Review: The Carnelian Fox by Kay MacLeod

Posted December 16, 2019 by Lola in Fantasy, Review / 6 Comments

Review graphic

The Carnelian FoxThe Carnelian Fox (Maiyamon #1)
by Kay MacLeod

My Rating: 4 stars

Genre: Fantasy/ Gamelit
Age Category: Young Adult/ New Adult
Type of romance: MF

Monsters don’t exist. At least, they didn’t until we created them.

Maiyamon was once merely a game. Now it’s a global reality. After dozens of hit monster collecting games raked in billions of credits per year, it was inevitable someone would create real ones. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so obvious how many people would dump them in the wild…

Sam Wentworth grew up with nothing. She’s worked tirelessly just to get through college and earn her first monster. Bankrupt and exhausted, she sets her sights on fame and fortune in Maiyamon arenas. Instead, Sam’s caught between battling the rampaging elemental creatures abandoned by their owners and standing up to a toxic group intent on ending the game forever.

With her flame fox cub, Finn, at her side, Sam sets out to build a team capable of protecting both innocent people’s lives and the creatures she loves. That’s the easy part.

Monsters may fill the world, but it’s humans she fears the most…

My Review

I received a free copy from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.

When I first heard of this book I knew I had to read it. It was clearly going for the Pokémon vibe, but then a different world and in book format, it just sounded so much fun. And it totally was. Reading this book felt both nostalgic, making me remember all those hours watching tv and playing the Pokémon games, but at the same time the author managed to make the world of Maiyamon feel fresh. Yes it was clearly inspired by Pokémon and had that same vibe, but it was still very different and the author did her best to make the world come alive and give it unique touches.

This book was so much fun to read. I like the Pokémon style adventure with the main character setting out with her first Gem (genetically engineered monster) and training to become a full licensed prime, get her whole team (6 Gems) together and meet new friends along the way. There are plenty of twists and reveals along the way as well. Lots of action and challenges and some personal obstacles as well.

I liked following Sam’s journey. She meets some interesting people along the way, but it’s the awesome Gem’s the really stole the show. It all starts with her first gem, Finn, who is pretty cool. Besides that I really liked Rica and Sev. I feel like we got to see those 3 the most or maybe that’s just because I liked those three the best and felt like their personalities stood out the most.

It was hard to keep track of all the names of all the Gems and characters at times, I did pretty good remembering the names of Sam’s gems, but struggled sometimes to remember the animal type and element type of other characters their gems. Especially the ones we don’t see as much of or when only the first time we hear what they are. But even so I do think the author did a good job trying to differentiate most of the Gem’s we meet. They all have their own personality or feel and I liked how many different gems we see.

The book has a pretty fast pace, which worked well. There is a lot that happens in this book, the pace is well done and there is plenty of action. There aren’t any dull moments, the story progresses really nicely. At the end of most chapters there is a little bit of foreshadowing where Sam says in her own words something about the events of that chapters and then things like “that wasn’t the last mistake I would make” etc. This doesn’t always work for me in books, but I liked it here and it created some suspense and apprehension because you knew something would go wrong or there’s more to a character we meet. It really was a book I wanted to keep reading and see what happens next.

One small issue I had was that some of the big events sometimes lacked impact. The book is pretty story driven, but it felt like sometimes that didn’t leave as much room for the characters or getting a good in depth feel of how Sam was feeling. On the other hand I was happy that there wasn’t as much attention to some of the things Sam goes through as there are some really sad things that happen. Overall the vibe of the book stayed pretty upbeat.

One thing that was particularly well done were the Gem battles. They were described really well and I really could imagine well what they looked like. Those scenes were always pretty engaging and I was eager to see who would win and how the battles progressed.

While the whole concept of monsters being real and the game like mechanics it doesn’t feel like a very realistic world, but I did like how the author has thought about things and how the presence of monster would influence daily life. There are some things that don’t make as much sense, like how these monsters basically took over the whole world when it started as a game, but there was enough explanation that it still felt like it could happen and most of those world changes are in the past and now they live in this world were Gem’s are part of everyday life. And a lot of the world does make sense given that main premise, which I like. There is still a lot of this world we haven’t seen yet, but I like what we’ve seen so far and I did like how there was some world building about the world and also why the world was this way. And it’s just a really fun concept. I enjoyed spending time in this world and learning more about it.

And to say a bit more about the Gem’s I liked how Gem’s could be every type of animal as well as some mythical or fantasy monsters. And how unlike Pokémon it isn’t set which type which creature is, but instead each animal is available in every elemental type and many dual class when they evolve. I also liked how each Gem could evolve twice.

To summarize: This was such a fun read. It’s nostalgic with it’s Pokémon like vibe and also refreshing as the book was pretty different too. I really enjoyed this book and it was so fun to read with all the monsters and following Sam on her journey. The book is pretty fast paced and story driven, which worked great here. I liked getting to know the different Gem’s, although I had trouble remembering some of the side characters their gem’s names at times. I especially liked Finn, Rica and Sev. I did think some emotional issues/ big events lacked impact at times, but at the same time I also didn’t mind too much as most of those things are pretty sad. I really liked how the author wrote the battle scenes, they were really engaging to read and I could visualize well how the battles progressed. The world building is interesting and while the main premise might be a bit unbelievable, I liked how the rest of the world did make sense given that premise and how the author did her best to make the world come alive. And it was just a lot of fun to read about. I am definitely looking forward to more Maiyamon!

4 Stars


You can also read my review on Goodreads, Bookbub and Amazon.

Tags: , ,

6 responses to “Review: The Carnelian Fox by Kay MacLeod

    • It really was a fun story especially for people who grew up with Pokemon or love to game. I am glad the author wrote an original story even with the Pokémon inspiration it still was it’s own story very much.

  1. Oooh this is a genre that has been done many times in Asian written stories and has nothing to do with Pokémon. How fun that an author took inspiration from the game/show and ran with it. I admit this game as real life is something I enjoy loads and have read many light novels with it. And the fox is another bonus! I’ll have to check it out.

    • I didn’t realize this genre has been done so many times in Asian written stories. I mostly know Pokémon and Digimon and that’s about it. I really enjoyed this book, so maybe I should see if I can find some light novels with this theme.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.