Title: Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Young Adult, Japanese Folklore
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
This is Book One of a Trilogy. Therefore it is not a complete story.
At first, I was hesitant to read this book but found that it is heavily based on Japanese folklore. In historical times, there were many different yokai (demons) who plagued the world. There are also people who are hired to fight them. One of these such people is Tatsumi also known as the Kage demonslayer. He is tasked with a mission to find The Dragon Scroll. Along the way, he meets up with Yumeko, a half-kitsune who is put in charge of finding a secret temple thousands of miles away. The two must journey together in order to find the secrets each desire.
The overuse of the Japanese language. The book was borderline having to be bi-lingual with the language in order to fully comprehend the story. Nezumi and kamigoroshi are just thrown in without a whim. There is a small glossary in the back so don’t let the language deter you but it doesn’t come close to defining the entire language written in the novel. I also must ask: what is does ozone smell like?
The whole middle was filler. It was just one long ass journey to get from one temple to the next. That was it. The novel had such promise for a story line but it was just a retelling of a thousand folk stories. Which is interesting in itself. If you’re interested in that, then feel free. I really did enjoy this book
My other problem was with the additional characters. I hated Okame. He was an unneeded creep who overstayed his welcome considerably. The other characters were just additions for the end battle but it was just really weird that Okame was chosen as such a large secondary character.
This book is definitely written to fill the pages. Unlike many YA novels, this one is single spaced with very few new paragraphs. Similar to how adult lit novels are written but (way) more simplistic language.
There’s a glossary! Everyone, this is great news! Julie used an extensive amount of Japanese in this novel so I was so afraid that this was going to be written with only otakus in mind but this was very inclusive. Yes, quite a few words are missing but it’s the thought that counts. Therefore this is a point in my criteria.
I was trying to remember why the clan names sounded so familiar. I used to be a huge fan of the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. Shadowclan, ThunderClan, e.g. were the groups in the series and this reminded me so much of it. It made me happy to be able to remember my favorite series and I hope it makes you all happy as well.
This was altogether a good read if you have any interest in Japanese culture. The action was great as well and very well written.
My recommendations would be the mangas Kekkaishi and Inuyasha. Both are Japanese folklore based with yokai being the main attraction.
“Kamaitachi always come in threes. Their loyalty to each other is unbreakable. Remember that, and ask yourself why [she] has only two familiars.”