Wicked Fox is one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. When I managed to pick-up an ARC from the North Texas Teen Book Festival earlier this year, I was absolutely thrilled. And I’m really glad to report that this book is wonderful–everything I could have wanted in a book set in Seoul, dealing with Korean folklore, and just a true ode to my culture.
Content warning: physical abuse
All quotes are taken from the ARC, and may change in the finished copy.
Title: Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1)
Author: Kat Cho
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Expected release date: June 25, 2019 (tomorrow!)
Length: 432 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, urban fantasy, romance
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.”
This book read like an absolutely gem; the perfect K-drama, weaving romance and folklore. It was a joy to read, and I found myself deeply drawn into the story. This is a pretty thick ARC, and I was actually afraid it was filled with fluff and would drag a bit, but that wasn’t the case (thankfully). We switched from Miyoung to Jihoon’s POVs and I enjoyed learning about each of them through each other’s eyes. This book was well-thought out and executed well. Not only do we learn more about gumiho, but also shamans and dokkaebi (goblins). There was a plot twist I did not expect at all! I was actually happy about it until I wasn’t! LOL 🤣 The ending too! A total cliffhanger!
“When you’re constantly treated as a pariah and labeled bad, you might begin living up to that expectation.”
I loved Miyoung and Jihoon, his friends and his family. His grandmother was literally the best as were most of the parents in this book. Miyoung struggles internally with who she is as a gumiho trying to fit into a human world with a mother who says humans basically suck. Jihoon is absolutely one of the softest, cinnamon roll characters I’ve ever come across. The way he was so kind to everyone around him, you could really tell he was a genuinely kind person. I loved his two friends, Changwan and Somin–I just wish I had more of them. You could tell this was a group of friends that would last a very long time. However, one of the main things I struggled with was Miyoung’s relationship with her mother, Yena. Yena is very protective of her daughter because of who they are as gumiho. She distrusts humans (we learn why as the book progresses), and she’s really hard on her daughter. There are at least two times in which she slaps Miyoung quite hard. To be honest, it made me uncomfortable as there are also times I thought Yena gaslights Miyoung multiple times. It made the ending a bit difficult to swallow. Yes, Yena says she loves her daughter but her actions throughout the book really give mixed signals.
“When you’re so used to people leaving, you start thinking something might be wrong with you.”
Like I said earlier, this book was really fun to come back too. It was one of those that I equally wanted to savor and enjoy yet read quickly because it was good. The writing really flows well and it really draws you into the story, especially since the setting is a non-Western one. I haven’t been to Seoul before, but I loved the mixture of city life and the every day life of Jihoon and Miyoung, the former seemed almost idyllic despite the circumstances. I seriously cannot wait for the sequel to this book.
Check out these other early reviews:
- Elvina at Elvina Writes says you’ll love this book if you’re a fan of K-dramas. (I definitely agree!)
- Avery at bforbookslut wrote an excellent in-depth review.
- Lili from Utopia State of Mind was part of the blog tour and provided a lovely review and a list of others involved in the tour for all your Wicked Fox needs!
There’s still time to pre-order this book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository (INTL version, note the title), or through your local indie at IndieBound. Afterward, submit your pre-order receipt to get some gorgeous character cards.