‘Wicked Fox’ offers wicked, emotional tale


A gumiho, a kitsune, a nine-tailed fox: these creatures appear in tales and legends all over Asia. In “Wicked Fox” by Kat Cho, gumihos are portrayed as shape-shifting, beautiful women who prey on men. Miyoung, half human and half gumiho, struggles with the morals of a gumiho as her mother pushes her to be something she’s not. 

Miyoung is conflicted, dealing with the expectations of her mother and what she wants for herself. With the help of a shaman, Miyoung finds a way to be the gumiho she’s destined to be without completely going against her morals. Yet, she’s destined for hard times. 

In the woods, Miyoung encounters a boy her age, Jihoon, being attacked by a goblin. While she saves him, Miyoung loses her fox bead, her gumiho soul that she’ll die without. Miyoung’s and Jihoon’s lives continue to cross after this encounter, and drama soon starts to unfold. 

I would have always assumed Korean dramas, or K-dramas, to be a difficult genre to apply in book form with the emotions dramas typically prevail, but Kat Cho did an exceptional job writing her own ‘K-drama’. The tropes usually found in K-dramas  were scattered throughout the novel. 

Miyoung and Jihoon have different personalities and come from different backgrounds, but they are naturally drawn to each other. This intricate relationship goes through its ups and downs, but everything happens for a reason. Miyoung and Jihoon have a relationship that the readers become invested in. 

The writing style is easy to follow. The imagery is well depicted and flows easily into the readers. “Wicked Fox” is set in Seoul, South Korea, and Kat Cho does remarkably well at adding Korean terms and slang into the story(with a mini glossary in the back for readers unaware of the cultural terms). 

If not a K-drama devotee, “Wicked Fox” is a heart-throbbing story with a mythical-mystery aspect. The mix between “goblins and shamans” and “exams and bullies” makes an interesting plot line for the characters reaching their young adult years. “Wicked Fox” is set out to catch a wide variety of readers and leaves them wanting more. 

I loved the book for the way it was written and how “Wicked Fox” reflected K-drama tropes. The characters individually struggle, but everything seems to work out in the end. The novel doesn’t only serve as entertainment, but provides information and details on a culture. I was able to learn more about the culture through Kat Cho’s writing style. 

Some K-dramas seem impossible to finish, not because there is something wrong with them, but because after becoming so emotionally attached to the characters, whenever something goes wrong for them, it seems like the end of the world and nothing could get better. I can’t stand seeing characters I fall in love with being unhappy, but it’s always worth it to get to the end, just as Kat Cho proves in her novel “Wicked Fox”. 

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)