Title: Seven Deadly Shadows
Authors: Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani
Release Date: January 28th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.
But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.
Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.
With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.
A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels for young people. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award and hailed as a “standout in the genre” by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novel, PITCH DARK (Spring 2017), is a genre-blending science fiction/horror novel in the vein of Ridley Scott’s 1979 film ALIEN.
Courtney holds a B.A. in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by the talented John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five pound cat with a giant personality.
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Valynne E. Maetani (pronounced Vuh-lin Mah-eh-tah-nee) grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities. Currently, she is a full-time writer. She is a member of the We Need Diverse Books team and is dedicated to promoting diversity in children’s literature because every child should grow up believing his or her story deserves to be told. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013, a Junior Library Guild 2015 selection, and Best Fiction Book in Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Arts Award for 2015. She lives in Salt Lake City.
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“I am a girl surrounded by monsters and ghosts from an ancient world.”
I really enjoyed the Japanese folklore and how the authors used that history and mythology to create a truly compelling story. I could see how much research went into this book and that honestly made my heart soar because there’s times where I had to do some research on books that depict mythology. But I didn’t have to do that with Seven Deadly Shadows. The authors really went all out with this book and I loved that.
With that being said, the mythology in this book is exceptional. Each page, each character, is steeped in Japanese mythology. I learned so much about Japanese folklore and culture from this story – I was unfamiliar with just how many demons and death gods are in this mythology, but not anymore. These co-authors truly created a story with an immersive world and enthralling characters.
“‘I’m not ashamed of who I am….Not anymore.'”
Kira is an exceptional character. She’s wonderfully flawed and strong and brave. Her character development throughout the story is phenomenal; her growth isn’t all at once but over the course of this entire story. Kira is also deeply devoted to her family, which is why it’s so devastating when her family shrine is attacked. She will do anything for her family and anything to protect them, which is why she teams up with Shiro to help right the wrongs of this ancient world.
I liked Shiro as a character; he’s fun and brings a certain light to this dark tale. I did feel the romance was a tad bit too fast, but nonetheless, I thought both characters worked well together and added to the overall plot. Actually, all of the secondary characters made the story interesting and definitely helped with Kira’s character development. Each character played a role and it was done beautifully.
“I suppose even death looks beautiful, sometimes. But its beauty is a lie.”
The atmosphere of this book was amazing. There was never a point where the story and world felt too dark. But I did enjoy how, as the reader, I could feel when a demon was about to greet Kira and her friends. I liked how the authors added a slight darkness to those scenes. The overall writing of this story is beautiful. I couldn’t tell the difference between which author wrote what scene, and that is honestly brilliant. I love not knowing the authors’ writing styles (though I do try to figure them out), so Seven Deadly Shadows became an even more fun book to me.
If you’re a huge anime fan, then I think you will definitely enjoy this book. I haven’t watched anime in years (I need to fix that, for sure, after reading this book), but reading Seven Deadly Shadows reminded me of why I loved watching anime and reading manga. This book provided me with teen memories I haven’t reminisced about in years, and I loved that added touch because it made the story more personal to me.
“He disappears into the shadows, leaving me to wonder what a death god might fear.”
All in all, Seven Deadly Shadows was a fun read filled to the brim with Japanese mythology and demons. If these two authors decide to write another book together, you best believe I will be buying it the day the book comes out.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Check out the amazing bloggers on this book tour!
Grand Prize: Win a signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, a signed copy of Courtney Alameda’s SHUTTER, and a signed copy of Valynne Maetani’s INK AND ASHES; anime portraits of Kira and Shiro; a stuffed fox omamori charm from the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Japan; an origami fox hand-folded by Valynne Maetani; a yokai mini sticker sheet; and an assortment of Japanese Kit Kats (not pictured) [INT]
Second Prize: Win (1) of (2) A signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS with anime portraits of Kira and Shiro (INT)
Starts: 28th January 2020
Ends: 11th February 2020
Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!