Bite-Sized Reviews of Shadow of the Fox, The Talon Series, Misfits, and Drama

September 27, 2018 Reviews 20 ★★★★

I’ve got four reviews for you today: two YA fantasies, a MG fantasy, and a YA/MG graphic novel. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of Shadow of the Fox, The Talon Series, Misfits, and DramaShadow of The Fox by Julie Kagawa
Series: Shadow of The Fox #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 2, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 416
Narrator: Caitlin Davies, Chris Patton, MacLeod Andrews, Tristan Morris
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Some violence, Only possible budding romance)
My rating:
4 Stars

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.

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Steeped in Japanese folklore, Shadow of the Fox is sure to please anyone who’s a fan of anime or manga or any reader who loves fantastical stories based on traditional lore. The book is dual-narrated: First we have Yumeko, who is half kitsune and is constantly trying to balance her human and yokai sides. Her yokai brethren encourage her to shed her humanity, something she is loathe to do, but she also fears how humans will react if they know about her kitsune heritage. Then there’s the mysterious samurai, Tatsumi. His powerful sword that is infused with an angry and bloodthirsty demon killer who constantly threatens to overcome Tatsumi and turn him into a senseless killing machine. When these two end up on a quest together, demons attack and chaos ensues.

I really loved the characters in this book. Yumeko is confident and can often trick her way out of a bind, but she also struggles with vulnerabilities based on fear of being discovered as a kitsune. Tatsumi has been trained his whole life to be unfeeling so that his emotions will never get in the way and allow him to be overcome by the spirit within his sword. Both of them have to learn to come into their own throughout their journey. I did find the beginning of the story a little confusing, with the switching between POVs (there was a third POV at the beginning as well—I sort of wish that one had been left out), and it took me a few weeks to read the book, Even though I was enjoying it, I wasn’t feeling compelled to keep reading.

I think things really picked up once Yumeko and Tatsumi met their traveling partner, Okami, the honorless ex-samurai, and then Daisuke. These two both added a levity to the book that gave us needed lightness. I was more invested in the story once Okami was added and I think the story got more fun at that point!

Overall, this was a fantastic representation of Japanese folklore, and I’m excited to see where Kagawa goes with the story next!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Shadow of the Fox, The Talon Series, Misfits, and DramaTalon Series by Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #2
Also in this series: Talon
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 28, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Narrator: Caitlin Davies, Tristan Morris, MacLeod Andrews, Chris Patton
Length: 59 hours 15 minutes
Source: Library, Purchased
My rating:
4.5 Stars

THE DRAGONS OF TALON: Once hunted nearly to extinction, they are now poised to take over the world. 

THE ORDER OF ST. GEORGE: The legendary dragonslayers will stop at nothing to wipe dragons from the face of the earth. 

These mortal enemies are locked in secret and deadly combat, with humanity none the wiser. 

To take her rightful place in the Talon organization, young dragon Ember Hill must prove she can hide her true nature and blend in with humans. Her delight at the prospect of a summer of "normal" teen experiences is short-lived, however, once she discovers that she's also expected to train for her destined career in Talon. But a chance meeting with a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. 

As Ember struggles to accept her future, St. George soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian is tasked with hunting her down. But when faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything the Order has ingrained in him—and what he might be willing to give up to uncover the truth about dragons.

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Speaking of Kagawa, I finally had a chance to listen to Inferno, and finish up the Talon Series. I read the first book as an ARC a couple of years ago, and then ended up doing a reread via audiobook and listening to the rest. But I never ended up posting reviews for any of the other books, so I thought I’d write out my quick thoughts here:

TALON: I already posted a full review of this one, so click the link to hop over and read that one.

ROGUE: I liked this book a whole lot, but not quite as much as the first book. Most of the reason for this is because the focus of the book is on Riley. I don’t hate him, but he’s my least favorite character. I could definitely do without the love triangle—I was never really convinced of the connection between Riley and Ember, and this book didn’t win me over to his side. We also get chapters with Riley’s backstory, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t really care about the backstory all that much. I felt like we already knew everything we needed to know and those backstory chapters just took us out of the momentum of the main plot.

Having said all that, I’m still a big fan of this series, and I enjoyed the book overall. I’ve been listening to the audiobooks of these, and I think the narrators are all great for their characters.

SOLDIER: This book focused more on Garret, which automatically made it more enjoyable for me than the last one (which featured Riley more prominently). Though, I still wasn’t a huge fan of the backstory because I always just want to get back to the present.

In this installment, our MCs start to unravel the mysteries surrounding Talon and St. George and find out what the organizations’ agendas truly are. I love Garret and Ember together, and we get less of that in this book (since Garret left at the end of the previous book), but Kagawa kept the connection between them strong, even when they were apart. A new character is introduced (Jade), who brings a new dimension to the story and helps us learn even more about the dragons.

This installment has plenty of action and sleuthing and the ending is… I’m just glad I could jump straight into book four or I might have had a breakdown!

LEGION: Because of the way the last book ended, it’s practically impossible to review this book without spoilers. Let’s just say that the love triangle was finally put to rest in this book, but it might not be for the reasons you suspect.

This book focused a bit more on Dante and gave us flashbacks of Ember and Dante in school—it pretty much established the fact that I’m just not a fan of the backstory chapters in these books. I don’t feel like I learned enough to merit these full chapters. I did maybe gain a little more sympathy for Dante, but I still just can’t really understand him. Mostly, I want to shake him and tell him to wake up.

Still, this book gave us some major revelations that I didn’t see coming (though I feel like I’ve kinda sorta seen before—I still liked them, for the most part). The end of this book ratchets up the excitement and it had me eager for the final book, which I will be picking up any day now!

INFERNO: A stunning finale, this book was everything I was hoping it would be. For one thing, we lose the backstory chapters (which were always my least favorite part of the middle books) and we focus on the final battle. As expected everyone comes together against Talon in this final book, but there are some definite bumps along the way. A new romance develops (I was hoping for this one) and we get plenty of closure for everyone we care about—well, at least for everyone who survives. I mean, you can’t have an apocalyptic final battle without some loss, right? Of course, you’ll have to read to find out who’s still breathing in the end!  🙂

Overall, I loved this series. I know some people didn’t think there was enough dragon action in the first book, but trust me, if you stick around, you’ll see plenty of dragons. The series builds quite well and gives you that satisfying finish you’ve been waiting for!


Bite-Sized Reviews of Shadow of the Fox, The Talon Series, Misfits, and DramaMisfits by Jen Calonita
Series: Royal Academy Rebels #1
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on October 2, 2018
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 256
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: MG (some minor MG-level violence)
My rating:
4 Stars

A brand new series from Jen Calonita, set in the world of Fairy Tale Reform School! Not everyone born royal is meant to rule…

In the magical fairytale kingdom of Enchantasia, becoming a legendary Prince or Princess doesn't happen overnight. Enter Royal Academy, the training ground for the fairytale leaders of tomorrow!
But reluctant-future-princess and new-student Devin has some reservations about RA, especially when it comes to the Headmistress. Olivina seems obsessed with preparing students for possible villain attacks. But when Devin asks when they're going to learn how to actually rule a kingdom, Olivina becomes enraged. Something isn't right with this lady, and what Devin discovers could change the fairytale world forever…

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I’ve been meaning to check out the Fairy Tale Reform School Series for a long time because it just looks so incredibly fun, so when I saw that there was a spin-off series (Royal Academy Rebels), I thought I’d jump in and see what I’ve been missing!

As expected, this series is super light and fluffy and adorable and perfect for MG readers who love the boarding school spin on fairy tales. The MC is Devin, a reluctant royal who would prefer to be taking care of animals rather than dressing up for endless balls. She’d also much rather fight for herself than wait around for a prince to save her in a crisis. Neither of these things go over too well at the Royal Academy, though Devin does manage to pick up some allies when it becomes obvious that the princessy way of doing things isn’t always going to cut it. There are some great messages here for young girls, and there are lots of mysteries set up about the headmistress—things aren’t what they seem at the academy. But be forewarned that this is the first in a series, and there’s really no resolution at all in this book… you have to wait for future books to find out what happens to this ragtag team of misfits.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Shadow of the Fox, The Talon Series, Misfits, and DramaDrama by Raina Telgemeier, Gurihiru
Published by Graphix on September 1, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Pages: 238
Source: Purchased
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
4 Stars

PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school's production of
Moon Over Mississippi, she can't really sing. Instead she's the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she's determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn't know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

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This little gem of a graphic novel focuses on Callie’s romantic drama, but it doesn’t play out the way you’d expect for a YA romance. Callie is fun and joyful and also full of insecurities—plus, she keeps falling for the wrong boys. In other words, she’s a teenage girl. I think kids will find her incredibly relatable. And though the MC isn’t gay, there’s a central LGBT subplot to the book that shines a light on being yourself (even when you’re in the spotlight) that was really well done. Highly recommend this if you’re a fan of graphic novels!


That’s it for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think?

20 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of Shadow of the Fox, The Talon Series, Misfits, and Drama”

  1. CG @ Paper Fury

    I’m SO excited for Shadow Of The Fox!! I’m nearly certain it’s coming in a book box I’m with so I’m not ordering it yet haha but ajfkdlsa I really like diverse fantasy and I loved the two Talon books that I read too. Speaking of which….I need to finish that series.😂It’s been so long though I think I’ll need to reread.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Glad I’m not the only one who does that with series. For me, it’s Kagawa’s Eternity Cure Trilogy—I read the first two books and LOVED them, but I never read the third. Now I’ll have to do a reread (which means it takes me a millennium to get to it).

  2. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    AHHHH I’m currently reading Shadow of the Fox and I really enjoy it so far! I do agree the beginning first chapter is SUPER confusing – I felt it was more a prologue rather than the first chapter? Who knows, maybe it’ll be edited later. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    I wasn’t a huge fan of her Talon series unfortunately. I WISH I liked it as much as everyone else, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.

  3. Wendy @ Falconer's Library

    Drama is so cute! Kills me that it’s been challenged or banned so often. And I DID buy The Storm Runner for my class. Kids were clamoring for it based on Riordan’s involvement alone, and when I read the synopsis off the cover, there were a few gasps.

  4. Jen

    I need to read the Talon Series by Julie Kagawa! I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much and her final books are always heart clutching. You never know who’s actually going to make it out alive lol! Fabulous review, Nicole!

    Jen recently posted: Monthly Wrap-Up – September

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