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



Can’t Wait Wednesday : Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa:

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

Due for publication : June 2019