I hope you’re all doing well! So, I remember when Wicked Fox came out last year (last year??), and I went to Kat’s release party at Books of Wonder in New York City. I read Wicked Fox soon after that, and I loved it (and I distinctly remember writing my review haha)! My review can be found here.
I was given the opportunity to read the companion novel, Vicious Spirits recently, so I have a review for you all today!
Before we go into the review, however, I would like to share with you Welcome to Chinatown, which I recommend reading through their site and donating to, if you are able. The pandemic hit these Chinese restaurants in NYC’s Chinatown particularly hard, and Welcome to Chinatown aims to distribute grants to small businesses that are struggling through the Longevity Fund. You can also check out their other initiatives, such as Feed Our Heroes, here.
VICIOUS SPIRITS (Gumiho #2)
Author: Kat Cho
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons for Young Readers (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Rating: 3.75 / 4 🌟
Content Warnings: death of a parent, abusive family/family member, violence, blood
*Note: I received an e-ARC of this title from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
SUMMARY (from Goodreads)
New romance and dangers abound in this companion to the crowd-pleasing Wicked Fox.
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.
I would like to start off by saying that I’ve been trying to read with a balance of enjoyment and a critical lens. I’ve become more picky about rating books 5🌟, but I’ve also been re-evaluating what a 4🌟 book, in my eyes, looks like because 3🌟 is technically a fair rating. For me, I want to enforce for myself that 3🌟 means that I enjoyed it, but there wasn’t a ton that made it very memorable.
To say the least, Vicious Spirits, the companion to Wicked Fox, is a very very appropriate title. A rip between the worlds of the living and of the dead was created because of Miyoung’s yeowu guseul (bead) bead that hovers in the “Between” (she’s not quite a gumiho anymore but she isn’t fully human either). However, Vicious Spirits mostly follows Junu (the handsome dokkaebi) and Somin, who is Jihoon’s best friend. It was nice seeming more attention on Somin, since I barely remembered her from the last book (then again, I did read Wicked Fox about a year ago). I also liked how the POVs were not only Junu’s and Somin’s, as the chapters sometimes rotated with Miyoung and Jihoon. Whoever could tell that part of the story the best at that time was given the microphone, so to speak. Also, poor Jihoon. This boy just wants to be left alone for once.
I was a bit unsettled by the age difference between Somin and Junu (their banter, however, is great). It definitely reminded me of that K-drama Goblin (not that I’ve watched it), but there’s something similar going on with the romance where a teenaged girl and a goblin who is centuries old fall in love.
But! I really loved Kat Cho’s integration of Korean mythology tales between what was happening in the present with Somin, Junu, Miyoung, and Jihoon. Sometimes these stories intersected with Miyoung and Junu’s pasts, and it was always neat to see the dots connecting. Junu’s past was interesting to see, and I was interested also in how he changes throughout the course of the story, mainly because of the other three and his realizations. This manifested in the characters in different ways, but there is a thread between them in that sometimes you’re the one who is limiting yourself the most. Other times, it’s the ghosts of your past that keep you back.
I was curious how the four was going to solve their biggest problem (again, poor Jihoon), but I wasn’t super anxious to know right then. Naturally, there was a very last minute solution that had me raising an eyebrow but also I was nodding in agreement since I saw this solution coming. I read this book relatively quickly, and I enjoyed it, but I think I liked Wicked Fox a bit more, since I was more “woah” and blown away with the latter, which is why I’d rate this between 3.75 and 4 🌟.
| FIND VICIOUS SPIRITS |
| FIND KAT |
If you have a star rating system, what factors determine how many stars you end up rating a book? Also, what are your favorite books that are set outside of the U.S./Europe?
Until next time,