Soul of the Sword Had a Lot of Spirit

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

soul of the swordWell, I said at the end of my review for Shadow of the Fox that I wanted MORE and I definitely got it! Let’s cut to the chase, cos this book throws you straight back in at the deep end. This sequel picks up where the last one left off: the soul of the sword has broken free. With careful weaving of myths and legends, it shows you why this danger tears at the fabric of the world. Immediately, the reader is set upon by a terrifying tale and thrown deeper into the story’s history.

Thus, the stage is set and the narrative takes off at pace. A new, sharp voice enters the fray. Kagawa gives voice to a new (but also technically very old), sharp voice. We get to see first hand the struggle between good and evil taking root in the heart of a man. The reader can hear the thoughts of the hero tempered through the viewpoint of a villain. It’s fascinating to see the story from this perspective and it certainly makes for a mind-blowing opener. Instantly, the consequences of the last book are being felt.

Yet, hearing echoes of one character through another is far from the only brilliant moment when it comes to voice. Character is dealt with so strongly that you can tell who’s talking right away and without looking at the name at the start of each chapter. Yumeko is distinguishable through her humour and has all the same charm of the first book- perhaps even a little more 😉

I really enjoyed the writing in this one as well. With beautiful descriptions and poetic dialogue, this is Kagawa at her best. Everything adds to the atmosphere, giving the story a faintly mystical touch. The story flows beautifully and comes to life at each turn.

The pace sets off at a run and never loses footing. There is a clear sense that the plot is edging closer to the dragon’s wish, whilst also throwing in more intense challenges at the master of demon’s behest. There are plenty of clever, little developments along the way- but I have to give the most credit to the ending: it foxily sneaks up on you and pounces when you least expect. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say (rather vaguely) that it both concludes the storyline of the book perfectly AND sets up some crazy stuff for the next one!!

I can’t quite tell where it’s all heading, but one thing I know for certain is that the romance ante has been upped- not least because there’s more than one couple I am rooting for! If you’re hunting for forbidden love, then I can safely tell you that is something Kagawa excels at.

And I’m delighted to say that this was better than its predecessor. This is the kind of YA fantasy that will keep pulling me back to the genre- its got so much of the fun and vibrant spirit that makes it all worthwhile.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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