Life Update + Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Hello everyone, long time no write. I have been busy lately and have been wanting to get back into posting here as I feel that being a book blogger is what fits for me at the moment regarding the online book community. However, I found myself really intimidated to start posting again here! The big reason I think is because I still feel like I reallly don’t have anything unique to say or anything new to bring to the conversation. However, I’m trying to make an effort not to be so mean to myself, and even if nothing I say is new, I don’t see a reason I shouldn’t say it if that’s how I feel.

So since I’ve been gone, I’ve graduated from university with my bachelor’s degree and started a full time job in my field. I’m a night shift worker in a hospital lab and so far I’m really enjoying my job. I know it isn’t what I want to do forever, but for now I’m very content, and now that I’ve adjusted to the night shift schedule I feel like my life is quite balanced at the moment. I also finally got a library card from my local library and have been reading a ton! I’ve been posting my reviews on Goodreads for the past few months but I think that I will start posting them here instead and just post a link to the review here on Goodreads.

I think that’s enough for the life update portion of this post. I kind of want to turn this page into more of a lifestyle blog that is predominantly reading based, so please let me know of anything you guys are interested in seeing from me. Now, onto the review!

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa: ★★

So here’s my big issue with this book, which I mentioned once while I was reading it: Yumeko’s character doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m sure this is a confusing statement, so I’m going to first talk about the only good thing about this book (to me), which was Tatsumi. BE WARNED, there may be spoilers in this discussion, so proceed at your own risk.

Tatsumi was the most interesting character in this book BY FAR in my opinion. The things he did and the way that he thought all made sense based on what we know about his upbringing, he had to adapt not to show any weakness or else he would be physically abused or face the risk of being overwhelmed by Hakaimono. This is the unfortunate basis of his character and it all makes sense. Because of this, I grew attached to him as he developed feelings for Yumeko, and was very sad at the end of the book.

However, the basis of Yumeko’s character is not as clear. All we know about her is that she is a half-kitsune that was raised in a temple by monks, and she is harmlessly mischievous. But once all the action starts and she “teams up” with Tatsumi, the most interesting thing about her-the fact that she is half kitsune-has to be a secret for the rest of the book. I understand that this is necessary because she is afraid that Tatsumi may kill her, but because she has to keep her half-yokai nature a secret in my opinion there is not much else to her. The best part of the book from Yumeko’s perspective was when she was finally able to freely use her power at the end of the book. But by then it was too late, at least it was for me. I was not attached to her character other than the fact that something happening to her would really upset Tatsumi.

So while I feel like there was a good reason for Yumeko to have to hide, I with that Julie Kagawa would have put in little scenes where Yumeko was using her powers secretly, like when she disrupted Okame’s sleep to get him back for eating all the food. THAT was cute, and felt really in-line with the trickster nature that kitsune are known to have.

Another thing about this book that I have read in other reviews that I agree with is the fact that there are no labels on the chapters for whether they are from Tatsumi or Yumeko’s POV. It essentially made it a mystery to solve as quickly as possible to find out who was narrating. This was super annoying, and made the reading experience a bit less pleasant than it could have been.

I have also seen people mention that the worldbuilding is a little weak, and I agree with that. We don’t learn much about how the politics of this world operate other than the fact that Tatsumi is concerned about traveling through the territories of other clans and has lost his travel papers, so he is worried he will be arrested. Besides that, all we know is little tidbits about the other clans and families in power, but this I had another issue with. Considering that Tatsumi is a shinobi and presumably has had to infiltrate the homes and lands of the other clans, I feel that he should have been able to tell us more. I’m not sure if Julie Kagawa is intentionally holding back info on this topic because it will become more important later, or if this was really just very weak worldbuilding.

I think that I will end up reading the next book, but only because I want to find out what happens to Tatsumi. And Okame, because though I don’t really LOVE his character, I am interested in his backstory.

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