Review: Kogitsune (Takamagahara Monogatari #1) by Xia Xia Lake

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Kogitsune (Takamagahara Monogatari #1)

by Xia Xia Lake

A coming of age story set in medieval Japan. A friendship between a young fox god and his human childhood friend is built on deception, but grows stronger and purer as it’s driven by common purpose. However, the vast differences of the worlds they live in can’t be ignored, as their relationship is frowned upon by both humans and spirits.

As Kogitsune’s feelings for his human friend turn from friendship to something deeper, he will learn that love can be all consuming and heartbreaking.

‘Kogitsune’ is a retelling of the famous Noh theater play ‘Kokaji’, a story about a swordsmith who requests the help of the Inari god to build a sword for emperor Ichijo (980-1011).

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Review

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

Kogitsune is a short story and is the first in the Takamagahara Monogatari series. It is a romantic retelling of the play Kokaji, which tells the story of a swordsmith who is tasked with forging a sword for the Emperor Ichijo, and his quest to seek help from the Inari God to do this.

Kogitsune is a short yet beautiful read focusing on the young God Kogitsune’s life and his growing friendship with the human Kokaji. Growing up under the tutelage of his father, the God Inari, Kogitsune is warned of the dangers of humans and that his friendship with Kokaji will only bring him pain. To begin with, Kogitsune sees any heartache as another lesson in life but when Kokaji does seemingly betray their friendship he understands the depth of his feelings.

This story is extremely well-written. It is steeped in the detail of Japanese folklore, which the author has managed to combine beautifully into a tender love story between the two main characters. I enjoyed the use of Japanese words and phrases, most of which I was familiar with already but there are meanings there too for readers who are not. The romance aspect is subtle and almost bitter-sweet as the story reaches its conclusion. I am looking forward to reading further books in the series.

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