Kitsune: A Little Mermaid Retelling (Tales of Akatsuki #1)
This is an interesting and fun introduction to Andrews’ fantastical ancient Japan where Yokai such as trickster foxes, Dragons, witches, boar-headed guardians of the forest, and okami-wolves live secretly alongside the usual human lords and warriors.
There is definitely an emphasis on the fantastical. And Andrews throughs her own spin on the Yokai hierarchy, with main character Rin part of a Dragon Lord’s service one of her enemies, Naoki, part of the guardian of the forest’s retinue. The magic is usually transformational, strength and “sending out spiritual awareness” while the actual curses and magic are interestingly mostly done by a human witch who causes the most trouble in this story.
I have to admit, I got a little lost as to whom the witch might be helping and whom she might be harming. She ends up appearing to almost all the main characters and nudges them on one path or another. I also got a bit mixed up in the second half of the book because we’re introduced to like four or five love-pairings. We don’t spend enough time with any of them, except for Rin, the Kitsune main character, to really get to know them so I felt a little lost at times.
I enjoyed the first half of the book more that focused alot more on the love triangle of Rin, cursed into speechlessness and sent to sabotage the human Lord, Hikaru’s, treaty with another powerful family for reasons we never end up finding out, Hikaru the already-married human lord, and Shin, the okami friend of Rin who secretly loves her. Watching them interact was fun. The world is believable enough as a fantastical Japan, sometimes the details (such as Hikaru’s brother’s name Hotaru, which could be a legit samurai name but not one I’m familiar with) were more on the imaginative side. But that’s not an issue with enjoying the story.
But then we get a whole mess of other characters I hadn’t grown to love yet, and as I mentioned above, that got confusing after a while. And part of that confusion might just be a personal prejudice of my own against multiple POV jumping. I don’t mind a few jumps between two or three, but in order for me to really enjoy a story, I want to spend time feeling things from the main characters’ perspectives. This one had us jumping into the heads of many of the main couples, so again, not necessarily something that other people would mind.
If you are a manga/anime lover, or enjoy Japanese mythology from an entertainment aspect, you’ll like this story.