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.
I had mixed feelings about the first book in this series. While I enjoyed it, I don’t remember being thrilled with it. However, I really enjoyed the second one and I think I got to know the characters better and it was nice seeing some character development in this one.
I honestly think I should have gone and reread the first book before reading this one because I couldn’t remember a lot very well and had trouble keeping up with some of the events they brought up.
Julie Kagawa has always done a great job with world building and this book was no exception. I loved the Japanese fantasy setting and thought that a lot of it was very believable.
I loved that we got a more in-depth look at some of the clans and I enjoyed seeing more of the Kage clan.
Kagawa does a great job at descriptive world building and that’s something I really need to work on in my own writing. I like that she incorporates Japanese into the story although some of the explanations I think get a little redundant or are needed more often throughout the story.
I thought it was really interesting we find out the true nature of the kage leader and the truth behind her immortality. I find it fascinating that more people didn’t question her immortality.
As usual, I loved seeing the yokai mentioned in this book and how they functioned in the world. I saw the Tokyo museum’s exhibit on Japanese Yokai and so seeing those come to life within the story was great.
I do think that Kagawa would benefit from including pictures or references to what the yokai look like because they are actually really specific to Japanese folklore. I’m not sure how many people realize that she didn’t make them up or not.
But regardless, I really enjoyed seeing them.
First off I found it so interesting that kagawa chose to continue “Tatsumi’s” POV, but from the the villain’s POV. However I thought at time his POV was somewhat simplistic.
I think it came off this way because he is a demon and supposed to be an embodiment of evil. He’s supposed to be one dimensional because he just cares about causing destruction and chaos.
I thought it was nice to see that he also had to fight off other demons as well. Just because he’s the First Oni Lord doesn’t mean every other yokai and demon are automatically on his side as well.
I’m interested to see how she will write Tatsumi’s POV in the next book without saying any spoilers.
I think we saw Yumeko grow a lot more as a character in this book vs the last one. I thought she was almost too naive in the last book but I thought this one she really started to come into her own more.
I enjoyed seeing her get to use her powers more often and use them to her advantage. I’m interested in knowing what her sources for kitsunes powers are because it was interesting to see what Yumeko could use and what she couldn’t according to Japanese folklore.
Speaking of kitsune, I loved the addition of the mysterious fox and what his role in the story ends up being. I’m curious to know if he is a relative of Yumeko as well and if we ever find out who her parents actually are.
Then I loved the romance between Okame and Daisuke. I thought they didn’t have a lot of character development in the story other than this but I thought it was a great detail to read. I’ve actually read some historical references to gay love between samurai so it actually isn’t too far off the mark historically. I really enjoy seeing more LGBTQ+ representation in fantasy and young adult literature.
I loved the priestess Reika that she’s the force keeping everyone on the right path. However I couldn’t remember why they needed to get Master Jiro in the first story and I thought he was a little useless in this particular book without giving it too much away.
I also wasn’t expecting one of the guardian dogs to disappear half way through the story and totally glazed over that part. So towards the ending, I was like…wait…where is the other dog? And had to go back and reread some bits.
The Plot – Dialogue
I think Kagawa carried over the plot well from the first book although since it’s been a while since I read the first one, there were moments I couldn’t remember very well. I think it was easy to follow and I couldn’t find a lot of plot holes.
I do think they spent an awfully long time in the Kage lands and there were moments were I skipped over sections. In particular I skipped over a long dialogue in between Okame and Daisuke between it dragged on for so many pages.
The characters I think all had a specific way of talking that made it easy to follow who was saying what. Sometimes I think characters sound too much alike and then I get lost in conversations.
The ending I think was really great and I loved seeing the climax. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to end the way it did. I also think the way she wrote about Yumeko in this section was really awesome and even I wasn’t expecting it.
I’m rating this at 4 1/2 stars because it was a lot better than the first book although I think there is room for improvement in the final book. I’ll be looking forward to it being released next year and plan on getting a copy when I can.
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