Series: Shadow of the Fox #2
Published by Inkyard Press (6.18.2019)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 432 pages
Length: 15 hours, 43 minutes
Narrator: Brian Nishii, Emily Woo Zeller, Joy Osmanksi
Source: I own it
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.
I absolutely LOVED Shadow of the Fox when I read it, and loved it even more on audio. I mean, Asian fantasy is my fave, and I love Inuyasha (which Shadow in the Fox is basically a book form of), and I adore Julie and everything she’s ever written. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite have the magic that the first book did.
I actually read this last year before it came out, and was disappointed in it. I think I gave it 3-3.5 stars originally. Which is totally weird, because I’ve always loved everything Julie has ever done! I was super bummed that I didn’t love it – so bummed that I didn’t have the heart to write a review. And I ended up forgetting almost everything about the book. So, I decided to do a re-read via audio to give it another chance!
I did enjoy it more the second time around, but it still wasn’t quite the same as the first book. I’m hoping it’s just a little second book syndrome going on (which is not normal for Julie like whaaaat??). I still enjoyed the characters and the world, but I felt like this one was lacking in plot and action. Things happened, sure, but overall I feel like nothing was really happening, if that makes sense. It’s just more traveling in search of the Steel Feather temple. There were a few fights, but there wasn’t really anything happening plot-wise.
The first time I read this, I felt like the romance between Okame and Daisuke was out of left field, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. It didn’t seem like there was any development from friendship to romance. However, I enjoyed their romance much more the second time around! Now that I knew it was there, I could see the signs, and didn’t find it quite as random and sudden. And their relationship is so sweet! I thought it was adorable that Okame called Daisuke ‘peacock’ all the time!
Other than their romance, there wasn’t really much going on as far as character development goes. With Tatsumi overtaken by Hakaimono, there was almost no interaction on his part other than being a mindless killing machine (he is a demon, after all). So no Yumeko/Tatsumi feels View Spoiler »up until the very end « Hide Spoiler, womp womp. I will say that Yumeko grew into her magic in this one. Go Yumeko!
My feels for this book were sadly quite low, which also brought it down for me. View Spoiler »Master Jiro died and I didn’t bat an eyelash. I had actually forgotten that he died after reading the first time, oops. All of the main players also die in Yumeko’s ruse (which you’re not told until after), but I figured it wasn’t real. No way would Julie kill off all the main characters! I feel like it would have made more of an impact to kill off one of the side characters in the major battle at the end, though. « Hide Spoiler
The last quarter of the book was definitely the best. That’s where all the action finally happens! View Spoiler »I actually really like that Tatsumi and Hakaimono merged! That was a good (and realistic) way to solve the Hakaimono issue and I’m super interested to see where it goes in the next book! « Hide Spoiler Even though this one wasn’t as magical as the first, it was still a fun read. I love the Japanese culture! I still love Julie’s writing and can’t wait to see how the trilogy ends!
Just like with Shadow of the Fox, the audiobook was fantastic! I really love Brian Nishii (Tatsumi/Hakaimono) and Joy Osmanksi (Yumeko)! They are amazing! I’m not a huge fan of Emily Woo Zeller – her narrating puts me to sleep – but she grew on me in this book too!
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5