*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
This was a great sequel to the first book in the series! This one had a somewhat darker tone than the first book, but that was to be expected after how that one ended. It still managed to keep some of the fun of the first one though, which was a pleasant surprise.
The plot continued on where the last one left off. Without spoiling anything for either book, I can say the characters were still on their mission, but this time they had another goal as well and the stakes were upped. This one had less of that quirky road trip feel, and it flowed a little more smoothly than the first since it didn’t have those isolated side adventures (not that I minded that anyway).
Once again though, it was the characters and the relationships among them that were my favorite thing! These characters are so fun and lovable. Yumeko was more aware of the world in this one, but she still had some innocence and a big heart. I love her. Tatsumi wasn’t in this one as much as he was in the first, and yet I still found myself feeling worse and worse for him the more I learned about him and his past. I want a happy ending for him so badly. Okame, Daisuke, and Reika were all so loyal to not only the mission to deliver the scroll but also to Yumeko. And they were their usual snarky, eccentric, stern selves, in that order. There were also a couple other characters who were either new or became a bit more important to the story this time. I’ll admit I didn’t enjoy the other two POVs in the book as much as I enjoyed Yumeko’s, but her POV was the main one, so it wasn’t a big deal.
There was even an unexpected supporting character romance plotline that added some emotion. (And I appreciated that the author found a way to show it to the reader without adding any extra POVs.) It was still the interactions between Yumeko and Tatsumi that got me the most though because no one has ever cared about Tatsumi before, no one has ever shown him love, this poor boy. The non-romancey interactions between the characters were sweet and fun too though, even the way Okame and Reika constantly antagonized each other.
And just in case anyone hasn’t read the first book and doesn’t realize, these books are set in a Japanese-inspired high fantasy world, full of yokai and demons and interesting creatures! We even got to see more of Yumeko’s kitsune magic in this one, which was cool.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with these lovable characters, some more interesting things have happened, and I look forward to seeing what will happen next!
Fans of Book 1 in Julie Kagawa's Shadow of the Fox series. Anyone who likes Japanese mythology and culture, lots of supernatural creatures, lovable and quirky characters, and stories that balance the serious stuff with a lot of fun.