Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa Publication Date: June 25th, 2019 Publisher: Inkyard Press Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Warning: mild spoilers ahead
Synopsis: One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono. Now he has broken free. Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan. Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.
Thoughts: Why did I not read this book immediately?? That is the question I asked myself the moment I started reading Soul of the Sword. I was lucky enough to receive and ARC of the first book in the series and absolutely loved it, then purchased the sequel when it released and it just sat on my shelf up until a short while ago… when I absolutely devoured it. The brilliant thing that this book does, as a sequel, is that it keeps the stakes high, it elevates the characters and brings you right back into the action where you just cannot wait to see where this adventure will go next. I am not sure how Julie Kagawa does it, but she continues to place these characters into new situations and keeps the story fresh. I said this when I read Shadow of the Fox and it still proves true in the fact that while I read this series, I am able to imagine the story play out in my mind and it is pure Anime goodness. This book essentially picks up shortly after where we left off with the crazy ending of book one. Battle scars are still fresh and emotions are high to figure out which task should take precedent: 1) Keep up their journey to get their piece of the scroll to the temple or 2) Save Tatsumi. It’s a real struggle that Yumeko in particular has to deal with and I think it was done very well. Additionally, the book continues to be split up into different POVs which includes a new one: Hakaimono. This POV was particularly interesting to me because it allowed the reader to really learn the motivation and thought process of the Big Bad while still giving us insight into Tatsumi’s struggle. The only chapters that fell a bit flat for me were Suki’s but I understand the purpose behind them and they were short and did not make up many of the chapters. Kagawa was also able to add new aspects to the world in a very cool way that I hope we get to see more of but I don’t want to delve into for fear of being too spoilery. There is a character that we get to see a little bit more of as well and I am fairly certain I know his purpose and have a feeling I won’t be overly surprised when it - most likely - will be uncovered in the next book but that doesn’t really deter me. I know, it’s shocking that I won’t be disappointed by knowing a twist before it’s discovered by the characters but I don’t even care in this case because I have SO much fun with this series. If you are looking for a unique adventure series that is inspired by the history and lore of Japan, particularly if you are a fan of Anime, then I could not recommend this more. I cannot wait to see how everything comes together in the final book of this trilogy, Night of the Dragon.