Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1)
by Kat Cho
🛵🛵🛵🛵 (four stars as rated in Jihoon’s motor scooter)
This was a buddy read with book BFF Amanda of Bookish Brews and NO, this is not an Amanda stan account (…yet :P) but reading is indisputably more fun with a pal. So be sure to give my book friend a follow since her reviews are top notch and also you can never be following too many book blogs!
Eighteen year old Miyoung is a gumiho – one of the fabled nine-tailed foxes that survive by consuming the energy of men. While searching the woods for a wicked predator on which to feed during her monthly full moon hunt, she stumbles upon a goblin attacking a boy of her same age named Jihoon. In a frantic move to save him Miyoung makes a fateful mistake, putting her own life very literally in the hands of Jihoon. In the wake of this traumatizing event, Miyoung struggles to distance herself from the boy who could ruin everything for her. After all, companionship is a risk she can’t afford to take with goblins on the loose. Jihoon, however, isn’t ready to give up on the girl who saved him so easily. While their fragile relationship blooms Miyoung and Jihoon are faced with a series of impossible decisions. And the outcome could cost one of them everything.
“Night and darkness made a believer of everyone.”– Kat Cho, Wicked Fox
I have been trying to put my finger on exactly what about this book resonated with me so heavily and I think it comes down to Miyoung. We get to see so much conflict from our protagonist about who she is and what she does. I also love that Jihoon never misunderstands this about her. He makes no excuse for her actions and yet he is genuinely sympathetic to her lack of options. I think that’s really special. Admittedly, though, this book does read like a bit of a soap opera at times. The back-and-forth between our MC’s might give whiplash to those less experienced in angsty teen dramas. I for one, adored every bit of it and would go so far to say that – in this aspect at least – Wicked Fox may very well be one of the MOST realistic depictions of teenage emotions that I have read in my lifetime. Also, there is so much dang cuteness between our protagonists that it easily outweighs any and all possible faults. I am already working Vicious Spirits into my summer reading list!
I am completely new to the concept of the gumiho – though apparently there’s a pokemon based on one and a Korean TV show called My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho that I low-key can’t wait to watch. In any case, let me assure you that this book is a blast even with ZERO prior knowledge of Korean folklore. Additionally, the story is interspersed with snippets of lore and legend about the gumiho that are really brilliantly done so total novices (like me) can keep up. Pro tip: if you’re one of those big sillies who can’t read any foreign language word without learning to properly pronounce it (*raises hand*) you will want to keep google at the ready for this one (or just watch the video of Kat Cho’s Wicked Fox pronouncation guide) since several key Korean words are used to describe Miyoung and Jihoon’s familial relationships especially. I truly respect and appreciate Kat Cho’s decision not to translate certain words in an otherwise English text. It give us a far richer and more authentic experience of the characters and I think it’s super rad of her to expect her English speaking readers to learn a couple new words for a darn change! Incidentally, my favorite learned Korean word is “dubu” which means tofu and is also the name of Jihoon’s fluffly little white dog. Y’all! How cute is that!? I mean, COME ON…
✨ Rep in this book: Korean cast of characters, own voices
✨ Content warnings for this book: violence, murder, blood, medical stuff, hospitalization, estrangement from a parent, death of a family member, violence toward an animal
About the Author: Kat Cho
Kat Cho is an international bestselling YA author who loves to incorporate her Korean heritage in her writing, especially if it involves describing food. She loves anything that encourages nerding out, including reading, K-dramas, K-pop and anime. She’s the author of Wicked Fox and Vicious Spirits (copied from the author’s personal website).
Personal note: girl on representation (or lack there-of) of POC on Pinterest and Tumblr
In my last couple posts I shared that I’d been working on some moodboards and character aesthetics. But real talk; it took me an entire day just to make the THREE GRAPHICS in my A River Of Royal Blood post because there is so little representation of POC in aesthetic photography. At least on the mainstream photo sharing services I’m using, though please advise if you have better beta on that one. 👀 I realize that this great revelation of mine probably comes as no surprise to anyone that is… ahem… not living in a white privilege bubble. That being said, it really pissed me off. And because I’m making more of an effort to read books about and by folks who have been marginalized, I predict that I’ll be facing this issue a bunch more if I continue with my aesthetic boards. All of this is to basically say that I’ve started semi-aggressively looking for and compiling aesthetic photos THAT INCLUDE marginalized people on Pinterest and it is available for everyone to view and share if you’re into that sort of thing. Because, really, searching “black hands” and getting twenty five photos of white hands painted black… yeah, that’s some bullshit right there. 😑
PS, please enjoy my character aesthetics for Jihoon and Miyoung.