I have been looking forward to Gumiho: Wicked Fox ever since I first found out about it, which feels like last year. And once I got my copy I was hooked. It’s a charming romance, but it’s also a story about family, expectations, and connecting to each other.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Gumiho: Wicked Fox will enchant you right away. Whether you came for the fantasy elements, for the setting of Seoul, or for the chemistry between our two protagonists, you will become immersed in the world of Wicked Fox before you know it. It’s a story about mothers, friendship, and sacrifice. It made me wonder at the very beginning what would happy if all the stories we have grown up with were true and what a world that would be.
Gumiho: Wicked Fox has something for everyone, but what really stuck out to me were Jihoon and Miyoung’s relationships to their mother, and to family in general. Whether our mother has chosen to leave us, to move on without us, or lives within our house – our mother is such an influential figure on us even if they aren’t in our lives. There’s embarrassment, resentment, and regret.
But Gumiho: Wicked Fox is full of banter, charming characters that hide their secrets and vulnerabilities. And even more so, there’s Miyoung’s half human, half Gumiho identity. How does Miyoung reconcile these parts of herself that, in the stories she’s heard, seem to not be able to live in peace with each other? The characters in this story just pull you through, you have to keep reading to finish their story. They are characters who don’t trust easily, who are reflected images of each other. Each with a hunger to find someone with the same edges, aches, and broken fragments, the same wants for connection.
At its heart, Gumiho: Wicked Fox is a story that explores themes of connection. How these relationships lead to vulnerability and manipulation but also support. The pain and holes people leave when they left, never quite filled with sans of regret and stones of sadness. And what we will do with these relationships – will we still be trusting? Change our expectations?
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