Book Review: Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa #WyrdAndWonder

Summary:

notd-coverKitsune 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 devilโ€”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 existedโ€ฆuntil now.

Goodreads

Thoughts:

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.

24 thoughts on “Book Review: Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa #WyrdAndWonder

  1. Tammy says:

    I’ve heard such amazing things about this series overall, its definitely one I’d love to make time for some day. Sorry about that pesky trope, though!

  2. evelynreads1 says:

    Great review! I’m so excited to read this conclusion! Also I’m very curious to the thing that is being done at the end that you don’t like hahah!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

  3. Realms of My Mind says:

    Hahaha, I had no problem with that trope, but I get where you’re coming from. And I’ve definitely used “anime” to describe it’s feeling, it’s kind of amazing how much Kagawa captured the essence of that medium on the page. Loved this series so much!

    • waytoofantasy says:

      It’s totally a personal preference thing and I couldn’t go on my rant about it properly without spoiling the book so I just left it be haha. It really was a great series, so much fun! I cried a lot.

  4. Sammie @ The Bookwyrm's Den says:

    I still need to read this one! I don’t even know why I haven’t yet. Except I don’t know if I’m ready for tears and wails. I’m talking myself up for it still lol. Daisuke and Okame are amazing. โค I'm glad you like what she did with them in this book. That gives me hope! Ugh, I really need to get to this one soon. I'm just not ready for it to end. And with the quarantine, who can afford all the tissues? xD

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum says:

    Glad you enjoyed it! I know exactly what you mean by the ending though. I thought it was good in a bittersweet kinda way, but I can understand why some might feel cheated by it, because it wasn’t really a happily ever after in the ideal sense. I did think it was the best we could hope for, given the circumstances. At least it wasn’t like the ending of Danielle L. Jensen’s Stolen Songbird trilogy! Man, that was something else, lol…you’d mentioned you’ve enjoyed her work, but I don’t know if you’ve read the third book and what do you think? ๐Ÿ˜›

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yes, I know exactly what you mean by the best we can hope for. Sometimes I feel like…even though it would be more tragic….I just wish authors would go for it? Like, there’s no way to give this an HEA so stop trying? I guess I’m just old and grumpy about this specific trope though haha.
      I have not! I only read the first book but want to read the rest. Now I’m really curious! I did enjoy the first book (even though I went on a rant in my review about food sourcing because there is some…flimsy world building in that one lol). I must endeavor to read these soon.

  6. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    Since meeting the character of Suzume, the kitsune sidekick in the Generation V series by ML Brennan, I’ve been interested in these creatures and would love to learn more about the myth concerning them. This sounds like a good series to start with…
    Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. @lynnsbooks says:

    I only skimmed this because I’ve just started – but oh no! Why you crying!!!! EEK. And Mogsy used the word we dread – ‘bittersweet’. *head desk*
    Lynn ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    That was an awesome conclusion! I was glad this didn’t have relationship angst too. And I loved how this handled multiple romances as well. Ahh I know what you’re talking about and get why you don’t like it- fair enough! Fantastic review!

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