Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa

Soul of the Sword may be the second book in the Shadow of the Fox series but it doesn’t suffer at all from middle book syndrome.  In fact far from it.  This book takes everything that was great in book 1 and builds even more firmly upon those foundations.  There is more action, more emotion and more excitement as the quest style journey continues.  In fact I had an unreasonably and unexpectedly good time reading this not to mention some real laugh out loud moments.

Shadow of the Fox is high fantasy set in a Japanese inspired world packed with fascinating people and creatures.  Demons, witches, ghosts, kitsunes and Samurai to name but a few.  It’s an exciting read, entertaining and absorbing and for me it surpassed the first in the series.

Please be aware that this review may contain spoilers for book 1.

I’m not really going to elaborate on the plot.  We pretty much pick up from where book 1 concluded and again the book is strangely reminiscent of a Tolkien style adventure but with Japanese inspired myths and legends.  Basically, we have a bunch of people travelling from A to B with a mission in mind.  Of course, given the ending of Shadow of the Fox the characters and motivations have changed somewhat – but I won’t say why.  What I would mention in terms of the changes are that if you’re picking up this book expecting more of a certain character – and I think you all know who I mean – then you might be disappointed as the dynamics between the POVs have necessarily altered.  I actually liked the changes, they allowed us to get into the demon’s psyche and also to be in the middle of things from the opposing point of view.

Yumeko plays an excellent role this time around.  She still retains a degree of her innocence but she has undoubtedly changed and become a lot more comfortable with her Kitsune abilities in the process.  The other members of the team are all still present and contribute greatly to the entertainment value with their banter and camaraderie and we learn more about Tatsumi’s early years which whilst quite sad help to gain a better understanding of who he really is and why he is so affected by Yumeko.

The world building is really strong in both books and I absolutely love it.  There is plenty of travel and a greater exploration into the Shadow Clan, their strange palace and their creepy mode of quick travel that involves walking a path haunted by hungry ghosts.  We discovered a little bit about the politics of the Clan and what is really at stake should things ultimately go wrong.  I also loved visiting the Steel Feather Temple which is so brilliantly described and packed again with unusual protections and riddles.

If I have any criticisms I think I would probably mention that Yumeko’s actions at the end seemed a little out of character – but, I would stress at the same time, that she was faced with some very difficult decisions and given her age and lack of experience her choices are more easy to come to terms with.

Overall, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time reading Soul of the Sword.  It was fast paced, entertaining, in fact highly amusing at certain points, and full of action.  The characters have managed to work their magic on me to such an extent that I was genuinely worried about who would live or die when all the fighting got underway and I think the conclusion was something I didn’t see coming at all.

In a nutshell, if you enjoy quests, fellowships and the fight between good and evil but with a different setting involving Japanese folklore, Samurai, ronin and warring Clans – then this could be just your cup of tea.  I can’t wait to see how it all concludes.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating – between 4 and 4.5 out of 5




15 Responses to “Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa”

  1. Tammy

    Ugh I need to start this series! And I just saw the cover of book three! I feel like these books are being released super fast, or maybe time is just playing tricks on me😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      They are coming out very fast – I saw that cover too when I was looking at the covers for this post – and it surprised me, but in a good way.
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Far-eastern-inspired fantasy seems to gain some momentum in these past few years, which makes me glad for the promised change of pace and scenery from the “usual fare”. I will need to add this series to my “wanted” list…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m really enjoying this. It has plenty of action and just an overall good feel. I liked that the second book was a slightly different tack to the first book as well.
      Lynn 😀

  3. sjhigbee

    I enjoy Japanese-inspired fantasy – but I read the first book in her dragon series a while back and was a tad underwhelmed… I’m assuming this isn’t allll about boy meets girl, etc, etc…

    • @lynnsbooks

      There is a little bit of boy meets girl, but, for this second book that is very much in the shadows.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        Oh that sounds much better – I do like romance, but the YA nature of the relationships hadn’t really held me.

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I think all your reviews from the last week are of books that are on my July TBR, but of course I am horribly behind, lol. I had hoped to get to this one while I was away, but didn’t happen! I’m glad to hear it was good though, I look forward to starting it before the month is out!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I don’t know how my tbr got so out of control – particularly when I thought I was being so well behaved.
      Lynn 😀

  5. TTT : Wish you were there? | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Japanese high fantasy – such as the Shadow of the Fox series by Julie Kagawa – a great setting filled with different myths and folklore, hungry ghosts, shadow paths, kitsumes and magic. Shadow of the Fox and Soul of the Sword. […]

  6. Can’t Wait Wednesday : Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] so excited for this.  I have quite literally just posted my review for the second in series, Soul of the Sword – which was a fantastic middle book with no irksome syndromes at all.  How happy am I to […]

  7. waytoofantasy

    Glad to hear good things on this one, I hope to get to it some time next month. I really had fun with the first one. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think this was better than the first – although I suspect some readers my feel the absence of a certain character in this instalment. Personally, I thought it worked really well.
      Lynn D

  8. July : My Month in Review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa […]

  9. Best of the Best list : 2019 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa […]

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