of the Fox is a unique and interesting book from Julie Kawaga. I absolutely loved the setting and had more fun reading the book since it took place in a world I wasn’t used to seeing before. The book was fast paced and full of action, but can be dark and explicit in its descriptions. The characters and their interactions were fun, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the changing point of views.