What worked: This is a fast-paced engaging paranormal that has a twist on the Seven Samurari with a teen girl as a reluctant heroine. Scattered throughout are Japanese mythological demons and gods. Since I'm not familiar with Japanese mythology, I was happy there was a glossary at the end.
The action is riveting from when Kira goes from being a shy Japanese schoolgirl to one that steps up to the challenge of stopping a demon. Kira shows her love of being a shrine priestess even though her own mother turned away from that calling. There's also scenes of bullying, where Kira is tormented for being an outcast at her prestigious Japanese school.
The references of kitsunes in Seven Deadly Shadows remind me of Kira Yukimura in Teen Wolf who was a Thunder kitsune-a fox yokai shapeshifter. Only in this novel, Kira is a priestess of a Shinto shrine, but does have a task of saving the world.
There's also a hint of romance between her and kitsune Shiro, who she's not sure of at first. From Shiro she learns more about her responsibilities and yes, even whether or not to trust a supernatural being. Shiro is cute, charming and it's hard not to like him.
There are many mythological creatures in this story-shinigami-Japanese version of grim reapers who reap the souls of the living. Yokai-supernatural monsters, ghosts, spirits, and demons.Jorogumo-a half-woman, half spider yokai. And of course, my favorite, nekomata-a cat yokai.
There's also hints of Sailor Moon references and lush descriptions of Kyoto and Toyoko shrines. I did Google the places to help me visualize where Kira goes to on her quest to stop a demon.
Engaging fantasy with a twist on the Seven Samurai and filled with many Japanese supernatural beings.
Japanese mythology throughout