wicked fox & vicious spirits – kat cho | duology review

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Series: Gumiho #1
Published June 25th 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Korean mythology, Paranormal
Representation: Korean cast


Rating: 4 out of 5.


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. 


The main thing that attracted me to Wicked Fox was the fantasy element of gumiho (nine-tailed fox), in modern Seoul, South Korea. When I read this last year, I haven’t been to South Korea yet so this was a huge fictional escape to a country I had been dying to visit. Wicked Fox made me hungry for all the Korean food I was reading. I mean, tteok-bokki, japchae, jjigae??? Oh my god, the mere mention of delicious cuisines made my stomach growl. 

Although I’ve known about the mythological being, the Korean folklore of gumiho was something I didn’t read about in books. Most of my interactions with nine-tailed foxes were in Chinese and Korean dramas. Most of the time, the fox is cunning, sly and the villain of the story. In Wicked Fox, there’s a balance in which showed both the viciousness and the more humane side of being a gumiho. The author has expertly written Wicked Fox as if it’s a K-drama. It had the magical element alongside lots of obstacles between the two main characters. 

night and darkness made a believer of everyone.

Miyoung is a gumiho but has some moral dilemmas about being one, and how her kind takes qi, energy, from mortal beings. She wished she was normal and that she didn’t have this side of her so that she doesn’t have to hide from the world. Furthermore, Miyoung struggles with her mother’s coldness towards her and insistence that Miyoung accept the cruel side of her. 

Jihoon’s a sweetheart. He has his own issues and is working his way through them. He couldn’t stand by watching Miyoung get bullied. Even after knowing about Miyoung’s secret, he was respectful and nice. He didn’t judge her for what she is. 

Absolutely enjoyed the Korean folklore and mythology in Wicked Fox. The book set in one of my favorite countries ever is a bonus. Kat Cho’s simplistic writing fully captivated my attention. The characters have complicated pasts, especially the ones who aren’t humans.


Before continuing below, do note that VICIOUS SPIRITS contain spoilers from book one, WICKED FOX. Don’t continue unless you’ve finished the duology already!!


Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho

Series: Gumiho #2
Published August 18th 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Korean mythology, Paranormal
Representation: Korean cast


Rating: 4 out of 5.


As Vicious Spirits begins, Miyoung and Jihoon are picking up the pieces of their broken lives following the deaths of Miyoung’s mother, Yena, and Jihoon’s grandmother. With the support of their friend Somin, and their frenemy, Junu, they might just have a shot at normalcy. But Miyoung is getting sicker and sicker by the day and her friends don’t know how to save her. With few options remaining, Junu has an idea but it might require the ultimate sacrifice and, let’s be honest, Junu isn’t known for his “generosity.” Meanwhile, the events at the end of Wicked Fox have upended the forces that govern life and death and there are supernatural entities lurking in the background that will stop at nothing to right their world.


trigger and content warnings:

Instead of focusing heavily on the gumiho (nine-tailed fox) aspect, in Vicious Spirits, it’s about gwishin (ghosts). Something is influencing the spirits to enter the mortal world more easily, and the group has to solve this problem before things get exponentially out of hand. Events progressed incredibly fast but not without proper foundation laid out. The involvement of more Korean mythological beings such as sansin (mountain god) and jeoseung saja (reapers) were fun to read! It added so much Korean culture into this paranormal/fantasy book.

Let me preface this review by saying I enjoy love-hate relationships, and there it was in Vicious Spirits. Despite finding Junu irritating and cocky, Somin couldn’t help but feel something for him which resulted in an impulsive kiss. Although Junu can be all those things, he’s a misunderstood character. It’s all a facade for him to hide behind so that he appears less vulnerable and afraid. While Junu is a dokkaebi, who has lived for centuries and will continue to, Somin’s mortal. As they battle with their feelings for one another, the difference in their mortality is one element that they have no idea how to proceed with. Readers become more privy of Junu’s past and how his actions had impacted his future life as dokkaebi. Basically, everyone didn’t believe him or see him as a person with feelings.

Miyoung and Jihoon are going out but while Jihoon could freely proclaim his love for Miyoung, she finds it hard to reciprocate by saying the magic words “I love you”. Due to the ending of Wicked Fox, Miyoung and Jihoon are grieving for the loss of Yena (Miyoung’s mother) and Jihoon’s grandmother.

Even though things were serious and they are all in danger, Kat Cho expertly incorporated funny and witty dialogues throughout the book to keep the tone lighter. I cheered hard for the two relationships and want more of Somin and Junu. I wanted Miyoung and Jihoon’s romance to develop further emotionally but things happened.

Overall, this duology incorporated Korean folklore seamlessly, and the development for each character was satisfying. Vicious Spirits wrapped up the Gumiho duology really well.

I’m a Book Depository Affiliate! I get a tiny commission that supports my blogging journey. If you do plan to buy the book, just click on the Book Depository button up top.

3 thoughts on “wicked fox & vicious spirits – kat cho | duology review”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s