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Shadow of the Fox

Written by: Julie Kagawa
Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish - and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. 

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure - one part of the ancient scroll. 

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll...at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. 

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself. 

New from the New York Times best-selling author of The Talon Saga and The Iron Fey. Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Julie C. Dao, Marie Lu, Cassandra Clare, and more best-selling YA fantasy will be captivated by book one of this enchanting new series.

“One of my all-time favorite fantasy novels! I'm in love with this book, its characters, its worldbuilding!” (Ellen Oh, author of the Prophecy and Spirit Hunters series)

©2018 Julie Kagawa (P)2018 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-10-24

Love it!

Ok, first I would like to say that I have not seen any other books like this book. I love it for one it is mostly original. I see a lot of historical Japanese culture in it. If you don’t know Japanese history or customs it might be hard to understand but I think anything said is explain quiet well. People who don’t know any Japanese culture/customs could understand if they can connect thoughts and ideas from different parts of the book to create the big picture. I must admit that I did not expect the ending, but not to spoil anything let’s just say that there should be another book. I hope this helps anyone looking to get this audiobook.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • JNeumann1
  • 2019-04-26

Mediocre story read by terrible narrators.

After a strong intro to the villain, we are introduced to two main characters whose only interesting traits are WHAT they are rather than WHO they are and what drives them. They become decreasingly interesting throughout the story and are later joined by even less interesting characters in a manner that is reminiscent of an old role-playing video game, e.g. meet enemy - fight enemy - discover enemy is just misunderstood - "enemy has joined your party." Then, still in said RPG fashion, they encounter a side quest that does nothing to propel the story forward, yet is a more interesting and exciting experience than any other part.

Then, there is the narration. The woman who performs the opening, the epilogue, and a brief chapter in the middle is the only one who gives a good performance. The second woman and the man who perform the two main characters do a relatively decent job voicing those characters, but give cringeworthy performances when portraying any other character. The woman's voices for every male, demon, and creature sound like a 6-year-old playing with action figures. The man's portrayal of female characters is like a male cartoon character trying to pass for a woman.

I highly recommend reading the book on paper over listening to the audiobook.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Katherine Straus
  • 2018-10-13

Lots of adventure

This was action packed and interesting, I have very basic knowledge of Japanese mythology so this was fun. I really appreciated the journey our main characters go through and the personal growth that comes from it even though, sometimes, Yumiko was too unbelievably gullible. I felt that the author did that with every character at points,presenting them like caricatures of themselves and their qualities.

I'm really annoyed at how terribly abrupt the cliffhanger was and I'm fairly uncertain about where the author thinks she's going to go (I have a few ideas, many of which I don't like). But I will read or listen to the next one, provided it doesn't take 2.5 years to come out.

One thing that did bother me was the editing surrounding the pronunciation of some Japanese terms- I think that these names and words were pre-recorded and inserted in spots- making for awkward transitions. I even questioned whether it was the narrator or another person they hired to pronounce all the words right- just weird

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ashley
  • 2019-07-23

Mediocre narration of a mediocre story

I had originally given this book 3 stars, but as I wrote this review, I realized exactly how lackluster this story really was. This book had incredible potential, but unfortunately fell flat.

Shadow of the Fox is about Yumeko, a half-kitsune (magical fox being), and Tatsumi, a fierce samurai demon-slayer. When the temple Yumeko grew up in is attacked by demons who are after an ancient scroll that will be able to summon a great, magical dragon able to grant any wish, a dying monk gives the scroll to Yumeko and tells her to go find a temple so she can find the other piece of the scroll. However, instead of directing Yumeko to this temple (which is conveniently lost and secret), the monk tells her to find a monk in a different temple across the country–evidently this monk will be able to help Yumeko find the other temple with the scroll. As Yumeko leaves on her roundabout journey, she runs in Tatsumi, who was sent by his shadow clan to find and collect the very scroll Yumeko is hiding and fleeing with. They strike up an uneasy bargain/alliance: he will offer her protection if she leads him to the Steel Feather temple and thus to the scroll.

So this plot, while a tad convoluted, is extremely interesting. I, however, assumed that the book would mostly be about arriving at the Steel Feather temple, then searching for the secret temple that contains the other magical scroll. Oh, how wrong I was. This book is solely about the journey to the Steel Feather temple, and it shoves in a bunch of different side adventures (à la video game quests) along the way.

The plot moved incredibly slowly, and while the Japanese lore/mythology is interesting, it was a lot of name-dropping without much explanation. I had trouble keeping all of the names for the various creatures straight. The romantic attraction between Yumeko and Tatsumi was as predictable as it was inevitable; it was the same basic premise of hardened warrior falls for a soft innocent.

The story finally picked up again when Yumeko, Tatsumi, and their band of acquaintances they met along the journey finally arrive at the Steel Feather temple. From there, they go on another journey (this one mercifully much quicker) to infiltrate the palace. The end of this book contained a lot of action and twists, but it still fell short, especially when the main character is left alive at the end for no purpose than to set up/allow a sequel.

The narration did nothing to help increase my patience for this book. The voices were often overly-dramatic and I was often rolling my eyes and cringing at the narrators.

I had high hopes for this book, and had been seeing a lot of positive reviews on it, but it simply wasn’t my cup of tea. I am still curious about how the end of this plot will play out, so I probably will still read (or listen to, as I did with this book) the sequel. But my expectations will be a lot lower than they were going into this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • CS
  • 2019-05-06

Hard to follow the story

I did not enjoy this book. There are different chapters for different characters and no indication about how they’re connected to each other nor what part they play in the overall story. I was only able to listen to the first two & half chapters, with three narrators. The narration was ok and didn’t rate it higher because it was distracting to all of a sudden be switched to someone else.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Hunter
  • 2019-04-11

can't rate the story, narrator is the worst though

Seriously this is the worst narrator I've ever heard. Bizarre breathless pacing, and comically over the top shrill voices. I'm roughly 35min in and i just can't handle it.

From what I heard the story is going to be pretty standard fair for YA coming of age/ supernatural romance, the set up is familiar enough you'll likely be able to tell the story yourself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • S. K.
  • 2019-03-16

same ole, same ole

sorry Julie...I usually love your work and it might be the narrator, the Male was awful, female, ok...but this story has been told too many times... I'll try reading it to finish, but too many cliches from what I have listened to so far.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • 2018-10-11

Not nearly as good as Julie Kagawa's other books

I absolutely love the Iron Fey & Talon series and was very excited when I saw she has started a new series. But, this book is anything but exciting. I'm 3hrs in and quit. the narrator is awful, the voice she uses for one of the characters is very grating and isn't much better with the other characters. The story is disappointing and makes no sense. In her other series Ms. Kagawa has incredible character development and you quickly become attached. Not in this book, so far all I know is 3 characters are on a journey and being faced by weird, supernatural opponents with names I couldnt dream id pronouncing (really glad I wasnt trying to read the book instead of listening, I wouldn't have made it as far as I did). Sorry Ms. Kagawa for a poor review, I really am a big fan of yours, but this book is just not on par with your others

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Small Mountain
  • Orlando
  • 2018-10-05

Fun characters; mysterious foes; Japanese flavor

Shadow of the Fox was a real delight to listen to. The world built in the book is a lot of fun to imagine, and the main characters struck a great balance with one another. Yumeko is adorable to imagine, and Okame, who we meet later on, is a favorite as well. The greater quest is clear, but the parties who are interested in the actions of the main characters (some potentially friends, some potentially foes, some potentially both at once) are mysterious and add intrigue to the story.

While remaining partly mysterious, the plot is not super complicated, making this a really approachable listen. There is some violence, gore and demonic evilness, but nearly no foul language and no tasteless/awkward sexual themes. I'd probably let my children listen to it in high school.

Pros:
The setting and characters combine to make a really fun world. The tension and release cycle is well-managed; the protagonists face interesting challenges, including an overarching challenge that clearly drives the plot, but with many soft pleasant interactions in-between. The plot does not feel forced and within this fantasy world, I did not often feel that the characters acted unbelievably, even though I might have in a less colorful setting.

Cons:
The author does have a bit of exposition-dump dialog in there; not enough to reduce the story rating, and in this world where certain people talk with flowery language as a matter of habit and culture, I was actually able to imagine those conversations taking place even though people do not typically speak that way in the real world. Also, this is the first time I thought the narration was merely adequate. Normally, I do not mind when multiple narrators narrate a book; in this case, though, I felt the inconsistent voices were a little distracting.

Overall, I recommend this book to listeners who enjoy colorful fantasy worlds, swords and sorcery, and Japanese-themed characters, lore, and challenges. I am looking forward to the next book in this series, especially after the intriguing ending.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brooke L
  • 2019-05-02

Worth the read

At first I was disappointed. The characters repeated themselves an awful lot in the beginning and the world building felt a little too forced. But as the book progressed it became less awkward. There is a little love story which I will read the next book to see blossom, but other than that I was not very invested in the characters. I understand why there were several narrators to give the impression of different perspectives, but hearing the guy try to mimmick a females voice was rough. All in all it was a nice story to listen to.