Shadow of the Fox Showed Flashes of Brilliance

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

shadow of the foxLet’s jump right into this shall we? Because this book doesn’t waste any breath throwing you into the mysterious and immersive world of Japanese myths. With an ominous tone, which foreshadows some of the darker themes, the scene is set. As someone who is fascinated by legends of kitsune, I found this more than lived up to any conception I had of it. I adored how distinctive stories, embedded in a rich culture, were threaded through the narrative to create an exquisite reading experience.

One of the most effective ways this was achieved was through the fantastic characterisation of the main character- the girl who is half human, half mythical fox. Her voice was strong and had a wonderful comedic edge, which made the mood feel as perfectly balanced as a sword in the hand of a Samarai. Yumeko’s way of talking had a unique sense of innocence, while maintaining a humorous edge. Though she felt reminiscent of Puck from Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, she was also entirely distinctive and it felt great to have such a joyful character in the starring role for a change.

In case that wasn’t enough, comic relief came through in many of the other characters and really bounced off the more serious figures in the story. Through this contrast, the more murky personalities had a greater chance to shine. There were times when it did feel a bit headhoppy for me, but I also appreciated how every character- from Okame to the Kage warrior- had such strong and individual voices that this didn’t matter.

In terms of the rest of the writing, there was plenty of stunning imagery to maintain the illusion of this fantastical world. I especially appreciated how some images were cast against others in dichotomous harmony. Some descriptions were a tad samey- particularly since I saw exact words and images repeated on the same page- which, may seem like a nitpicky point (cos it is), made some parts feel repetitive. All in all, though, there were some standout lines in the book and the prose had a life of its own.

Though at times the story felt somewhat generic, the tension did climb towards the end. As much as I liked the way it started, the conclusion was even better. In a sensational finale, the book both closed a lot of chapters, but also opened up a path for new adventures. I for one can’t wait for the sequel!

I’ll admit, I’ve had my ups and downs with Kagawa over the years- but one can’t argue that any of her books are ever the same. Sure, she plays to some of her strengths here, and that works a charm. Yet what’s really remarkable here is what she does differently. For all the teeny tiny flaws, this was a definite return to form for an excellent author. So all that’s left to say is I WANT MORE!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Okey dokes, before I go, I wanted to add an update for the lovely Mim Inkling’s bookish bingo (cos this is for that and there’s still time to play!). I’ve kind of focused on this for the beginning of this month, so here’s some additions to add to what I’ve read: Comedy of Errors, Academic Curveball, Secret Countess, Twits, Warriors: Into the Wild.

Alrighty- who else has read this? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments!

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67 thoughts on “Shadow of the Fox Showed Flashes of Brilliance

  1. I haven’t read a book by this author yet, but I’ve seen them around. It’s good to know they’re kind of up or down for you. I don’t think I will read this one, but it sounds like it was a decent read for you. I hope her next book is even better for you. Nice review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooooh I LOVE Japanese myths (and tbh, most myths, but Japan holds a special place because I lived there for a while). I’ll have to check this out, thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think the author should be totally castigated for cultural appropriation with intent of crass commercialization and trying to “cash in”.

    Ok, I think that about covers all the virtue signalling I need to do this year 😉
    That box is now CHECKED!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahahaha!! Unfortunately the author’s of Japanese descent (and according to the bizarre and fashionable diktats of PC that means she’s allowed to write about whatever topics she likes 😉 ) Which means your end of year report for virtue signalling has to read something like: nice try at creating an online hate mob directed at a poor and unsuspecting author, must try harder 😉
      Also, coincidentally, I just watched this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq74bZqbOqA

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dang it, I had ONE JOB. I just needed ONE measly little virtue signal to show how woke I was and I couldn’t even do that.
        Well, back to being a Proud Barbarian then I guess 🙂

        Man, I read some of the comments under that vid. Phraaaaaaack, what a bunch of messed up idiots inhabit this planet. And they get to vote too. * cries *

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely think, aside from the mythology, character is her strong point. Yumeko would probably have annoyed me in other hands but I thought she was so well written and balanced that it worked really well! Hopefully the series only goes up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m really glad you enjoyed this book, especially considering you’ve had your ups and downs with Kagawa’s work in the past. I read her The Immortal Rules series a long time ago now and really enjoyed it, plus I loved her addition to the A Thousand Beginnings and Endings anthology which I think was actually a short story featuring kitsune so this one is definitely on my TBR list, though I’m not sure when exactly I’ll get around to it!
    Great review. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This book sounds very interesting to me. I love reading about Japanese myths and legends and the premise for this book sounds amazing! 🙂 I haven’t read many books that contain Japanese mythology, rather I have read quite a few manga that deal with it. This is a book that I definitely plan to check out in the future. Amazing review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great review, I’m so with you regarding those ups and downs with Kagawa but as you said, her books are so different. They always pull me in. 😊 I have this book on my shelf and can not wait to read it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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