Author(s): Kat Cho
No one in modern-day Seoul believes in the old fables anymore, which makes it the perfect place to for Gu Miyoung and her mother to hide in plain sight.
Miyoung is a Gumiho, a nine-tailed fox, who must eat the souls of men to survive. She feeds every full moon--eating the souls of men who have committed crimes, but have evaded justice. Her life is upended when she kills a dokkaebi, a murderous goblin, in the forest just to save the life of a stupid boy. But after Miyoung saves Jihoon's life, the two develop a tenuous friendship that blooms into romance forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon's.
We first meet schoolgirl Gu Miyoung perched above the rooftops of Seoul stalking her prey under a full moon. She is a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox of Korean legend, and must feed on gi (similar to, but not the same as, mauri in te reo M?ori) to survive. Unlike her mother, Miyoung doesn't rip men apart to feed but seeks out those who have caused harm and removes them from the world. It's a form of justice ... or that's what she tells herself.
Ahn Jihoon is a charming slacker who lives with his halmeoni (grandmother) after his mother abandoned him. Taking the dog out for a walk one night, he runs into a terrifying dokkaebi (goblin) in the forest and is rescued by a kick-ass Miyoung. In the process, he sees her true self - tails and all - while she loses her yeowu guseul, her gumiho soul in the form of a bead.
Miyoung runs off but then, on Monday morning, a transfer student is introduced to Jihoon's class ...
There's a growing trend in YA for culturally specific fantasy so, when you combine that with the current Hallyu (Korean Wave) of K-Pop and K-Dramas taking over the world, Wicked Fox is hitting all the marks. Like a cross between (a much-better-written) Twilight and Percy Jackson, Kat Cho's debut novel is a super satisfying read. Packed full of Korean culture and mythology, Cho gives the occasional explainer but really expects you to figure it out - just like Rick Riordan does with his mythologies. I'm just really excited to see an Asian writer writing a book (not a manga or manhwa) set in Asia, featuring only Asian characters ... and which is available in English!
It's fun, taut (with life and death stakes), cutely romantic and a wee bit violent but also deals with issues of parental abandonment, abuse, friendship and identity. For age 14+
A fresh and addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul.
Kat Cho used to hide books under the bathroom sink and then sneak in there to read after bedtime. Her parents pretended not to know. This helped when she decided to write a dinosaur time-travel novel at the tender age of nine. Sadly, that book was not published. She currently works in NYC as an editorial assistant.