Night of the Dragon Left Me Starry-Eyed

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review- but the light enthusiasm is all me 😉 *

night of the dragonHappily, I’m returning to the world of Iwagoto today, to talk about the finale in the Shadow of the Fox series. With a strong opening and the promise of plenty of emotional turns to come, I settled down for a night or two of wild reading 😉. Granted, I will admit there was a bit more telling at the start in order to recap the events of the last book, but it didn’t take long for the action to get going.

As with the previous instalments, the characterisation is a massive bright spot in the story. Yumeko is as likeable as ever; Tatsumi is broodingly conflicted. I liked the touch of having Tatsumi have a slightly different tone from the last book, though it was (understandably) a little more distant at times. Both of the main characters undergo serious character development- which I particularly liked in Yumeko’s case. The reveals about her history cut deeper than a samurai sword. Most of all, however, I liked Kagawa’s execution of the slow burn romance, with its ups and downs, giving the narrative hints of darkness and delight.

Once again, the adventure aspect was strong too. Not only was the writing sharp, the action was non-stop and on point. Even better, there was a tricksy ending that I wasn’t quite expecting! Kagawa doesn’t go for the straightforward happily ever after and yet still manages to deliver something sweet- which makes for a very satisfying conclusion to the saga!

Ultimately, while it took me a little longer to get into this book, I can’t fault this series for sheer entertainment, gorgeous characters and transporting me to a fantastic fantasy land. It was a very welcome distraction and I’m tempted to reread the entire thing! 😉

Rating: 4/5 bananas


So, have you read this series? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Fantastic Folklore-Inspired Stories from Around the World

orangutan list

Hello all! Since I’ve been speaking a lot about fairy tales and folklore in the last week, I thought it would be fun to just to a little list for this Sunday’s post. I decided (cos I’m a fussy reader that’s picky about retellings) to go with books that I think are great, which aren’t necessarily retellings, but rather are simply awesome stories, inspired by mythic tales. And these they are:

shadow of the fox

Shadow of the Fox– it’s not just that I really enjoyed this book- I also thought Kaguwa’s light touch was perfect when it came to representing the wonderfully complex creature that is the kitsune.


Forbidden Wish– I don’t think I talk about this book enough on this blog, even though I really enjoyed this unique Aladdin retelling.

bear and the nightingale

Bear and the nightingale– I think it’s fairly obvious how much I love this book. Bound up in Russian folklore, it’s become an instant favourite for me and is perfect reading for this time of the year.

anansi boys

Anansi Boys– this was the first Gaiman I really fell in love with- and for good reason. Not only does it absorb fascinating mythic elements, but Gaiman also puts his own unique humour and twist on the story, elevating it to the levels of genius.


Circe– ah Greek mythology is so close to my heart- so I’m delighted to have read what I believe to be the *definitive* retelling of the Odyssey. It’s simply sublime.


The Hobbit– I went back and forth about putting this on this list, because it doesn’t necessarily correlate with any one story. Instead it’s an amalgamation of so many stories and goes far beyond a traditional retelling in that it becomes the backbone for future British mythology- which meant I’d be remiss to leave it off. Besides, it’s one of my all-time favourite books and I’m biased 😉

through the woods

Through the Woods– this graphic novel is not only visually stunning, but an excellent example of unique retellings. It not only incorporated elements from the original Grimm’s tales, it also embodied something of the spirit from Angela Carter’s work. For that alone, it’s a worthy read.


What do you think of any of these? And do have any favourite retellings or novels inspired by folklore? Let me know in the comments!

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


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!