Book Reviews

[BLOG TOUR & Q&A] Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox, #3) by Julie Kagawa

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Welcome to my stop on the Night of the Dragon book tour! Thank you to Inkyard Press for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Night of the Dragon

Title: NIGHT OF THE DRAGON
Author: Julie Kagawa
Pub. Date: March 31, 2020
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: Young Adult Legends, Myths, Fables, Young Adult Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural, Young Adult Fantasy
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&N, IndieBoundBooks-A-MillionAppleBooksGoogle Play

All is lost.

To save everyone she loves from imminent death, kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko gave up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must make one desperate final effort to stop the Master of Demons from using the scroll to call the Great Kami Dragon and make the wish that will plunge the empire into chaos.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko to stop a madman, and to separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.


REVIEW

For whatever reason, this novel tugged at my heart strings. I knew how everything was going to turnout, but putting myself in Yumeko’s shoes, dang, I’m not sure how I’d be able to accomplish what she is. I love her! She is such a great dynamic character, her growth from the first novel to the last was so significant and she is so pure of heart, full of doubt, and hopeful that you can’t help but like her.

Next…the supporting characters who are super supportive and selfless, but also main characters. The story just wouldn’t be the same without them. Usually, there are multiple characters I dislike, but man, Tatsumi (*heart eyes*), Daisuke, Okame, Reika, and Suki are all such good friends. They all have their own personalities, but are willing to risk it all for the better of Iwagoto.

The magic system intertwined within Iwagoto is unique in of itself. The Japanese mythology woven throughout the trilogy is refreshing and animating. I find myself wanting to look more into the history. Now I know where Eevee and Ninetails came from!

What I didn’t like was the predictability of the story. While I liked the outcome, I like a little suspense. One thing I didn’t find believable was the demons being “good” or turned off by the protagonists. I don’t think demons would react that way. However, none of this ruined the plot by any means.

“you’ll know it’s me because our souls will recognize each other”

Night of the Dragon is a tale of friendship, love, and the power of good. Readers who like a story where the good guys win and the bad get what they deserve will love this novel.

See my review for Shadow of the Fox here.
See my review for Soul of the Sword here.

★★★★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Kagawa_Hires2017 (1)

Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, Talon, and Shadow of the Fox series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.

Julie now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two obnoxious cats, and a pair of Australian Shepherds that have more Instagram followers than she does.

Follow Julie:
Website| FaceBookInstagram | Twitter| Goodreads


Q&A

Q: What was the hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?
A:  The hardest scene was the last battle with the Final Boss at the end.  Without giving away spoilers, there was a lot of kitsune magic, illusion and misdirection, and trying to show everything that was going on without making it too confusing was a challenge.  I don’t remember an easy scene to write, but I did enjoy writing one of the final chapters (where I hope everyone cries).  

Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)
A: There are a few references that only those very familiar with Japanese folklore would get.  For example, the names of the Reika’s two dogs, Chu and Ko, come from a Japanese novel called The Eight Dog Chronicles, which has been adapted into manga, anime, and even video games.  In Soul of the Sword, Yumeko and her friends are on their way to the home of the tengu, when they encounter a pair of magical stone guardians called Yoshitsune and Benkei, two real life historical figures that inspired countless legends and stories.  In folklore, Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a near mythical swordsman who had been trained by the king of the tengu, and Benki was a warrior monk who was his stalwart companion. 

 

Q: What do you hope people remember about Night of the Dragon?
A: I hope people come away with a new appreciation of Japanese myth and folklore, particularly all the wonderfully bizarre yokai, yurei and bakemono that populate these stories.  From kitsune and tanuki to oni and kirin, I hope it inspires readers to learn more about the world of Japanese myth and legend. And I hope people remember how much they cried at the end of the story. 

 

Q: What is your dream cast for Night of the Dragon?
A:  I am so bad at this question.  I really can’t answer it because one: I am terrible at keeping up with current actors/actresses.  And two: I see everyone in Shadow of the Fox as anime characters.

 

Book Reviews

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox, #2) by Julie Kagawa

Soul of the SwordTitle: Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox, #2)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Rating: ★★★

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

Shadow of the Fox: ★★★
Soul of the Sword: ★★★

Soul of the Sword is exactly how the title reads. The story delves into the relationship between the Demonslayer and Hakaimono. We see a different side to these characters. The only problem is…I’m not sure that I like it.

One thing I wish the novel had more of was the supporting characters. Shadow of the Fox left me wanting to know each and every one of their stories. I was just left hanging on some of them.

Soul of the Sword is the picture of loyalty, love, and justice. Some parts even took me for a spin and the next installment is sure to bring some more!

Check out my review for Shadow of the Fox.

Book Reviews

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1) by Julie Kagawa

Shadow of the FoxTitle: Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Rating: ★★★

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
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Tatsumi: bears the sword Kamigoroshi concealing the great demon Hakaimono; from the Shadow Clan
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Okame: ruthless, greedy, proud…basically a samurai pirate
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Daisuke: royal-born, a legend, never defeated
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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.