book review, young adult

Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko (Review)

Title: Scion of the Fox
Author: S.M. Beiko
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: ECW Press
Date published: October 17, 2017

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

As the winter ice begins to thaw, the fury of a demon builds — all because one girl couldn’t stay dead . . .

Roan Harken considers herself a typical high school student — dead parents, an infected eyeball, and living in the house of her estranged, currently comatose grandmother (well, maybe not sotypical) — but she’s uncovering the depth of the secrets her family left behind. Saved from the grasp of Death itself by a powerful fox spirit named Sil, Roan must harness mysterious ancient power . . . and quickly. A snake-monster called Zabor lies in wait in the bed of the frozen Assiniboine River, hungry for the sacrifice of spirit-blood in exchange for keeping the flood waters at bay. Thrust onto an ancient battlefield, Roan soon realizes that to maintain the balance of the world, she will have to sacrifice more than her life in order to take her place as Scion of the Fox.

American Gods meets Princess Mononoke in this powerful first installment of a trilogy sure to capture readers’ imaginations everywhere.

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My experience with Scion of the Fox was quite unusual! And I don’t mean that in a negative way. I’m glad to see that there are more Canadian YA books popping up everywhere, but this was the first Canadian YA fantasy book for me, and I wanted to love it (which caused me to put pressure on myself and affected how I consumed this story). The book is set in Winnipeg and I love how often it Beiko used landmarks from there because it made it feel so much more Canadian! I started reading Scion of the Fox last April after having wanted to start it all of that winter. By that point, the snow was melting, and I tend to get weird about the actual season and the seasons within certain books. For example, winter was on it’s way out around that time last April, and Scion of the Fox is set during that transition between winter and spring. So, it was fine for me to read it at that point. But once it got too warm outside, the book ended up sitting on my night stand for weeks and weeks. Oh the guilt! I can still feel remnants of it now.

I want you all to know that this has nothing to do with the book lacking in quality or creativity or anything like that though. I’d like to point out again that this was just my brain being weird about the season thing. Long story short, I picked this book up again once the snow started falling in late 2018, and then finally finished it in January of 2019. So, now, let’s talk about the book itself. I really enjoyed the story, and was so so happy that it was set in Canada because as a Canadian YA reader, I find that we don’t get enough of those (especially urban fantasy ones). The main character, Roan, was likeable for me from the start, and I found myself pulled into the mystery/mysteries in this book right off the bat. I won’t say any more, since I might accidentally spoil things. But I will say that I’m excited to pick up the next book (Children of the Bloodlands) in preparation for the third book coming out this autumn! (I also wanted to mention that I had the honour of meeting S.M. Beiko at an event last February and she’s super cool!)


Samatha Mary Beiko is a writer of whatever tromps into her head at the time–but mostly it is YA fantasy and its derivatives. Her first novel, a young adult fantasy set in rural Manitoba called The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book, as well as the 2014 Aurora Award. Her next series, The Realms of Ancient, has been signed for a three book deal with ECW Press. The first book, Scion of the Fox, will be out in October 2017. The sequels to follow are Children of the Bloodlands and The Brilliant Dark in the subsequent years (2018 and 2019). Samantha currently resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and is the co-chair of the Winnipeg ChiSeries, a reading series that highlights speculative writers in various panels, readings, and workshops. She is also the co-organizer, along with Hope Nicholson (Bedside Press) and Alicia May (Dandizette Cosmetics) of Winnipeg Geek Girls Social Club. She apologizes in advance if she ignores you when a dog walks by.



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