Synopsis: Gu Miyoung is an 18 year old gumiho, a mythical fox with nine tails that consumes the life force of men in order to live forever. After moving to Seoul, she becomes entangled with Jihoon, a slacker in her new class, when he saw something he shouldn’t have.
Spoiler Free Review:
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This book was a really fun read! I didn’t want to put it down, so I flew through it. I loved the mythological elements – gumihos and dokkaebi, as well as shamans, ghosts, and bujeoks.
The thing I loved the most about this book was the different themes and messages about friendship. Miyoung had never really had friends before, so Jihoon and his friends take her into their group. Throughout the story, we get to see that friends always have your back, no matter what. Even during when mad at each other, Jihoon and his friend Somin still care about each other, which is so foreign to Miyoung. Miyoung also tries to convince everyone to not be friends with her, but Jihoon tells her that she shouldn’t decide for other people if they want to be friends with her. I loved this throughout the book, but there were also some great scenes at the end that showed this!
Some things that I thought were a little weak were the side characters (particularly Junu the dokkaebi) and the gumiho powers that Miyoung possessed. Junu seemed to kind of fit whatever scene he needed to be in to move the plot forward. As for Miyoung’s powers, they also seemed to fit the scene. She had super healing and super strength, but these only really got mentioned when they were important to the plot. This didn’t really bother me, since most of the other elements of story, specifically the plot and relationships, were executed so well.
This book also tackles some interesting ideas in terms of familial relationships. Jihoon’s father is absent and his mother left him with his grandmother so she could start a new life, and Miyoung’s mother is controlling strict and her father is also absent. Both characters have to deal with what family means to them and also possibly forgiving their parents’ mistakes.
As someone who has watched a lot of KDramas, this book felt like I was reading a KDrama! This could honestly just be because it takes place in Seoul, South Korea, but I did notice quite a few plotlines that I’ve seen in KDramas: a poor family that also owns a small restaurant, parents are absent from their child’s life, a dramatic rain scene, intense school bullying, that one rebel dress-code breaking friend, a falling out between people, hospitals, and family secrets. I definitely enjoyed these things! It felt comforting, in a way, to see these elements that I am familiar with.
There were tons of Korean words in this book! The glossary in the back was honestly one of the best I’ve seen in a book. It included every single Korean word mentioned in the book. It seems too often that there is a glossary that doesn’t include every word in a foreign language, but that was definitely not the case with this one. The definitions were also woven into the story really well! You weren’t beat over the head with the definition, but neither was it too vague to understand. It was actually pretty cool because I know a few very basic Korean words and phrases from watching so many KDramas, so I was able to understand most of the Korean words used in the book!
Overall, this was such an enjoyable book! It was fairly wrapped up by the end, but it did set up a possible sequel. I would definitely want to read more about these characters, especially to see how everyone is recovering from the aftermath of the climax. I will definitely keep an eye out for more from this series and for anything else that Kat Cho writes!
PS: The entire time, I pictured Detective Hae as Jung Hae In in While You Were Sleeping, even though I know that was completely inaccurate 😂