Gumiho/Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Publication date: 25 June 2019
Genre: YA contemporary fantasy
Page count: 448 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
I had been hearing a lot about Gumiho, titled Wicked Fox in the US, and was curious to see what all the hype was about. While I expected to like this book, I ended up absolutely loving it! To me, it is the perfect example of how YA romance should be written.
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.
There is so much to love about Gumiho, and one of the first things that springs to mind is the setting. I love that this book takes place in modern-day Seoul. I sometimes find that modern fantasy books could really be set anywhere — the setting just feels like a place for the characters to interact rather than an important part of the story– but Cho gives such a brilliant sense of the city and its neighborhoods. I can’t imagine the book being set anywhere else. When you add creatures of Korean folklore like gumiho and dokkaebi to the story, I found that the setting came to life beautifully.
While this book is a fantastic modern-set fantasy, it has more of a focus on the romance between Miyoung and Jihoon. However I found that it worked so incredibly well because their chemistry was fantastic and they were a believable couple. The relationship between the pair is playful, yet mature, and I totally fell for them. I love relationships that evolve from a reluctant partnership, to friendship, and ultimately to romance — Gumiho gives the reader exactly that. Because much of the focus of the book is on their relationship, we get to see it develop and grow in such an organic way. This is easily one of the best YA romances I have read.
Gumiho is the perfect summery fantasy read for your beach bag! A fast-paced and fun book with a whole lot of heart, I’d highly recommend this book for readers of YA fantasy, fans of folklore and diverse reads, as well as those who love Korean dramas.
CW: Parental neglect
Want to pick up a copy of Gumiho, or Wicked Fox? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):