There are no spoilers in this review.
I had heard a lot about Wicked Fox before it was released. Around the blogosphere and on bookish communities, many people were praising, ecstatic or really, really looking forward to reading this book and, naturally, I wondered what all the fuss was about. If the synopsis made me curious, if my heart screamed to see a Korean-mythology-inspired-YA fantasy, still, just like any other hyped book out there, I was nervous and expectant… and I was surprised in such a lovely way by the wonderful gem that Wicked Fox is.
A million thanks to Penguin Random House International for inviting me to take part in this international blog tour and for sending me a free review copy of the book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
A STORY BASED ON KOREAN MYTHOLOGY
The story of Wicked Fox is inspired by Korean mythology and the tale of the gumiho, a fox with nine tails feeding on human flesh and energy to survive. I wasn’t too familiar with this tale and I absolutely loved that the story was so heavily inspired by it all. The world-building was definitely one of the strong suits of this book, woven perfectly into the story without overwhelming us. From the fantasy elements taken from the gumiho tale, to the vibrant setting of Seoul, its life, its crowded streets and dark alleys, its stunning views and its delicious-sounding food, Kat Cho managed to create a wonderful world I loved visiting. Inserted into the story, we got some wonderful moments of storytelling, short chapters more focused on the gumiho tale itself and its history until today, until it finally links itself together with the story we are reading. I loved this.
A GREAT CAST OF CHARACTERS, GROWING ALONG WITH THE STORY
Wicked Fox had a wonderful cast of characters I quickly grew fond of. Told from two different point of view, we get to hear Miyoung as well as Jihoon’s story and I loved both narratives so much.
Miyoung was a wonderful main character, strong, bold and determined, yet also with her own weaknesses. I had such a great time seeing her grow as the story went along, seeing her opening herself up to new people in her life slowly but surely, slowly discovering her own strengths and weaknesses and most of it all, standing up for what she believed in and for the ones she loves.
Jihoon was a great character as well and I quickly grew fond of him as he tried to gain Miyoung’s friendship, slowly but surely. He made me smile more than once and I loved it.
The relationship between the two was such a refreshing, slow-burning romance. It starts out slowly, from strangers to friends to more and it seemed so rightfully developed, in time and coherent with all the action happening all around, I really appreciated that.
Wicked Fox also manages to give us great, important and complex family relationships, something I am always yearning for in my stories and something I was looking forward to, here. Miyoung had such a complex relationship with her mother, willing to please her and to be strong for her, but also not agreeing with her at all times, and dreading her, as well. Yearning for her mother’s approval and love, yet also yearning to take her own personal path. Jihoon’s relationship with his halmeoni (grandmother) was also such a big part of the story and most likely one of my favorites, too. I loved how protective, wise and incredible his halmeoni was and I loved their interactions so much.
Aside, we also get a, if a little less developed, still interesting cast of friends surrounding Jihoon, offering lighter moments that made me smile.
Wicked Fox was certainly an action-packed book and despite its length, I did not have a second to get bored. The unexpected twists and turns had me gasping and emotional at times and, all along, I was hoping for all of these characters to be okay. If you’re looking for a wonderfully unique ya fantasy, I’d definitely recommend Wicked Fox!
Final rating: 4 drops!
Trigger warnings: parental abuse, bullying, violence, blood, scenes at the hospital, drinking, death, loss of a loved one
Diversity: cast of Korean characters.
Kat Cho, Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1), Published on June 25th, 2019 by G.P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, isbn: 9781984814715.
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.
Did you read Wicked Fox? Do you want to?
Do you know some other books inspired by Korean mythology? What are some of the latest highly entertaining books you’ve read? I’d love to hear from you in comments!
Hello friends! As this blog post publishes, I am still on hiatus and on holidays, until Sunday, July 7th. I won’t be replying to comments or anything else until that date. Thank you for stopping by and see you soon! x