Shadow of the Fox

400p. Harlequin Teen. Oct. 2018. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781335145161. POP
Gr 9 Up—The world of Iwagoto is full of ghosts, kami spirits, shapeshifters, samurai, and blood mages. Yumeko, a half-kitsune (supernatural fox), has lived a sheltered life in a remote monastery. When the leader of the monks informs Yumeko that they protect part of a magical scroll, she is thrust into adventure and danger. A demon attack on the monastery spurs Yumeko into action, and she becomes determined not only to protect the scroll but to set out on a mission to find the next piece. The author of the "Iron Fey" series moves away from urban fantasy in this story based on Japanese legends. Iwagato is richly detailed, but the simplistic plot and common archetypal characters cause the pace of the story to drag and stall, despite numerous action sequences. Kagawa continues her style of alternating points of view, creating more character development but also making the narrative repetitive. Readers who enjoyed Renée Ahdieh's Flame in the Mist, Jay Kristoff's "Lotus War" trilogy, or Annette Marie's "Red Winter" trilogy will appreciate Kagawa's latest work.
VERDICT A slow-paced but immersive world is built in Kagawa's series opener based on Japanese legends and mythology.

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