Just a little heads up before we get into this review, I’m attempting to update my review format and rating system so let me know what you think about this new review format, or if you even noticed a difference because I don’t think it will look much different, but trust me. It’s VERY different on the back end. Once I get a good feel for how I want this to work, I’ll probably do an updated rating system/how I rate books post.
Title: Wicked Fox
Author: Kat Cho
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Gumiho #1
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books
Release Date: June 25th 2019
Keywords: Mythology, friendships, modern day
Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.
But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.
Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.
With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.
Wicked Fox is told from two different perspectives: Miyoung and Jihoon. I’m a big fan of books with multiple perspectives, and it was pretty seamless between the two perspectives as well. There were also these little stories between some of the chapters about the origin of the gumiho that were so interesting and really added to the story, and they read like actual myths, not just myths that furthered the plot of this book.
I really enjoyed reading a book based in Korean mythology, especially since I don’t really know too much about it. Since I don’t know much about Korean mythology, I’m not sure how “true” to the original myths this is, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s a good introduction to the myth of the Gumiho (a nine-tailed fox that feeds on the energy of men). It’s been a long time since I’ve read a good urban fantasy, and I was a little worried about this being set in our world but I had absolutely no reason to worry! I loved the twists and turns that this book took, and the way that this ended set up for the second book nicely.
I really liked that Miyoung was relatable, but not instantly likeable. You really needed to spend some time with her as a character to understand her motives, and I prefer characters that grow on you as the book goes on because those are the ones who last longer in my mind. I liked how we knew pretty much right away that Miyoung is a gumiho, and her morals and ideals were really interesting when compared to her mother. Jihoon is the human boy who discovers Miyoung’s secret, and was still nice to her after finding out. He also had the most adorable relationship with his Halmeoni (grandmother). I loved the contrast between distant and aloof Miyoung and friendly and open Jihoon, they worked so well together! I loved that he brought out her good side and was there for her no matter what. There was also an emphasis on family throughout the book that was nice to see in YA, especially when you see so many books with the “absent parents”. This book did a great job of showing that not every person is wholly good or wholly bad, they just are.
I feel like I didn’t really get a good sense of Seoul and Korea as a whole. There were parts where we got to see landmarks in Seoul, but Miyoung was by no means a girl who travelled the city to see the sights so it made sense that we didn’t see as much of Seoul as I wanted. We did get a lot of the forests and the neighborhood where Jihoon lives, and I loved the detail that went into describing Jihoon’s apartment and his Halmeoni’s restaurant.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I flew through it in two days on my vacation! I absolutely adored reading another Asian inspired fantasy, and the amount of good fantasy that we’ve been getting lately is unreal.
5/5 stars! I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good urban fantasy that is inspired by Korean mythology! I promise you won’t regret it.