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.
After hearing so much about what a let down this book was and how people found the second half really weak compared to the first half, I picked this book up with a lot of trepidation. But I actually found it really enjoyable.
Miyoung is an eighteen year old girl, or rather she’s part girl, part gumiho. She struggles with the part of her which has to feed every full moon but can see no other way. Not to mention the fact that the only people she has in the world are her mother and a shaman, Nara and doesn’t realise quite how lonely she is until she runs into Jihoon when a feeding goes wrong one full moon.
One thing I really loved in this book was the setting and the magic system. I loved how Korean folklore was explored, though I’m not an expert enough to say what was drawn from myth and what the author worked to suit her story, but I enjoyed the little flashes of chapters about how the gumiho came to be and how certain characters in the story started out. I liked how the author wove the setting and the magic system into the story so they were both part of the story. I could keep up with the magic system, despite not being knowledgeable about Korean fairytales, and I really loved the descriptions of the settings.
Apart from the setting and the magic system, there was nothing particularly different or ground-breaking about this book. However, I did enjoy the cheerful character hiding a painful past being the guy and the cold character hiding a painful past is the girl, a little bit of a role reversal from the norm. This book was just fun with a writing style that just moved you along without you really thinking about it. Whenever I sat down to read it, I would manage to get through about half the book really quickly. Yes, it took me a little bit of time to get into it and there were a few times in the first third of the book where I could have put it down and walked away without regret but then I got caught up. I liked the ending and I liked the small twists we had along the way.
The romance was pretty stinking cute. I didn’t feel like there was a lot of chemistry between them because I think their relationship could have worked just as well as friends, which isn’t a sign of a good romance for me. But I was rooting for them anyway and I especially liked how none of the love triangle tropes were present, like false leads or jealous best friend or anything like that (I thought the book was going to do one of these tropes and then it neatly veered it off course which I enjoyed). I liked seeing the complicated parental relationships for both main characters, as well as their various friends.
I will say that I really didn’t see the need for it to be a series. I will probably read the second book in the series, but I think it would have worked out better if the plot points had been wrapped up in this book rather than anything else.