Received to review via Netgalley
I really enjoyed The Navigating Fox, but I find myself not sure what to write about it. Let’s try to start at the beginning: this is a world where “voiceless” animals like the ones we know can be given human-like intelligence and voices. Quintus Shu’al is a navigating fox, the only one of his kind (at least, as far as we know or he knows). As the book opens, he’s being investigated for his part in the loss of a whole expedition he promised to guide to find a remedy for the Empress’ sickness.
It quickly becomes apparent that things aren’t what they seem, and that there’s a lot of scheming going on by various different parties, leading to Quintus guiding a whole cavalcade to the end of the world to close the gates of Hell (apparently).
The story runs two threads in parallel: the earlier journey, with the lost expedition, and the later journey to the gates of Hell. As those threads converge, we get to see more of the world — though there’d still be plenty more to learn if there were to be a follow-up, because it’s a pretty fascinating setting.
Despite the quirkiness of the idea of a book with talking animals, it’s not quirky in execution (for the most part, at least). It’s treated seriously, without taking itself too seriously, if you see what I mean.