It always makes me incredibly sad when I find that I don’t like a book featuring, in a large way, a fox. Honestly, had it not been for the fact that a main character was half-fox and the word was used in the title, I probably would not have read as much of this book as I did. I would have DNFed a long time ago. You see, I really wanted to like Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. I wanted to like it so much so that I continued reading even despite the utterly flat brooding character of Tatsumi and despite the frustrating naivete of Yumeko. And then I still read, despite the fact that I couldn’t stomach the writing, a frustrating bit of unfortunate first person point of view problems. And then, I literally could not bring myself to care about a single character other than that of the unfortunate Suki who was murdered in the first damn chapter. I suppose you could say everything went downhill once the book strayed away from her.
I think a large piece of my frustration with this lies in the flatness of the characters. There never really seemed to be a whole lot to them other than some stereotypical archetypes that they would fit into. Which, if you like that sort of thing, is fine. Me? I’ve been over the brooding arse of a protector who randomly somehow falls for the weakling girl for absolutely no reason whatsoever for a long time now. And I just did not buy in with the ridiculousness of the supposed comic relief character also existing as a reason for the broody butthead to a) realize his feelings and b) get all jealous.
And for all of you guys who think jealousy is cute, it can actually pretty unhealthy and has been portrayed unhealthily in a large number of YA novels.
The writing was hard for me to get into and while I did appreciate the variety of interesting characters from Japanese mythology, at the end of the day it wasn’t enough to save the book. The first person point of view was frustrating in that I didn’t like the characters as well as the fact that it sometimes became confusing as the characters’ voices weren’t distinct enough to consistently be able to tell them apart. The plot was an unfortunate mismatch of random adventures in the same manner that I would expect from an incredibly long and complicated video game like The Witcher rather than an actual plot for a novel. This, ultimately, was incredibly distracting.
So, I’m left feeling rather disappointed and disheartened by Shadow of the Fox. I truly do wish that I had been able to look past all it’s flaws to simply enjoy the book, but I suppose it just wasn’t to be. I didn’t like the characters, I didn’t like the romance, I didn’t like the plot, and I didn’t like the writing. The best thing in the whole novel, for me, were the Kamaitachi Sickle Weasels. Them, I enjoyed reading about.
I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.