A Review of: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Genre: Urban fantasy
Length: 420 pages
Set in Seoul, South Korea, the novel follows two main characters, an ordinary high school boy and a mythical gumiho (nine tailed fox) whose fates become intertwined. The plot centers around gumiho Miyoung losing her yeowu gusel (fox bead), which is the equivalent of a human soul. The story is imbued with lots of Korean culture from aspects of religion, to food, to superstitions, to school life, language etc.
Ahn Jihoon is a kindhearted high school boy who developed a tendency to push people away after his mother’s abandonment. Gu Miyoung, meanwhile, is a gumiho who feeds on human gi (energy) in order to survive. Unlike her mother, however, Miyoung has compassion for humans and only feeds on those who have committed horrible crimes. Like Jihoon, she has trouble getting close to others.
There are a plethora of minor characters who mostly felt underutilized. The only one that truly stood out for me was Jihoon’s halmeoni (grandmother) who raised him.
The novel is told through the third person perspectives of both Jihoon and Miyoung. Interspersed throughout the novel are brief interludes about Miyoung’s mother, Gu Yena, and the origin of gumihos.
Despite getting off to a fast start, the story suffered from awkward pacing and at times felt like it was chugging along. It felt a little too congested at times, with problems continuously being added on in what felt like an attempt to pad the length.
Overall I would rate this novel 8/10. Its major strengths were the two main characters and their chemistry as well as how it used its culture/setting. Meanwhile, its major weakness was pacing.