February 1, 2020

Seven Deadly Shadows Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway


Seven Deadly Shadows
Author: Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani 
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Release Date: January 28, 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
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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.
Seven Deadly Shadows has been described as anime in YA book form by several other readers. I admit that I have never read or watched any anime or manga in my life. That might be part of the issue I had while reading this book. The description sounded amazing and the idea of Japanese culture and mythology was a no-brainer. I love learning about mythology from other countries and cultures, especially when I'm not familiar with them. That aspect of the book - the world building and the mythology - was the best part of the story for me. The authors did a wonderful job bringing this world to life in front of my eyes with detailed descriptions and lots of vivid imagery. I learned a lot of really cool things throughout the story and it definitely piqued my interest in Japanese mythology.

The rest of the story didn't work so well for me personally. As much as I liked learning about the culture and everything else, the Japanese words and names really threw me. It took me awhile to figure out how to pronounce each word/name and every time that happened, it took me out of the story. I wasn't able to get fully immersed in this beautiful world because of these hiccups in the writing. Again - this is completely on me and obviously won't effect other readers the same way. With this type of story, I needed to be fully enveloped in the characters' world so I can experience it as much as possible. With having to stop every few words, I just wasn't able to get into it that way. I wasn't able to form any connections with the characters and the plot - which I'm sure was amazing - did capture my attention like I thought. I feel awful because I know that if I didn't have to stop and figure out these names and words then I would've had a completely different experience - probably a very positive one. Maybe now that I've read it once and am a little more accustomed to the language, I'll reread it and be able to get to it's full potential. But for now I'm going to have to base my review on my initial read. Again - this is all wholly personal on my part and not every reader is going to feel the same way. I'm sure lots of people are going to love this novel. I do recommend it to fans of YA, fantasy, paranormal, anime, manga, Japanese culture and mythology.
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.
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 omamoricharm 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)

Starts: January 28, 2020
Ends: February 11, 2020


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