Reviews for Seven deadly shadows

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In order to save her family's shrineand the worldKira must assemble an unpredictable band of death gods to stand against a demon.Kira Fujikawa can see yokai, the demons that walk the streets of Japan, sometimes causing trouble and sometimes preoccupied with the problems of their own world. Because of this ability, her grandfather has trained her as a Shinto shrine maiden, tasked with removing evil from the world and with one day taking over the family's shrine. When a yokai raid leaves the shrine destroyed, Kira learns of a plot to resurrect an ogre king bent on defeating the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, and plunging the world into darkness. With the help of the shrine's guardian, Shiro, Kira embarks on a quest to assemble a band of shinigami, death gods who collect the spirts of the dead. Loosely based on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, all characters are Japanese, and Alameda (Pitch Dark, 2018, etc.) and Maetani (Ink and Ashes, 2015) have taken care to present Shinto as a living religion with modern-day practitioners while still building a lively supernatural world. Though more time spent developing the ensemble cast's interesting backstories would have benefitted the overall narrative, Kira is a satisfying heroine, and her personal struggles between familial expectations and loyalty to the family shrine add complexity to her journey.Fresh urban fantasy grounded in Japanese culture. (authors' note, glossary) (Fantasy. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal
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Gr 7 Up—Kira Fujikawa loves spending time at the Shinto shrine that has been in her family for generations. The daily life of caring for guests and learning from her grandfather makes her feel protected beyond the blessings she knows are within the sacred ground. However, her days in the prestigious high school she attends on scholarship are less than ideal. No matter how great her grades are, she is singled out and bullied. Although she tries hard to be honorable to her family, she cannot seem to make her two lives harmonize. Then the shrine is attacked—leaving her feeling vulnerable on every front. Can she summon the courage needed to stand up for herself, or will her family's legacy be lost forever? Alameda and Maetini's novel displays how traditional Japanese folklore can be adapted into modern stories. Set mainly in the historical landscape of Kyoto, the intense action sequences feel as if they are right out of the pages of popular manga. Its well-researched details immerse readers fully but carefully into Japanese culture. Japanese vocabulary is clearly defined; while some readers may find words that are unfamiliar, the vivid descriptions of landscapes and creatures elicit appropriate feelings of terror and excitement. This leads to a successfully created magical world. Unfortunately, the narrative suffers from the shallow interactions between the main character and everyone else in the world. This is especially true during scenes of romance, when relationships develop too quickly and awkwardly to be believable. VERDICT Purchase for collections where books on Japanese culture are popular.—DeHanza Kwong, Butte Public Library, MT

Publishers Weekly
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In this homage to Japanese pop culture, Shinto priestess Kira Fujikawa, 16, must unite a cabal of death gods and reforge an ancient sword in order to defeat the king of hell. She is aided by Shiro, a fox demon with celebrity good looks, and a colorful band of creatures who all have their own motives for joining the fight. Alameda (Pitch Dark) and Maetani (Ink and Ashes) render the backdrop with almost reverential care toward accurately depicting the sights and sounds of contemporary Japan, and Kira is a distinctly Japanese character whose sensibilities are refreshingly un-Westernized. Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox and Kat Cho’s Wicked Fox will also appreciate the vivid, sometimes gruesome, writing reminiscent of punchy anime dialogue. Unfortunately, there is little payoff in the storytelling. Deep relationships are forged within a few pages, and the characters glide through momentous events with relative ease. While the plot never lacks for pace or lively fight scenes, nor does it linger to develop the relational powder keg of duplicitous death gods and outcasts working together. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)