Review: Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Shadow of the Fox

Release: October 2nd

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Goodreads Link / Amazon Link

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.

I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. Kagawa’s writing is so beautiful and rich. This is not something I would call a fast read, but not because it was slow in any way. I found myself needing to absorb chunks of it before continuing. The descriptions were well developed and I felt each of the main characters (or semi-main) were well fleshed out with individual personalities.  Exploring Yumeko and Tatsumi’s personal relationship growing and forming was a joy to watch, even if you knew certain things had to happen that may affect it.  As each new character became more central it was wonderfully woven so that they seemed natural and weren’t out of place or unwanted. They all had their own journey to add to the story and I can only imagine where they may go in the next book.

This is the first time I have read one of Kagawa’s books and after reading this I definitely want to not only get the sequel as fast as humanly possible but I may pull out the few of her books I have on my TBR shelf and read them sooner rather than later. I was captivated by her writing style and just loved the pacing and language so much.

I could see some things within the story that other people may have issues with, but for me this was just perfect. I did not want the story to end and found myself not wanting to finish it simply so I could prolong it somehow. For me that is always a good sign but also a little heartbreaking because I need more.  I won’t lie, books set in Asian settings are some of my favorites, but this one was amazing.

The details and cultural/mythological references were so well done and well developed in the story. There’s just enough explanation that I immediately knew and could envision what was going on.

All in all this was one of my favorite reads of this year and I CANNOT wait for more in this story.  Shadow of the Fox is out today, so go pick up your own copy and enjoy the adventure.

Happy reading!

Anthology Appreciation

Not everyone enjoys anthologies, but they are some of my favorites.  I’ve always been a lover of the short story and that love was fostered by some teachers who also thought they were a great medium.  In some ways they can be more difficult to write as they must be much more concise and concentrated than a full length novel.  In this post I’m going to talk about a few I’ve recently read as well as some of my favorites.  All pictures of the covers will be linked to the book’s Amazon page so that you can pick them up if you want to.

Recently I was given the opportunity through NetGalley to read two anthologies which recently came out.  They were very different genres and subjects, but I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

Toil and Trouble CoverToil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft, which was edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood, included stories that represented a number of cultures, mythologies and genres.  My detailed review of each story is on my Goodreads so I won’t rehash that here, but I can say that while there were some stories I didn’t enjoy as much as others it was an enjoyable read.  It would be perfect for reading not only around Halloween, but anytime during the year.

The other anthology I received on NetGalley was Fresh Ink, which was done in Fresh Ink Coverpartnership with We Need Diverse Books.  Having already read Flying Lessons, I was super excited to be able to read this one ahead of time.  I wish there were more anthologies like these two as they explore topics and situations that often need to be explored and discussed by wider audiences.  Again, I didn’t love every story in this anthology, but it exposed me to a number of authors I had not previously read. That’s another great thing about anthologies, you get to read stories from so many authors who you often may not have read from before.

My True Love Gave To Me CoverI have a number of anthologies on my bookshelves, so picking out Summer Days and Summer Nights Coverfavorites is not always an easy task.  I have anthologies in different genres and with different subject matter, but I’ve chosen a few that I really loved when I read them.  My True Love Gave to Me and Summer Days & Summer Nights are collections which were edited by Stephanie Perkins. One has love stories based in the winter while the other is set during the summer (bonus, the story in Summer Days & Summer Nights by Perkins is a continuation of the story she wrote for My True Love Gave to Me and I LOVED them both).

Slasher Girls and Monster BoysSlasher Girls and Monster Boys and Unnatural Creatures both tackle Unnatural Creaturesdarker subjects and were both amazing. They are perfect to read closer to Halloween and each have a spooky vibe that I enjoyed immensely.  There are some stories in them which are definitely not for the faint of heart.  I especially loved that Unnatural Creatures was edited by Neil Gaiman.  A lot of the stories in these two anthologies had great twists and were very addictive.

Meet CuteMeet Cute is an anthology purely about the initial interactions between characters that lead to a romance, or the “Meet Cute.” There are some stories in this one that are absolutely amazing and each one leaves you wanting more, but in a good way.

 

Do you enjoy anthologies and short stories in general? Feel free to comment and let me know!  Happy reading!