*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This is the first book in a YA fantasy series set in a Japanese inspired world. A young half kitsune (fox) peasant girl must leave her insular life to protect a scroll that could bring about a disaster. While I enjoyed this book overall, I did have quite a few issues with it too. First of all, I really liked the setting of this book. As I mentioned earlier this is a Japanese inspired world that is inhabited by humans and yōkai (supernatural beings from Japanese folklore). The world is separated into clans, one of which is the Emperor’s own royal clan. Although I would say it lacked a little depth, the world is generally quite well written. I would have liked to have a better understanding of the history and politics of the world but at less then 400 pages this book doesn’t really have the space to have intricate world building. I found the elements of Japanese mythology interesting and it was probably my favourite thing about this book. However if you are unfamiliar with Japanese mythology and/or words then you may be a little confused at times. There is a glossary of terms at the end of the book which will be helpful to you, or you can resort to a quick Google search. I had no issues with this but it is something to be aware of going in.
I enjoyed the plot overall, although I think it lacked a little cohesion. The middle section of the book felt a lot like filler. At the beginning of the book the main task is given, but the characters partake in mini adventures along the way and these make up the majority of the book. First of all, the task must not have a time pressure and second of all it felt like a way to prolong the weak plot. Having said that, there was something about it that kept me reading and despite the flaws I did enjoy it overall. It was a quick, entertaining read and the ending set up well for the sequel. In terms of the characters, we follow three main character perspective; Yumeko, Tatsumi and Suki. The majority of the book is divided between Yumeko and Tatsumi, with Suki’s perspective sprinkled a couple of times throughout the 384 pages. I personally felt the characters lacked development but I liked the majority of them. A cast of supporting characters is introduced throughout and I enjoyed their interactions with each other. The romance is entirely predictable but it didn’t really bother me as it’s not the main focus of the book. I’m hoping that the romance will not play a central role in future books. Both the plot and the characters are quite formulaic in terms of the YA fantasy genre, but I still enjoyed the overall reading experience.
Overall I liked this introduction to this series, but I definitely had issues with it. The sequel, Soul of the World, is set to be released in June 2019. At present I am undecided whether I will continue this series. We’ll see if I’m still interested when it is released. If you enjoy YA fantasy and/or like Japanese inspired worlds then I would recommend checking this book out. Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.