Author: Julie Kagawa
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
While I did truly like this book, I found some parts of it to be slow and lacking interest for me. I struggled to connect with the characters which made it hard to really care about what happened to them, and the MULTIPLE points of view really threw me for a loop (especially because I listened to this on audiobook and was not expecting it).
I do think this was a good story. The Japanese inspired setting and culture was my absolute favorite part. I’m ashamed to admit I don’t know much about Japanese culture but I loved learning about different aspects of it from this story! There were just times when the story was too slow for me. There was a lot of traveling and wandering through forests that I can barely remember because I just didn’t care about the journey. I wanted them to reach their destination prior to 80% into the book and have more action along the way. There was action throughout the story but things were resolved so quickly it was over before it felt like it really began. I just wish the action and pacing of the story had flowed a little smoother so there weren’t large sections of the book that I just began to tune out because it felt like it wasn’t important to the story.
Speaking of tuning out let’s chat about the audiobook. I’m sure I would have enjoyed this story 10x more had I read the physical book. For some reason the narrators just didn’t do it for me. Specifically, the fact that there was no less than 3 POV and each one had a different narrator but several sounded similar so it was difficult sometimes to figure out who’s POV it was until more context was given. I also didn’t really like the narrator for Kage Tatsumi, he was at times very soft spoken which led to me turning the volume up and then as soon as it switched narrators it was screaming at me.
As for the characters, I just don’t know. Yumeko was my favorite because she is such a sweetheart and so incredibly naive, sometimes I couldn’t help but shake my head at her lack of knowledge of the outside world! I enjoyed the fact that throughout this story she sees how the world truly is and she learns and grows from it, whether its demons attacking her and Kage or drunken dishonored Samurai pestering her and showing her how cruel the world can be. Kage Tatsumi on the other hand was fairly confusing to me. I know he’s supposed to be all mysterious and solemn but for some reason I just couldn’t connect with him. Maybe because we never got to see his true personality?
Overall I do think this was a good story, I just wish I liked the characters more and that the pacing was a little more on par to keep my interest longer. I liked it enough to continue on though with Soul of the Sword when it releases in June!