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Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1) by Kat Cho; Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Listening Library / G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Gorgeous Gu Miyoung may seem like your typical teenager, but there is more to this quiet and combative eighteen-year-old than meets the eye. Miyoung is half-human and half-gumiho, an immortal, nine-tailed fox who hides in plain sight and survives by feeding on the energy (gi) of worthless men. When one of Miyoung’s full-moon feedings is interrupted by a struggle between a goblin and a human boy, Jihoon, Miyoung loses her gumiho bead but finds herself strangely drawn to the endearing yet underachieving young man. Their ensuing push-pull relationship spans school halls and greater Seoul, drawing friends and family into a world of shamans, secrets, and forbidden romance. With a climax befitting a K-drama, this modern mythological tale buzzes with tension to the very end.
Narrator Emily Woo Zeller breathes life to the full range of characters, seamless voicing with differentiation everyone from the gumiho to the grandmothers without breaking the quiet mystery of the storyline. Occasional chapter interludes introduce listeners to pertinent elements of Korean folklore and culture. Accents are consistent and fluid throughout.
K-drama fans will devour this story, the most obvious parallels to which are My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, Gu Family Book, and Orange Marmalade. The romantic fantasy elements will flash readers back to the Twilight saga (minus the love triangle), and darker mysterious elements bring to mind Riverdale with tinges of Buffy. Readers who enjoyed Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, the modern mythological interpretations of Ellen Oh’s Prophesy, or Tamora Pierce’s feminist fantasy adventures will find plenty of connections in Cho’s story, the first of a new series.
— Kit Ballenger