Shadow of the Fox is the first book in a new series by Julie Kagawa. Set in the land of Iwagoto, reminiscent of ancient medieval Japan, Julie builds a stunning world filled with exotic creatures, traditional attire, and long-held customs. The unlikely alliance of Kumeko, a half-human/half-Kitsune (magical fox), and Kage Tatsumi, an elite samurai of the Shadow Clan and wielder of the infamous demon slayer sword, sends them on a quest involving the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers; with one trying to protect it while the other is trying to find it. In the wrong hands the power of the scroll to summon the great Kami Dragon would be devastating. Numerous adventures along the way reveal the the magnitude of evil that is also trying to obtain the missing pieces of the scroll. Little do they realize that their own faults and weaknesses may be all that saves the scroll and protects them and the country.
Shadow of the Fox is an excellent teen book that adults will greatly enjoy. The plot and descriptions are fascinating with the violence being graphic enough without being gruesome. The historical details make the story extremely realistic and transport you to another time and another place.
Julie has also created amazing characters, both Kumeko and Tatsumi, as well as a rich supporting cast. They are personable with wonderful quirks that bring humor and believability to the story. It is such an easy reading story in the sense that you are so quickly swept up into the action and adventure that you flow effortlessly from page to page. Of course, as with any good book in a new series, you are mildly frustrated when you are left hanging at the end. But, then again if you weren’t you wouldn’t be anxiously waiting for the next book!