Hello, my lovely book friends. I hope you are all doing well in these troubled times. I hope you are safe and healthy.
As we are all aware, the world is suffering through a pandemic at the moment and many of us have been asked to shelter in place in order to help stop the spread of this virus.
Because of this, many schools and workplaces have closed. Additionally, a lot of events that a great many people were looking forward to have been cancelled.
In the book world, author tours have been cancelled, along with bigger events such as NoVaTeen and Book Con either being rescheduled or called off entirely.
One thing we can all count on however, is new books being released on Tuesdays. Oh, how I love Tuesdays!!!
This coming Tuesday, March 31, 2020, my most anticipated YA book of the year is set to be released: Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa!!!
Night of the Dragon is the third and final book in the Shadow of the Fox series, a Japanese-inspired fantasy series that literally stole my heart when I first picked it up last year.
From the very first chapter of the first book, Shadow of the Fox, I was hooked. Kagawa’s writing style is so pleasing, the lush world, the cleverly crafted characters, all of it combined to be a recipe for an absolutely engrossing tale!
At this point you may be thinking, yes, this sounds great, but what is it about?
In the land of Iwagoto, the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, has the power to bring forth the Kami Dragon.
The dragon is capable of granting the summoner a single wish. If they are pure of heart, theoretically, all is well, if they are not, all hell will break loose.
In order to protect the land, the scroll was divided and the separate parts hidden away to prevent such disastrous consequences from happening, as it had in the past.
People are always searching for the parts, however, as combining them again could grant the summoner unrivaled power.
Yumeko, has been raised in the Silent Winds Temple where one piece of the scroll has been hidden away. When the Temple is attacked by demons, Yumeko is forced to flee, with the scroll.
She promises the monks she will transport it to another temple, where she will then receive further directions. Trained her whole life to hide her Yokai nature, half kitsune, half human, Yumeko is a master of illusion and mischief which obviously aides her in her travels.
Some clarification if you are new to Japanese Fantasy, a Yokai is a type of supernatural being in Japanese folklore. A kitsune, is one type of Yokai, a fox spirit that frequently appears in such folklore.
In the past couple of years, I have read a few different books with kitsune main characters and I feel it is a very fun perspective to read from!
On the run, Yumeko meets up with Kage Tatsumi, a samurai of the mysterious Shadow Clan.
Tatsumi has been sent out in search of the scroll. He finds Yumeko close by the now destroyed temple and promises to get her to her destination safely. Of course, he has no idea, she actually carries what he seeks.
They meet up with another character along the way, Okame, a ronin, basically a traveling samurai without a master. He begins to travel with them and quickly became my favorite character. A source of almost constant humor, I just cannot imagine this story without him!
In addition to the lush world and fantastic characters, this triology also has one of my most loved tropes in literature: A QUEST. A ragtag group of characters trying to get from Point A to Point B, overcoming obstacles along the way, nothing keeps me turning pages faster.
At its heart, this is a fantastic quest story.
The stakes, the secrets, the magic, the world, I think you can tell I fell head-over-heels for it all. And don’t even get me started on the hella SLOW-BURNING romance!
The second book in the series, Soul of the Sword, continues directly on from the events of the first book, doing what it should: upping the stakes and continuing to build out the complexity of the world.
Another way I like to describe this entire story, if you aren’t sold already, is anime come to life. The atmosphere and tone of this is so dynamic, it leaps off the page and into your minds-eye so clearly. It’s honestly tremendous.
I am currently halfway through the final book. Honestly, I am taking my time with it. I don’t want it to end!!!
So far, this story, again, has continued to build, I know the final scenes are going to be epic. Kagawa has such a beautiful way of showing you the world. I have never felt confused. In fact, I am completely immersed. When I am reading it, the rest of the world could stop and I wouldn’t even notice.
During this difficult time, if you need a way to escape, something to immerse yourself in to forget life for a while, I cannot recommend this series strongly enough.
Now is the perfect time to get lost with Yumeko and Tatsumi, to go on that adventure and maybe save the world. Who knows?
I want to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for blessing me with an early copy of this book. I am thoroughly enjoying it and plan to finish it later today. Make sure you check back in for my full review. Also, if you have read these books, let me know your thoughts in the comments below or contact me through any of my social media links.
Where ever you are and what ever you are doing, I hope you are doing it in good health and happiness. Love you all!
Cheers & happy reading!