Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa | Book Review
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The demon Hakaimono has escaped the sword Kamigoroshi. Possessing the body of its owner, Kage Tasumi. Pushed into the back of his own mind, Tasumi must witness the atrocities Hakaimono commits with his body. Yumeko is torn between bringing the sacred scroll to the steel feather temple and freeing Tasumi. Until she and her companions receive a summons from the Shadow Clan. One they cannot refuse. Yumeko is ordered to exorcise Hakaimono or die trying.
Hakaimono emerges as a main character, taking over Tasumi’s point of view chapters. He is a vicious demon and waits for the right moment to re-emerge into the world. He is also confident in his ability to defeat any foe. However, Hakaimono’s current body isn’t impervious to harm. While he may heal quickly, the weakness of a mortal body hampers him quite a bit as the story progresses. This was a great balance to add to the story and kept his reign of power in check. It also created great moments of tension. However, Hakaimono’s taunts at Tasumi were repetitive. Any time Tasumi made his presence known, Hakaimono threatened Yumeko. Once or twice would have been sufficient to make the point. There should have been some variation in the way Tasumi was tormented. Admittedly he did not have ties to friends or family but doubting his abilities as a warrior would have been just as wounding.
Yumeko has a wonderful arc of character development in Soul of the Sword. Originally taught to hide her kitsune powers, in this novel she’s told to embrace them. Witnessing her quick thinking and use of foxfire brought much enjoyment to the story. She’s also seeing more of the world, and learning how to build relationships with her companions. I was happy to see her come out of her shell and take greater risks.
Soul of the Sword brings more culture and lore into the world. The various demons and supernatural creatures that make an appearance will keep readers invested till the end. The brightness Yumeko brings to the page is wonderfully contrasted by the darker tone Hakaimono provides. There is also a mystery surrounding a new key character. One who is watching both Yumeko and Hakaimono. Manipulating them as if they were chess pieces. As this second novel draws to an end, it promises an exciting final novel.
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