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Soul of the Sword
Soul of the Sword
Soul of the Sword
Ebook468 pages8 hours

Soul of the Sword

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



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About this ebook

In this YA fantasy adventure by a New York Times–bestselling author, a shapeshifter must stop a demon from using a dragon to destroy the world.

One thousand years ago, a wish was made, and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. A weapon powerful enough to seal away the formidable demon Hakaimono. Now he has broken free . . .

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: take her piece of the ancient and powerful Scroll of a Thousand Prayers to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the great Kami Dragon, who will grant one wish to whomever holds the scroll. But she has a new enemy now, more dangerous than any she has yet faced. The demon Hakaimono is free at last, and he has possessed the very person Yumeko trusted to protect her—Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has one goal: break the curse of the sword and set himself free to rain chaos and destruction over the land forevermore. To do so, he will need the scroll. And Yumeko is the only one standing in his way.

Books in the Shadow of the Fox trilogy:

Shadow of the Fox

Soul of the Sword

Night of the Dragon

Praise for Shadow of the Fox

“One of my all-time favorite fantasy novels! I’m in love with this book, its characters, its worldbuilding!” —Ellen Oh, author of the Prophecy and Spirit Hunters series

“Kagawa uses elements of Japanese mythology and folklore to spin an epic yarn . . . readers will be drawn into the world of Kagawa’s first Japan-based fantasy; with its engaging action scenes and the cliffhanger ending, they will look forward to the next volume. Action-packed adventure.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Kagawa’s series starter never disappoints; she’s a vet at putting realistic characters within believable worlds, here doused in Japanese folklore.” —Booklist
Release dateJun 18, 2019
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Julie Kagawa

Born in Sacramento, CA, Julie Kagawa moved to Hawaii at the age of nine. There she learned many things; how to bodyboard, that teachers scream when you put centipedes in their desks, and that writing stories in math class is a great way to kill time. Her teachers were glad to see her graduate. Julie now lives is Louisville, KY with her husband and furkids. She is the international and NYT bestselling author of The Iron Fey series. Visit her at juliekagawa.com.

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Rating: 4.026315789473684 out of 5 stars

38 ratings7 reviews

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  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Slightly disappointed with this 1. The 1st book wowed me like no other. I was eager to jump into this 1 & binge read the whole series. But, that was not to be. I liked the story. Though the bk was action packed & well paced throughout, it was nothing new, hence it was slightly boring in some places. I cudn't connect with the characters as well, which is surprising as this is the 2nd bk & we are sppsd to be invested. I especially thought the 2nd romantic pair was a distraction. Their romance felt forced & shallow. Now, am not sure abt the 3rd book in the series. 1st book was awsm, 2nd bk meh! Is the 3rd 1 worth the time?
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    More fun than the first, IMO. There’s a lot of gore and a bit of angst, but I’m still inclined to call this lighthearted. I enjoyed the ending, and the cleverness of the final battle.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    “In the best stories, the heroes always give their lives, for honor, duty, sacrifice and the glory of the empire. Anything less and it is not much of a story at all.”Picking up where the last book left off, ‘Soul of the Sword’ continues the adventure of our odd little group: Yumeko, a half kitsune; Tatsumi, a ninja elite and demon slayer; Okame, a ronin, Daisuke, a lord; and a couple more added to the mix.What I have loved, loved! So far is the diversity and backgrounds of the characters. We are introduced to this strange band in the first book, and in this book you can start to see how their adventure and the people they are with are changing them, little by little.Yumeko is learning more about the world outside of the monastery she grew up in. Tatsumi, who was trained to be an emotionless warrior, is starting to see more in the kitsune he’s been following around and starts to question himself. A ronin ‘dog’ and a lord even start seeing each other in a new light. It is so satisfying watching how these characters are developing around each other.In this book we see less action than the first book, but there’s still plenty of it; the plot mostly focusing on character backstories and the journey. Really, we still have Kage assassins and a very angry demon in a sword, not to mention an army of youkai forming and blood mages. It’s more than enough to keep me sitting on the edge till the last page.Overall, Soul of the Sword is a yes. Just, YES. The Japanese lore, anime/manga style story, and all the lovable characters are a big YES.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    3.5* rounded up for this audiobook edition due to the excellent narration.This 2nd book in the Shadow of the Fox trilogy was engrossing but I didn't much care for the ending. I guess that I will have to read the final book to see how it all turns out!
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

    Julie Kagawa never fails to surprise me! I was completely blown away by the events that unfold in Soul of the Sword, and was disappointed when the story reached its conclusion. Thankfully, there's going to be a third book! I cannot wait to see how this new group dynamic is going to work, and which souls will be triumphant in the end. ;)

    I've had a feeling about Seigetsu from the beginning, and while nothing was confirmed, I do think my suspicions were correct. However, he's still an enigma, and I'm excited to see what his role is in all of this. He's clearly had a hand in everything that's happened, although we don't know why he's so invested in the events of this story. I enjoyed his companion, Taka, and would love to know more about how that partnership/friendship started.

    There are so many wonderful characters in this book! I've really enjoyed learning more about each of them, and seeing how their relationships have developed over time. They've all grown close as a group and as friends, but love is in the air... and it's an amazing, heartwarming romance. I swooned underneath that tree with them, and really wish Yumeko had stuck around longer! Haha!

    I'm sad Tatsumi didn't have a larger role in Soul of the Sword (for obvious reasons if you've read the first book), but did enjoy learning more about his past and how he became the Kage demonslayer. His upbringing had been rigorous and challenging before being chosen to weild Kamigoroshi. Once he was selected for that...ugh. It was interesting to see what aspects of himself he'd chosen to lock away, and to understand how hard it had been for him to keep Hakaimono under control.

    I adore Yumeko and her inability to understand most metaphors. She's determined and fiercely protective of her friends. She wouldn't risk their lives for anything, and frequently puts herself in danger to lend a helping hand. Reika is a maternal presence, and you can tell she really cares for the kitsune and the rest of their group. Chu is amazing even though he doesn't speak, and resembles a dog most of the time. Okame is hilarious and adds humor to the story. Everyone else is pretty serious, but he chooses to be obstinate on principal, even at the expense of others. However, he's a loyal friend that frequently puts himself down because he doesn't think he's worth very much. Daisuke is our noble, although he never acts like he's better than anyone else. He sees everyone as equals and looks forward to testing his skills against demons and humans alike. He wants to die with honor, which means on his feet and in the throes of battle (despite that being what he wants, I'd like for him to stay alive indefinitely).

    Julie shows us more of the world she's created, and Iwagoto is a beautifully vivid and complex place. There are multiple clans and territories, but we've only traversed a few of them as the characters try to reach the Steel Feather Temple. The Shadow Clan's castle was both unique and fascinating, although I wish they'd encountered more issues within its walls during their visit (it's supposed to be impossible to navigate, but they didn't seem to have too much trouble). I hope we get to experience more of this world in the next book, although I'm worried the group is going to be too distracted to enjoy their surroundings.

    I really liked the relationship between Tatsumi and Hakaimono. They're enemies, but it's so much more complicated than that. I can't really say more without spoiling what happens in this book, but I'm really curious about their situation and how it's going to play out. There are so many moving parts in this story! I have no idea how the author manages to keep track of all the different pieces. I briefly felt bad for Hakaimono, it was really a flicker of fear on his behalf, because the Oni has been suffering for centuries. It takes skill to make me feel concern for something that is wholly evil.

    Suki has been with us from the beginning, although her story has been mostly sad. I'm not sure what happened to her at the end of this book, but I have a feeling she still has a role to play in the outcome of this story.

    Shadow of the Fox was one of my favorite reads last year, and Soul of the Sword is already one of the best books I've read this year. Julie Kagawa is truly an artist, and she paints a rich and vibrant world with authentic and endearing characters. I want all of them to get a happy ending when this is over, but I don't know if Kagawa will be so kind...
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Kitsune saga unfolds!Taking up from where Shadow of the Fox left off, the quest continues with Yumeko our heroine Kitsune shapeshifter having to take part of the ancient and mysterious scroll to a temple of the Thousand Prayers to the Steel Feather.Being chased by the released demon Hakaimono, and looking for protection from a compromised companion, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan, leaves a lot to be desired and the way is full of pitfalls.Another wonderful tale from Kagawa in this unusual and exciting series.A Harlequin TEEN ARC via NetGalley
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa is the second book in the Shadow of the Fox series and in my opinion even better than the first book. Yumeko and her plucky band of hero's continue their journey to save the scrolls before the enemy can get them all. This story is beautifully written and so descriptive you easily loose yourself in this amazing story taken from Japanese mythology. I cannot wait to read the third book since this one leaves with a huge cliffhanger that truly leaves you on the edge of your seat. Definitely one of the most original series I've ever read.

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Soul of the Sword - Julie Kagawa




One thousand years ago

His throat was raw from screaming prayers into the wind.

The storm raged around him, beating the cliffs and sending sprays of ocean water crashing against the rock. The night was pitch-black, his drenched clothes were icy cold, and he could barely hear himself over the howl of the wind and the roar of the sea. Still, he kept chanting, the scroll clutched tight in shaking hands, the lantern flickering wildly at his feet. His vision blurred from salt spray and tears, but his voice never wavered as he shouted every line on the crumpled parchment as if it was a challenge to the gods themselves.

Crying out the final prayer, letting the wind tear it from his lips and fling it over the ocean, he collapsed to his knees on the stones. Gasping, he bowed his head, his arms falling limply to his sides, the opened scroll fluttering in his grasp.

For several desperate, pounding heartbeats, he knelt there, alone. The storm bellowed around him, slashing and clawing with foamy talons. His wounds, sustained from fighting a demon horde to reach this place, throbbed. Blood seeped down his chest and arms and over the scroll, staining the parchment pink.

Many yards out to sea, the ocean stirred. Waves surged and roiled, and the surface of the water began to lift as if something monstrous was shifting just below.

With an explosion of spray and the howl of a god, an enormous dark shape rose out of the depths and coiled up into the night. Lightning flashed, illuminating massive horns, fangs and glimmering scales the color of the tide. A rippling mane ran down the length of the creature’s back, and a pair of whiskers as long as a ship writhed and fluttered in the wind as the Great Dragon curled in the sky, flowing in and out of the clouds. A pair of eyes like glowing moons peered down at the tiny figure below, and a perfect, iridescent pearl shone like a star in the center of its forehead. With the rumble of an approaching tsunami, the kami spoke.

Who summons me?

Clenching his jaw, the man lifted his head. His heart trembled with the knowledge that he should not gaze so boldly upon a god, the Harbinger of Change himself, but the despair and hate-sickness deep in his soul drowned out any other emotion. Swallowing the pain from a throat raw from screaming, he raised his voice.

I am Kage Hirotaka, son of Kage Shigetomo, and I am the mortal who has called upon the power of the Dragon’s prayer. His thin, raspy voice faded into the wind, but the huge creature cocked its head, listening. Its inhuman gaze, carrying the wisdom of eternity, met his own, and he suddenly felt as if he were falling into a bottomless pit.

The warrior placed his hands on the ground before him and bowed, touching his forehead to the rough stone, feeling the gaze of the Dragon on his back. Great Kami, he whispered, by my right as scroll bearer, on this night, the thousandth year after Kage Hanako made her wish upon the scroll, I humbly ask that you grant my heart’s desire.

Once more, a Kage calls upon me. The deep, thunderous voice sounded neither amused nor surprised. Once more, the Shadow Clan toys with darkness and holds the fate of the realm in their hands. So be it. Lightning flashed and peals of thunder shook the clouds, but the Great Dragon’s voice rose above it all. Kage Hirotaka, son of Kage Shigetomo, bearer of the Dragon scroll, what is your heart’s desire? What wish would you see come to pass?


The word was barely audible, but the air seemed to still as he spoke it. My family was killed by a demon, the warrior went on, slowly sitting up. It slaughtered everyone. My men and servants were strewn from one end of the house to the other. My wife...my children...it didn’t even leave anything to bury. He closed his eyes, trembling with grief and rage. I couldn’t save them, he whispered. I came home to a massacre.

The cold, indifferent observer waiting in the clouds said nothing. The warrior’s hand strayed to the sword at his belt, and his fingers curled around the sheath. I don’t want it dead, he rasped, his voice choked with hate. Not by a simple wish. I will kill the monster myself, drive my sword into its black heart to avenge my clan, my family, my wife. His voice quavered, and the knuckles wrapped around his sword turned white. But when it dies, I don’t want its spirit to return to Jigoku. I want to trap it here, in this realm. To know pain and rage and helplessness. To understand there is no relief, no way for it to return as the demon it was. The warrior bared his teeth. I want it to suffer. For eternity. That is my wish.

Overhead, the Great Kami peered down through the storm, lightning flashing off its blue-black scales. Once spoken, it rumbled, its voice as impassive as ever, there is no going back. It tilted its head, those endlessly long whiskers fluttering in the wind. Are you certain this is your heart’s desire, mortal?


Thunder growled, and the wind intensified, shrieking as it beat against the warrior and the rock. The Dragon seemed to fade into the storm until only its eyes and a glimmering gem shone through the darkness. Then they, too, disappeared into the black, as the clouds swirled faster, faster, until they resembled a great whirlpool in the sky.

A blinding streak of white descended from above, striking the center of the rock, mere feet from where the warrior knelt. The samurai flinched and shielded his face as stone shards flew everywhere, cutting his flesh where they hit. When the brightness faded, he peered up and squinted painfully as blood and water ran into his eyes. For a moment, he could make out only a thin, bright shimmer against the darkness. Then his eyes widened, and he stared in awe at what the lightning bolt had left behind.

A sword stood upright in a smoking crater, the point jammed into the stone, its blade gleaming against the darkness. An almost hungry power pulsed from the sword, as if it were alive.

His wounds forgotten, the Kage samurai rose and walked on shaky legs to the weapon, which glowed faintly against the black, as if fed by its own inner light.

It is done. The booming statement held the finality of death, of a sword cutting the life from a body. Though the mighty serpent had nearly faded once more into legend, its voice echoed through the storm. Let it be known, the Wish of this era has been spoken, and the winds of change have shifted their path. Let no mortal call upon the power of the scroll for another thousand years. If this realm survives what is to come.

Wait! Great Kami, what should I call it? The warrior reached out and touched the sword hilt, feeling a tremor race up his arm. Does it have a name?

The warrior felt the Dragon slide from the world like an eel slipping through a net, returning to its kingdom deep below the waves. One last rumble of thunder rolled out to sea, and on the echo of the wind, he heard the kami’s final word.


Kage Hirotaka stood alone on the bleak platform of rock, wind and spray still whipping around him, and felt a savage smile cross his face. Kamigoroshi.





Silence fell as Master Jiro finished his tale.

That demon, I said, as the priest reached for a wooden pipe sitting next to the firepit. The one that killed Hirotaka’s family. Was it...

Master Jiro nodded and stuck the end of the pipe into his mouth. Hakaimono.

I shivered, and around the campfire, the rest of the party looked solemn. We had taken shelter beside a trickling brook, surrounded by shaggy pines and towering redwoods, and the air was tinged with sap and the slight hint of frost, as we were still very close to the mountains that bordered Sky Clan territory. Summer was ending, and the days were growing cool as autumn took its place.

Okame sat against a mossy redwood, gazing into the shadows with his back against the trunk and one foot planted on a root. Firelight washed over him, accenting his lean, lanky form, reddish-brown hair pulled into a tail and narrow face uncharacteristically grim. The normally cheerful, outspoken ronin was quiet as he stared over the riverbed, his eyes dark.

So, Kamigoroshi came into existence through the Dragon’s Wish, Taiyo Daisuke mused. The Sun Clan noble sat cross-legged against a log and wore an expression of stoic serenity. Across the fire, Reika shot him an exasperated look. The noble’s arms were wrapped in bandages, and strips of bloody cloth peeked from under his robe, mementos from our last terrible battle. He should not be up, Reika had scolded earlier this evening. He should be lying down, resting, before he tore open the wounds she had spent the night stitching closed. But Daisuke insisted he was fine. Even with his once beautiful kimono torn and filthy, his skin pale and his long, silvery-white hair hanging limply down his back, he emanated poise and elegance.

Yes, Master Jiro confirmed. "Because Hirotaka wanted revenge against the oni that killed his family and the woman he loved. A way not only to destroy the demon but to make it suffer, to know pain and rage and helplessness. He got his wish. Not long after summoning the Dragon, Kage Hirotaka faced Hakaimono on the field of battle and, after a terrible struggle that nearly wiped out a village, managed to slay the demon. But instead of banishing the oni back to Jigoku, Kamigoroshi sealed the oni’s soul within the blade, trapping it for eternity.

Unfortunately, Master Jiro went on, that was the beginning of the Kage’s downfall. The demon drove Hirotaka mad. It did not possess him—perhaps its influence was still too weak, or perhaps it did not know it could do such a thing yet. But, little by little, it broke down Hirotaka’s resolve, using his lingering rage and grief to overwhelm him. Until, one night, when Hirotaka finally lost himself and changed the course of the Kage forever.

Daisuke stirred, realization crossing his fac