TITLE: Wicked Fox
BY: Kat Cho
SERIES: Gumiho #1
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Mythology
PUBLICATION: June 25 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
A fresh and addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul.
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.
I was really excited for this one because I’m an ultimate fan of Kdrama and just by reading the blurb, it was clear to me Wicked Fox would be like a Kdrama on a page. And it was. Only, just by reading few chapters, I realized I am not a big fan of a written Kdrama. But of course, there are also things I liked and let me start with them.
I like the concept. I think Gumiho, a nine-tailed fox, is one of the most interesting creatures in Korean mythology. I would love to learn more about them and somehow, this book provided vast knowledge about them. I specifically love the short tales/legends/myths about gumihos every other chapter (I think). I like the idea of gi – “the energy that emanated from all living things” in short the energy Gu Miyoung stole from living things every month. I like that Gu Miyoung is presented as a fox demon who has a conscience and she convinces herself she only feeds through evil people whenever her conscience attacks. Sadly, the list of the things I love about this book ends here.
My first issue is the cliches. If you’ve watched like a million kdramas before then you’ll find everything in this book a little cliche. It was like everything I’ve seen in all highschool K-drama are in Wicked Fox. And I literally groaned when Jihoon lend Miyoung his earphone (or headphone, I forgot) because other students were gossiping about her. I was expecting to see cliche but not in every scene, you know what I mean? Also on TV, I kinda forgive if I see similar scenes on every Kdrama because it’s still enjoyable to see the actors interact but written? Not so much. Even the family drama on both Miyoung and Jihoon’s sides are cliche. Too dramatic really.
I think the issue lies on how short the scenes and chapters are. The chapters are too short that I only get the cliche scenes but so little on the major plot. Some scenes even ended up as just fillers to me. They’re not that significant. The plot is indeed underdeveloped. There are so many elements hinted and presented in the world but only one of them is realized into fullness. Only Miyoung’s struggle about her soul and even that isn’t that fully realized. It was a bit underwhelming. And I don’t like it when Romance takes over the plot and that exactly what happened here. Of course I was expecting the romance and I love romance but it would’ve been better if the romance didn’t dwarf the fantasy element. That’s sad because there are a lot of things in the book’s world that need spotlight. I swear to you there are a lot. But everything turned even more melodramatic because of the romance.
Finally, I can say that I’m not that hyped to read the sequel. The ending is fine, actually the last quarter the book is the best part, but it’s still not that grand. It was only OK. I’m sorry I didn’t bother to talk about the other characters even though some of them are really interesting like Junu. He’s a goblin you all. I just think I already stated the most important parts of this review so I’m just gonna leave you to discover the mystery of the other characters.
Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.