Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (ARC): A Hero’s Journey with a Well-Needed Twist


4.5 stars

Raised by monks, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, Yumeko excels at both illusion and 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 that can raise the dragon once every thousand years.

Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is ordered 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.

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I so enjoyed reading this one! It was really nice and refreshing to have an entertaining fantasy with a strong plot arc and endearing characters.

Shadow of the Fox was first and foremost a really engaging read. It kept me wanting to read, and it had a likeable main character that I wanted to see more of.

wanted to keep reading, and I wanted to find out next. More and more, I’m seeing books I’m not 100% invested in, but with Shadow of the Fox, I really felt invested in the characters and the storyline and the fate of the world.

Julie Kagawa did a wonderful job in creating stakes and urging us to keep reading.

I know some people have commented about how “traditional” the storyline is–how it’s like so many other fantasies, but ultimately, I disagree.

Yes, it might have the hero’s journey and an adventure where the main characters pick up a bunch of misfits as they travel to the capital. But unlike most other fantasies–it stars an all-Asian cast, and it has Japanese mythological elements.

People like to diss tropes as “outdated”–but it’s only outdated because so many white authors have done it with white casts. LET POC HAVE THEIR TROPES. Seriously.

I loved this because not only was there a strong, traditional fantasy plot structure, it also had magical and thematic elements that I could really relate to when I see Asian characters in this story.

Don’t say X trope is dead when you haven’t even let POC see themselves in that trope. Please.

Anyways, can we all also talk about me undying love for Yumeko? I love her. I love her so much.

She’s the type of protagonist I ADORE. She might not physically be a warrior, but she is compassionate and caring and a little sneaky and a little wily, but overall with the good of everyone else in mind.

Seriously. It was so refreshing to read a compassionate main character who listens to other people and tries to do what’s best for others–and it doesn’t even come off as forced.

Plus, she has the more mischievous yokai side that she struggles with at times, and that kept Yumeko balanced and from falling to flat, in my eyes.

The other characters were cool too! I really enjoyed the ragtag band of misfits Yumeko picks up along the way, although I’m not the fondest of Kage. I feel like I didn’t get to see enough dimension in Kage to really make a solid judgement on him, and the romance is already starting to hint in this book, which is kind of jarring as I feel like I don’t even know him yet.

But the characters were all really cool, and the magic system was even more amazing (except when compared to Yumeko. Yumeko is the best.)

I like how Kagawa makes the magic system–even though there’s no infodump and we’re immersed in the world, it wasn’t jarring or hard to understand. It all felt very natural to me, and I love all the magical creatures.

Overall, I absolutely adored Shadow of the Fox and will definitely be picking up Kagawa’s other works after this! I wholeheartedly recommend if you want a well-needed Asian spin on a traditional plot structure of the hero’s journey, or if you just want to immerse yourself in a wonderful fantasy with endearing characters.

Thank you so much to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

much love, vicky

Have you read any of Kagawa’s works? Which one is your favorite or are you excited for Shadow of the Fox?

5 thoughts on “Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (ARC): A Hero’s Journey with a Well-Needed Twist

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