[Review & INT Giveaway!] SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani


Title: Seven Deadly Shadows
Author: Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 28th 2020
Goodreads Page

Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review for this blog tour.

Seven Deadly Shadows follows the journey of Kira Fujikawa, a teenager who has the ability to see yokai demons and works with her grandfather at their family's Shinto shrine so that one day she might inherit her family's birthright. However, one evening a band of yokai breaks into the temple in search of the missing last shard of a legendary sword and Kira's grandfather is killed in the process. To avenge her grandfather and also prevent the demon lord Shuten-doji from bringing eternal darkness to the world, Kira must find the missing piece of the sword and gather seven shinigami (death gods) to help her stop Shuten-doji.

This book really made me ache for Japan. I had been there this past Christmas and it seems to be around me wherever I go -- me being entirely immersed in manga lately, one of my cop shows had an episode in Tokyo and now I read this book. I'm always nervous about Asian culture inspired books and it was no different for me with this one. However, while I'm not Japanese, the portrayal of Japanese culture and life adheres to what I can glean from my many years of absorbing it through reading copious amounts of manga. The authors' note was such a joy to read wherein Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani dictate all the research they've done for the book and the cultural aspects that they had to alter for western audiences and also their sources of inspiration. One of which is CLAMP's xxxHolic which I can also vouch for as being very good. (Seriously if you're interested in the premise of this book, really give this manga a try).

Kira, like some teens, clashes with her parents. While her parents are more business-minded, Kira is more inclined to the family shrine and the spiritual. After all, she has the ability to see the yokai and she feels a sense of duty to continue the family legacy since it seems the skill has passed over her mother. She goes through a lot in this book as she suffers the trauma of losing her grandfather and is then faced with a quest to avenge her grandfather and basically save the world.

Shiro is a kitsune guardian of Kira's family shrine. He is a fox spirit and he also does have the requisite fox ears. He's Kira's closest friend and he's also very dreamy. I really enjoyed his character and of course the romance with Kira. ;)

Overall, Seven Deadly Shadows was a really enjoyable read with a main character who goes on a journey that's really refreshing to read as I don't think it's a style of story that I've read before in a YAlit book. This book is well researched and well written and I can see the sincerity of it all in this book. I would definitely encourage manga fans to give this book a try.


Grand Prize: Win a signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, a signed copy of Courtney Alameda's SHUTTER, and a signed copy of Valynne Maetani's INK AND ASHES; anime portraits of Kira and Shiro; a stuffed fox omamori charm from the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Japan; an origami fox hand-folded by Valynne Maetani; a yokai mini sticker sheet; and an assortment of Japanese Kit Kats (not pictured) [INT]

Second Prize: Win (1) of (2) A signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS with anime portraits of Kira and Shiro (INT)

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Courtney Alameda --

A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels for young people. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award and hailed as a "standout in the genre" by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novel, PITCH DARK (Spring 2017), is a genre-blending science fiction/horror novel in the vein of Ridley Scott's 1979 film ALIEN.

Courtney holds a B.A. in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by the talented John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five pound cat with a giant personality.

Valynne E. Maetani --

Valynne E. Maetani (pronounced Vuh-lin Mah-eh-tah-nee) grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities. Currently, she is a full-time writer. She is a member of the We Need Diverse Books team and is dedicated to promoting diversity in children's literature because every child should grow up believing his or her story deserves to be told. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013, a Junior Library Guild 2015 selection, and Best Fiction Book in Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Arts Award for 2015. She lives in Salt Lake City.

You can find the rest of the tour with guest posts and other reviews here

Happy Reading!
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