engaging and unique contemporary fantasy
WICKED FOX is a unique urban fantasy that uses Korean mythology to bring a mythological creature to life. Miyoung is half-human and half-gumiho. Gumiho are immortal, nine-tailed foxes that appear as beautiful women and must consume men to live. While her mother consumes livers, Miyoung only consumes the gi, or life force, of men once a month. She works with her friend Nara who is a shaman, meaning she speaks with spirits, to select men who have murdered or done other evil things.
During one hunt, she hears a boy her age, Jihoon, being attached by a dokkaebi- a goblin- and she saves him but loses her yeowi guseul or fox bead- effectively, her soul- in the process. As she seeks to put her bead back into her body, she must defy her mother to save her soul.
At the same time, she begins to know Jihoon better as he continuously seeks her out when she tries to disappear. Soon, she finds herself falling in love, a feeling which her mother has always warned her was too dangerous. Jihoon is also battling with his own demons, having been abandoned by his mother when he was young, leaving him with deep scars. We follow Jihoon and Miyoung in alternating sections and unravel the mystery of Miyoung and the gumiho.
The mythology here was fascinating, and I loved the inclusion of some of the stories throughout the book. The main characters (Miyoung, Jihoon) were really well-crafted and so easy for the reader to fall in love with and cheer for. Miyoung’s mother was an interesting character; in some ways, she was a villain, but in many ways, she was misunderstood, and I loved seeing her character crafted throughout the story. Nara is a character who I would have liked to know better. She seemed somewhat erratic, and it would have been great to know her better and understand her motives more.
Overall, this was a fascinating and unique new urban/contemporary fantasy. I am really excited that this is the first in a series, and I cannot wait to continue this engaging story in the future.