Title: Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Shadow of the Fox #1
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 30
(see breakdown below)
A single wish will spark a new dawn. Every millennium, one age ends and another age dawns…and whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers holds the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for any one wish. The time is near and the missing pieces of the scroll will be sought throughout the land of Iwagoto. The holder of the first piece is a humble, unknown peasant girl with a dangerous secret. Demons have burned the temple Yumeko was raised in to the ground, killing everyone within, including the master who trained her to both use and hide her kitsune powers. Yumeko escapes with the temple’s greatest treasure – one part of the ancient scroll. Fate thrusts her into the path of a mysterious samurai, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan. Yumeko knows he seeks what she has and is under orders to kill anything and anyone who stands between him and the scroll.
I am not entirely convinced by this book and I am not sure why. There are both fantastic elements and then others that just fell flat.
First, this is told from duel perspective but there is NO marker as to when the perspectives change within the written text. The voices of the two characters are not different enough to easily deduce which character was which. The only way I was able to finish the text was to switch to the audiobook which has a two different narrators and therefore made it possible to tell the perspectives apart.
Secondly the plot was somewhat slow. I think it was because I was not expecting this to be a buddy road trip plot line. It just feels like the plot just went blandly from action scene to action scene and that was disappointed. The action scenes were fast-paced but apart from the opening and final scenes the middle just seemed like filler. And then just as the storyline is really taking on legs of its own, it cliffhangers. Luckily I held of completing this so long I don’t need to wait long if i decide to continue.
The saving grace is the characters, I really enjoyed them. I really enjoyed that Yumeko, one of out MCs, was a young and precocious 16 year old instead of the wise beyond her years. She was brought up sheltered and I love that when forced to leave her home she was naive to the outside world and that that didn’t suddenly change a few pages after she set out on her journey. I liked that she was playful and questioning it worked well with her being kitsune and the traits that lent to her. This also contrasted nicely with our other perspective Tatsumi, who was brought up to be a ruthless killer. He is wise before his time, doesn’t know what it is like to be young and they balance each other out nicely while also leading to some fun comedic moments, especially with the additions to some of their travelling companions along the way.
We have all the troupes of the unlikely pair road trip scenario but that is not necessarily a bad thing and set against the rich cultural and mythological aspects woven into the story it does lend some interest along the way. I have however yet to make up my mind if I wish to continue. The cliffhanger did get me and I was just warming to the overall plot when it ended. I just don’t think i will be rushing to purchase the second in the series.