4.5 star, YA

Review: Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho

Series: Gumiho #2

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.

Rating: 4.5/5 Drink Me Potions

Luscious and rich in Korean folklore, this companion novel (really, more like a sequel) to the events in her first book, Wicked Fox, was more than pleasing to the eye and heart.

I will admit that I barely remember the events of book 1 as I read it way before it even came out as an ARC. And with this book picking up the pieces in the aftermath of events that occurred there, I will warn that this should not be read separately from book 1.

We follow two characters who were first introduced in Wicked Fox, the charming dokkaebi Junu and the sassy, quick-tongued Somin who instantly took a dislike to him.

I love getting the Junu’s backstory from the get go as it gives us knowledge about him as the omniscient reader that the rest of the gang do not have, which really explains a part of why his character is kind of dodgy and selfish. My heart hurt just seeing how the others in the group held a grudge against him (fine, he probably deserved some of that from mistakes he made), but it was like he could never prove himself. I was completely on Team Junu from that point on. I always did love the misunderstood, he’s-not-such-a-bad-guy kinda hero.

Somin, on the other hand, I thought I would like less. Overprotective towards all of her friends and unable to easily change her mind, she had a good heart but I wasn’t certain where the book was going in pairing the two of them.

Oh boy was I wrong there!

The love-hate relationship they had was full of angst from the beginning since they already had run-ins in the previous book that actually led to further tipping towards the hate side of the scale. But they say there is only so much of a distance from hate to love as you could tell the depth of emotion both invoked in one another was surprising. As the two were unwittingly thrown together to solve a devastating merging of the human world and supernatural, maybe it seems love wasn’t so far off after all.

The action was there for sure, with sprinklings of the Korean landscape and culture. Not as much as book 1 but it felt comfortable coming back to Seoul like this and seeing the world through a Korean author. Thank goodness for a glossary at the back to help remind me of terminology I had forgotten!

And if you did read Wicked Fox, there were plenty of POV chapters from Miyoung and Jihoon as they are just as entangled in this mess as Somin and Junu are.

I was pleasantly surprised overall by how fast I swallowed this one up. A romance with all the feels as hate became love and the conclusion to the issues Miyoung launched into the world when she fell in love with a human boy, I am satisfied with the life lessons these characters have earned. Though if I’m totally honest, I kind of wish there could be a companion to this companion? Like, perhaps a certain mysterious new reaper who appeared in this book who seemed to have some kind of a heart?

Overall Recommendations:

Vicious Spirits followed the events of Wicked Fox quite closely, dropping us back into this supernatural landscape of Seoul. A enemies-to-lovers trope running strongly through its pages, you can’t help but fight for Junu and Somin to find strength from one another as they face yet more supernatural consequences their friend Miyoung unleashed previously. The pacing kept my heart beating all the way until the very satisfactory end. With characters you may have already fallen in love with just as present in this book, this companion (sequel, who are we kidding?) novel is a must-read for lovers of folklore and of Kat Cho’s previous book.

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