Title: Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
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.
Yumeko: kitsune; half-fox, half human; from the Silent Winds Temple
Tatsumi: bears the sword Kamigoroshi concealing the great demon Hakaimono; from the Shadow Clan
Okame: ruthless, greedy, proud…basically a samurai pirate
Daisuke: royal-born, a legend, never defeated
Zombie-like ghosts, demons, shapeshifters, magic-wielders, gods, samurais, and blood magic. What more could one ask for? Except, I found it overwhelming. I had trouble keeping everything straight and I wished the worlds were more descriptive, especially the different clans. The world-building could’ve improved.
The novel started out fast-paced and entertaining, but after the gaki, I felt my attention drifting outside of the book. I absolutely loved the gaki scene and found it the most interesting part of the story.
Normally I wouldn’t say this, but I felt like there was too much going on. Between the different creatures, the different clans, and all of the trouble the protagonists seem to find themselves in, I find some similarities between Lord of the Rings. This was an introductory novel in order to find the whole “crew” on the fight for the next villain.
I would’ve loved to learn more about the different clans, and have less action. It just seemed like the author was more interested in introducing the reader to the different creatures instead of building the world first and adding in the creatures. I think it would’ve kept my attention longer that way.
With that being said, I think there is a lot of potential to world build and growth from the characters in Soul of the Sword. Hopefully the story line will be more linear and easier to follow.