YA-review: Fox-Hat and Neko by August Li

Fox-Hat and Neko is a young adult fantasy book written by author August Li and published by Harmony Ink. It’s a fantasy story that has this manga-esque feeling to it. It’s very much a coming of age story along with adventure in this mix. Fox-Hat and Neko is a story I enjoyed reading and I hope I can convince you of why in this review.

The story is about Tsukino Ayumu, who moves to a small fishing village, Yuuyake, to live with his grandfather. Despite the change of scenery he doesn’t expect his live to change as much, but oh boy does it ever! Once in Yuuyake he makes friends with Ikehara Haruki and Shizuka and Chou. In Yuuyake he also learns of the existence of the spirit world, a dream world he has to learn how to navigate along with the normal teenage dangers, such as finding out who you are and what you want to be and dating.

The book comes with some beautiful illustrations that make the story come to life and gives an even better view of Ayumu’s word and the spirit world. I loved how beautiful they looked.

The author did a wonderful job in conveying the world of Japan and the balance between Ayumu and his friends and their story without it being too much. There are some parts that feel a bit like an info-dump, but at the same time I felt it had to be done to fully understand the story. My guess is that some readers won’t mind this, while others do.

The fantasy elements and the dream world were well crafted even though at times I felt it hard to distinguish between the dream sequence and the story itself

Fox-Hat and Neko is a tale of magic and adventure, not so much romance though there are hints. It’s a story with a message and a story about growth as all the characters in the book undergo change and become more than they are at the beginning.

It’s hard to convey why you should read this story. It’s certainly not for everyone, but it has some beautiful elements of the kitsune and cat demons. There is the culture of Japan, the fantasy element and spirit world and just… okay you get the idea, go read it for yourself and you’ll see!

Fox-Hat and Neko Book Cover Fox-Hat and Neko
August Li
Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Drama
Harmony Ink PRess
July 16, 2015
340
A copy was provided by the author

Tokyo high school student Tsukino Ayumu never wanted to stand out. He’s always been content to run at the middle of the pack and go unnoticed, and he doesn’t expect much to change when he moves to the small fishing village of Yuuyake to live with his grandfather.

 

In Yuuyake, Ayumu makes his first real friend in Ikehara Haruki and forges close ties with two girls, Shizuka and Chou. Together, the four friends muddle through the messy world of dating and relationships while trying to succeed in school and prepare for the world they’ll enter when it ends. Fate has other plans for them, though, and Ayumu in particular, as an invisible threat targets the village’s young people.

After being plagued by disturbing, violent dreams, Ayumu learns what the spirit world expects of him. He must learn to fight and to lead—but he’s only ever been ordinary. With the support of friends he would die to protect, Ayumu faces a destiny only he can fulfill. But others have taken an interest in Ayumu. The mysterious Fox-Hat and Neko know more about Ayumu than he knows about himself, and they lead him onto a path that might end in the destruction of them all.

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