Wednesday 2 September 2020

Book Review: Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1) by Kat Cho (YA Fantasy)

Title: Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1)
Author: Kat Cho
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: 2019
YA Fantasy
Source: Borrowed from Library

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret. She's a gumiho-a nine-tailed fox who survives by consuming the energy of men. But she's also half-human and has a soft spot for people. So she won't kill indiscriminately. With the help of a shaman, Miyoung only takes the lives of men who have committed terrible crimes. Devouring their life force is a morbid kind of justice... or so she tells herself.

But killing men no one would ever miss in bustling modern-day Seoul also helps Miyoung keep a low profile. She and her mother protect themselves by hiding in plain sight. That is until Miyoung crosses paths with a handsome boy her age as he's being attacked by a goblin in the woods. She breaks her mother's cardinal rule--revealing herself and her nine tails--to save Jihoon from certain death. In the process, she loses her fox bead--her gumiho soul. Without it, she will die.

When Miyoung and Jihoon next meet, there's no doubt they are drawn to each other. But thwir tenous romance could be over before it evem begins, as Miyoung's efforts to restore her fox bead by the next full moon ensnares them in a generations-old feud, forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon's.

An enthralling tale inspired by Korean folklore and set in a rich contemporary fantasy world,
Gumiho is an absorbing love story that heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in YA.

I had seen Wicked Fox around and was interested to read it; however, it wasn't high on my priority list until I watched the K-drama My Girlfriend is a Gumiho on Netflix last month. I loved that so much, I decided it was time to pick up this book. Although the stories are different, I could detect some influence of the K-drama on this book, and I was pleased when the author did make a passing reference to it during the story. This book plays on the standard folklore but takes it in a slightly different direction, so I could guess some aspects of the plot but not all. I liked both Miyoung and Jihoon as characters, and I feel both did grow and develop during the story; however, I found the romance side a little forced. The opening and ending of the piece were good, but the pacing lagged slightly in the middle, though luckily not for too long. Overall, though, it was an enjoyable read, and as someone who has recently started to teach myself Korean, I loved the extra aspects of Korean culture and language woven into the piece. It helped with establishing the world and the characters and felt natural throughout. There was even a useful glossary at the back for readers unfamiliar with any of the Korean words used. I would definitely recommend this to fans of YA fantasy/paranormal who are looking for something outside the standard vampire/werewolf/fae fare. It was a solid 4-star read for me, and I would be keen to continue on to read the second book in the series.

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