Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.
Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.
But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.
Oh wow, what a conclusion. On the one hand, I really appreciate where this series went and it was a satisfying wrap up. On the other hand, this has one of my biggest trope dislikes! Even so, the book was a good one–tears were shed and wails were wailed, but I came away a (mostly) happy reader. Slight spoilers for earlier books in the series ahead so proceed with caution.
Let’s start with all of the positives, because there are a lot of them! If you’ve been reading the series at all then you know how book two ended and were probably, like me, highly anticipating this final volume. I went into this book thinking there would be a ton of angsty stuff right off the bat due to moving forward from that point, but I’m happy to say that there wasn’t. Yumeko’s positive attitude about everything just pushed right past any obstacles in the way and that’s one of the reasons I love her so much. Don’t worry (?!), there’s plenty of other things to cry about in this book, but thankfully, relationship angst isn’t one of them. We get to see Yumeko and Tatsumi working together here and being able to finally show their love for one another. This was long awaited for and there was plenty of other angst in the other books so I’m glad we got to enjoy this love story here without a bunch of drama (well…….mostly).
Speaking of love stories, Tatsumi and Yumeko aren’t the only love story in this book! Multiple romances is always like a bonus for me. I really enjoyed the story of Daisuke and Okame as well. In fact, all of the characters have fantastic story arcs here. I remember reading some other books by Kagawa years ago and you can tell how far she’s come when you compare her earlier work to this series–the character arcs here are close to perfect and the characters overall are written with much more depth and nuance.
Because this series has such an ‘anime’ feel to it (I don’t know how else to say it) I did feel like the story was just a little bit predictable in how things played out in the end. On the one hand, kudos for going there, especially in a YA novel. On the other hand, this all felt just a little bit familiar. I found myself exclaiming at one point ‘oh no, this is going to be Fushigi Yuugi all over again, isn’t it?? NOOOOOO!’ but as always with storytelling it’s not so much the destination as it is the journey and this book was a joy to read, even while it was busy breaking my heart. The characters are really the heart of the story here and I really came to love all of them over the course of the series. It was tough to part ways with them in this final book.
Now, for my super specific pet peeve. Well, maybe not because I can’t talk about it without spoilers! But there’s one very specific device that is used at the end of this book in order to give it a sort of ‘happily ever after’ ending and I hate that trope SO MUCH. This is a very personal thing and I’m probably in the minority here. It always feels like SUCH a cheat. Because it is but it isn’t? I’m being vague but those of you who have read this will probably know what I’m talking about and feel free to debate me in the comments. 😉
Despite my own irritation at that one tiny thing that put a bump in the ending for me, I really loved this book and thought it was a great conclusion to the series. If anyone needs me I’ll be crying alone in the corner. 4/5 stars.