Hello my darlings,
Today I will be talking about the first book I finished in 2019. Which will also be the first book to be reviewed on this blog! So exciting.
I actually purchased this book from Owlcrate, so it is signed by Julie Kagawa and it has a special exclusive cover.
I will reiterate that my reviews are 100% completely honest. The reviews are both spoiler free and spoiler filled.
For the sake of the viewers, these will be separated into different sections and I will have a clear spoiler warning before I dive deep within the spoils!
Have you read this yet?
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.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
“The spider does not spin its web in a heartbeat, nor does the albatross fly across oceans with a few flaps of its wings. Many would consider what they do impossible, and yet, they still complete their tasks without fail, because they simply…start.”
– Julie Kagawa, Shadow of the Fox
I love the way the chapters alternate between Yumeko and Tatsumi.
You get a good look at the somewhat angsty point of view from Tatsumi, carrying this darkness within him. He cannot give way to Hakaimono, the Destroyer, who is bound to the sword Kamigoroshi, the Godslayer. He must keep his emotions on lock down, that is how his clan taught him. But meeting Yumeko has turned the tables abruptly. He has never had someone so innocent and caring in his midst. It is messing with the way that he was trained, this could be dangerous, disastrous!
Yumeko however, is a kitsune girl from the Silent Winds temple. She has been yanked from the only life she has ever known. One lived amongst the monks, hidden away in the temple. She is taught to hide her fox self, and told not to use her kitsune magic. They want her to learn how to remain more human and not give way to the seemingly troublesome side of being a yokai. But the attack on the temple forces her from her home, and she must learn how to survive and find her way. She must protect the most important thing given to her before her masters deaths. The very thing the Silent Winds temple itself was protecting. Thanks to a companion, she won’t have to journey alone. But she must not let him know she has a piece of the scroll, and she must not let him know she is a kitsune.
I love these two together, Tatsumi is keeping her safe, while Yumeko is unknowingly showing him first hand, true kindness and grace. They need each other for this journey. This fox cannot defend herself well enough to get past demons and foes. Even though Shadow clan members must work alone, the demonslayer has to trust her for his mission.
I am absolutely in love with the story line. All of the events that happen, all of the things along the way. The other characters that were met. The whole journey was beautifully written.
I never knew I could enjoy an adventure book so much. There seems to be a bit of slow reading here and there, but it kept me interested. I was on the edge of my seat just waiting for whatever came next.
I recommend reading this if you like Japanese culture and if you like adventure/fantasy books.
I did find a couple of sentences that seemed to have been skipped during editing. They had double words, and missing words. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I cannot wait for Soul of the Sword.
I. NEED. ANSWERS.
You have been thoroughly warned! There are spoilers ahead.
I was shocked at the intense violence in this book. It seems to cross into the darkness often. The death of the first character, Suki, at the very beginning was completely unexpected. You kind of have to prepare for more gory descriptions, just FYI. There aren’t many, but they are there.
As for the alternating chapters, I love the fact that the story doesn’t just jump between Yumeko and Tatsumi. The first chapter, as explained above, is from Suki’s perspective. She is a maid for Lady Satomi, who ends up sacrificing her to summon demons from another realm. We get a “behind the veil” look at what the lady with the demons is up to as well. You notice her workings throughout the story, so I found that very creative.
I find it very intriguing that more and more people join the group. First we have Tatsumi of course, he ran into Yumeko while she was running from the burning temple and the demons who followed her from the temple. Later on though, they run into a ronin, Okame, who betrays them at first but then ends up tagging along with the group. This is all thanks to Yumeko, she showed him kindness during their first run in. The next person who dives into their little group of fun is Taiyo Daisuke of the imperial family in the Sun Clan. He is formerly known as Oni no Mikoto, the demon prince. He goes around every once in a while and challenges “worthy” opponents to a duel. Whoever does not end up dead wins, and of course the fact that he is still alive means he has won every battle.
I love the various predicaments throughout the book, we get to journey with them to their destination and I love that.
- Suki brutally murdered at the VERY beginning and becoming a hitodama
- The introduction to kitsune, Yumeko
- The introduction to Tatsumi, while he is slaying a jorogumo
- The Silent Winds temple being burned to the ground by demons, and the oni murdering everyone inside.
- Beginning the journey to the Hayate shrine in Kin Heigen Toshi
- The wind witch Kazekira attacking with her kamaitachi familiars
- Kazekira waking Kiba-sama in the forest to fight Tatsumi and Yumeko
- Okame the ronin’s unexpected addition to the pair
- Visiting the village of Yamatori while lost in the mountains and realizing they were being fed to the gaki because of a monk’s curse but instead they break the curse
- The Prince of Demons stopping them on the bridge, but he turned out to be Taiyo Daisuke of the Sun clan
- Finally ending up at the Hayate shrine where they run into shrine maiden Reika who tells them master Jiro is missing, then joining them at the Moon festival with the emperor. (Reika brings Chu, a guardian komainu.)
- Yumeko pretends to be an omnijibu(?) and entertains the emperor
- They follow Lady Satomi through a magic mirror portal into Sky clan territory where they realize everyone has been slaughtered.
- Tatsumi, Daisuke, and Okame fight the oni and demons
- Yumeko, Reika, and Chu follow hitodama Suki to master Jiro
- the oni Yaburama is almost victorious in slaughtering Tatsumi but Hakaimono takes over completely and kills Yaburama, before departing.
As much as I love all the characters throughout the story, I think the way Tatsumi and Yumeko are together is perfect. The way they talk to each other is wonderful. I found myself longing for them to grow closer and realize the spark between them. It is such a slow burn and we do not get to see it happen in book one. Well actually, you do get to see Tatsumi realize his feelings, and that is the reason Hakaimono escapes.
I loved watching Tatsumi start to become his own person, even while he was worrying about the demon in the sword escaping. He wasn’t supposed to be having these emotions, he was trained to be nothing but a weapon. Yumeko got the best of him, and that was dangerous. Too dangerous.
I gave this book 4/5 stars because even though I thought the book was really great, it was a little slow here and there. I also did not appreciate the typos and the obviously missed editing. I am a really detailed person so it stuck out like a sore thumb.
Besides that, I think the book is really great, it has really good characters and a really good plot. I cannot wait for the rest of the trilogy, I definitely will be requesting Soul of the Sword arc, because I am impatient.
Plus, if I wait too long I might forget everything that happened and I don’t want to have to re-read the first book lol. I want to dive straight into the sequel!
Thank you for reading my review, if you have read this book please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you thought!